How full is your schedule? Do you juggle many things in your day? Do you ever think, things would be better if only there was more time?
It's pretty common to have thoughts and complaints about having too much to do and not enough time. On many different occasions, I have heard myself whine: “I am so busy!” Only to later wonder why everything feels really hard as I frantically push to fit it all in.
What might happen, if we were to reframe our approach to balancing and experiencing full days? What if we were to consider the way we view ‘busy’ under a new lens - one that is steeped in gratitude.
Like so many people, I lead a very full life by choice. I feel incredibly grateful to have variation in my life and ample opportunities to wear many different hats throughout my day. I get to be a writer, coach, mom, wife, daughter, aunt, sister, friend, traveler, runner, cook, reader and the list goes on. Sometimes I have the opportunity to experience life from all of these lenses in one day – what a gift!
Well it is a gift, as long as I remember to view it in that light and not fall into the common trap of believing that life is hard and being ‘busy’ is the culprit.
In an attempt to enjoy the variety in my life, I am reframing the way I experience ‘busy’. Rather than scrutinizing the term with a negative tone, I thought it might be refreshing to re-define it in a way that is a bit more optimistic and inviting. These are three powerful practices that help me reframe the way I view busy and instead embrace the fullness of my life. Try them out and see if they may be a fit for where you are in your life.
What do you focus on? Perhaps you are accustomed to living in the story that life is hard and there is too much pressure. Or maybe your ‘go to’ place is the idea that life is exciting and opportunities exist for you to enjoy a full experience while you are alive. What we think about and focus our attention on, very quickly influences how much enjoyment we are receiving in the moments before us.
When we have tunnel vision on all of the things we feel we must accomplish in the day, and how overwhelmed we are - life feels heavy and exhausting. On the flip side, when we focus our attention on enjoying whatever it is we are doing in the moment, and feeling some gratitude for being gifted a purpose in that moment- life flows with more ease and feels light.
If you find you are overwhelmed or exhausted by the to-do’s in your day, see what happens when you focus on what you can do in the moment before you and on how you want to feel. It becomes more natural to appreciate and enjoy full lives when we are mindful of where we place our attention. We get to write the story of our lives, and at any time we can redirect our focus to create a story that feels good.
How we take care of ourselves has a great impact on how we manage and receive things throughout our day.
My recipe for self-care is one that I have been crafting for quite some time. It is often the first place I check if I get stuck in a pattern of experiencing life in a way that feels overwhelming or hard.
One of the most powerful gifts we can utilize as part of being alive, is our breath. Using our breath in strategic ways is very effective in pulling out of destructive thought patterns or moments of self-created chaos. Intentional deep breathing is the quickest way I have found to release tension and get present. It also helps to create the space to focus and create experiences that feel good.
Self-care also involves regular exercise, nourishing our bodies with healthy food that is alive like we are, hydrating our bodies, and getting adequate sleep. It all seems pretty straightforward: maintain the machine you are living in if you would like it to run properly and efficiently. Expecting that we can manage the weight of the world without first taking care of our basic needs is a tall order. It makes much more sense to take care of ourselves in the best way we can in order to wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy a new day.
Taking care of our physical bodies is so important, as is nurturing our emotional health. Stop saying yes, if you really mean no. Set healthy boundaries with people you share space with out in the world. If your schedule is full and taking on one more thing will rob you of enjoying your full life, then get into the driver’s seat of your life and only take on what you can happily and successfully manage.
Gratitude has a way of softening some of the most nerve-racking times. Have you ever been stuck in traffic, late for a big meeting or sensory overloaded to the point of complete and total exhaustion? When we approach highly stressful moments in our day by accepting what is, instead of pushing for what isn’t, the thoughts that are distressing and harmful to our health begin to fade away.
Obviously, it would be much more desirable and responsible to manage time, boundaries and emotions in a way that would assist us in avoiding being in these stressful situations in the first place. BUT, life is unpredictable and things have a way of presenting themselves at interesting times.
A powerful truth: these bumps in the road become much more challenging when we get caught up grasping for what isn’t in front of us, instead of embracing what is. What I mean is, if you are obsessing over why you are late, why things are hard, why things aren’t lining up… it just creates more chaos and discord.
Instead, why not take a few deep breaths, accept the moment before you, and experiment with thinking about three things you are grateful for? The moment we are in is all we have, that’s it! So if it feels really hard, regroup the best way you can and start building evidence of why life is a gift. Find the magic in moments. Focus on including things in your day that make your heart sing. And live your life through a lens that has you embracing the fullest version of your life each day you get to be in it.
Receiving the opportunity to live a full life is meant to be a gift, not a burden. It all comes down to our perception and approach to life. See what happens when you add an element of gratitude to your view.
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