This year has been busier than any other year for me at my current employer. I have been pushed and stretched to my limits with months where I was too busy to even breathe. It wasn’t very nice but I learned a lot and feel that I have grown in many ways. I also learned to just ‘get on with it’ and found moments to be happy on some of those days.
I wanted to share some of the ways with you below. I know that a lot of us are in the same boat whether we live in the city or elsewhere. We have days where we have so many things on our ‘To Do’ list that we have to remember to find time to just breathe. We work at our desks under fluorescent lights (and in my case, no windows) and eat lunch at our desks (or in my case, the windowless kitchen) and work until late in the evening without catching any sunlight whatsoever. Or you may be a busy mum who has to get the kids ready for school while tending to your baby, drop the kids off, run errands and do housework, pick the kids up and take care of them until they go to bed at which time your husband comes home and you are too tired to do or say anything. Or you could be working 9 to 5 but have a side hustle like a blog or another business that you are trying to get off the ground. It doesn’t matter what paths we have taken – we all seem to be ‘BUSY’.
Here are my 5 ways to get through those tough times:
1. Meditation. I meditate every morning for 20 minutes and it’s not a great meditation at all because I find my mind wandering all the time, usually to work-related matters. But I push it back to focussing on my breath each time it wanders away. What I didn’t realise was that training my mind to focus from other thoughts would actually help me in my day-to-day life. Now, I can catch myself thinking about something negative, push it out, focus on my breath and turn my attention back to the task at hand or to a positive thought.
2. Mindfulness. This flows on from meditation which helps me to be mindful during each task. In my job, I love that no two days are the same. But when it’s super busy, the work flow can be hard to manage. While I’m working on one thing, another 3 tasks can come from different directions and I have to re-prioritize my day. It’s not easy.
But what makes it a little easier is to be mindful during each task and not think about the other tasks waiting for my attention at the end. I focus on one thing for about an hour and switch gears and focus on something else, then switch to another thing and somehow it all gets done. Being mindful at work can really help my productivity.
3. Exercise. I know, I know, this list is starting to look like a LOT of other lists you will read in fitness mags, wellness sites etc. But this is a tried and tested list so I hope it inspires you to follow!
So I wasn’t exercising much (as you know from my last post) for about 2 months until the busy month started. I was feeling weak, unfit, lethargic and bloated. Plus I didn’t fit into one of my fave shits!
So I started exercising with the Nike Fitness app and started to feel great after each 30min HIIT (high intensity interval training) session. The endorphins would kick in and I felt happy and energetic as my body started burning the fat and converting it into energy. I also signed up to pole and started my first pole class in May since January this year which was tough! But I came home feeling awesome even though I was disappointed at how much strength and flexibility I had lost. I’m excited to get back into it and restart my pole journey.
4. Reading. I love reading and I didn’t get much time to read during the weekdays when my mind was tired and my eyes were sore from working hard and staring at a computer all day long.
But on weekends I read Jenny Colgan’s ‘Summer Seaside Kitchen’ for escapism and ‘When Breath Becomes Air‘ by Paul Kalinithi for perspective and wisdom and ‘The Great Disciples of the Buddha‘ for more perspective and wisdom (but I would only recommend this last book if you’re interested in Buddhism only, it’s not a book for everyone!).
I also read a lot of blogs on weeknights when I could because they fed my short attention span. I browsed through ‘Hannah Gale‘, ‘Daisybutter’, ‘Nish’s Kitchen‘, ‘Just a Girl from Mumbai’, ‘Chevrons and Eclairs’ and ‘The Western Sydney Girl’ for a nice read with lovely photos and interesting thoughts.
5. TV and movies. On those days where I couldn’t physically read anything, I watched a bit of TV or a nice feel-good movie to wind down. Over the month, I watched ‘Amelie’, ‘The African Doctor’ and ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. I didn’t watch these shows last month, but I often turn to old series like ‘Gilmore Girls’ and ‘Full House’ for comfort (don’t judge!) during tough times too.
I hope your year is going well so far and remember, when times get stressful, there is always light at the end of the tunnel!