Are we too busy to be happy?

fiona mcleod siren soul blog are you too busy to be happy

fiona mcleod siren soul blog are you too busy to be happy

I’ve sat down with a dose of ‘writer’s block’ and my laptop, to compile a blog about ‘being busy’. In order to save time this morning, I’ve delayed my morning shower, I’m sat in my fluffy pink dressing gown with coffee at one side and breakfast on the other… my new puppy is running amok, creating chaos just when I have no time to deal with her. The anxiety is creeping in because I’m “so busy”. I’ve created a ‘to do’ list a mile long and I have a tight deadline for 10am tomorrow.

It’s ok though because I’m saving time, I’ve delayed my meditation, missed my morning walk and my shower, so that should take the pressure off, right?… :-/

Then, there’s a knock at the door… my Dad has popped in spontaneously for a cuppa tea. Oh. I’m trying to write a blog on why we need to slow down to the speed of life to enjoy the now, be present and remember what is important… to stop being so busy…. Umm… yeah.

So I have a choice, I could say “Sorry Dad, I have no time for you today”, or I could recognise that this a fine example of how to go with the flow and maybe take it as a good blog angle (considering I was sitting here with writer’s block, after all).

And this is how “busy” begins.

First, we neglect ourselves, with self-care such as exercise and mindful eating and then our relationships start to suffer… all in the rush of expectations that… well, let’s be fair… is this blog worth everything that I have neglected, in order to write it?

Perhaps the writer’s block would not have occurred if I had grounded myself with an early morning walk along the beach and cleared my head with a ten minute meditation – I know from experience that I would most likely write the blog in half the time if I started my day in a self-caring and self-loving kinda way.

So I stopped.

Took ten minutes to meditate and went for a 20-minute walk – jumped in the shower…

And now I’m back…

We constantly need to catch ourselves.

It’s so easy to fall into the busy trap.

Letting the load get on top of us and dismissing our dreams and innate desires.

Yes, the society we live in has set us up to be busy. We are conditioned… I’d go as far to say ‘brainwashed’ that we have to try so hard in order to get, achieve and survive. Getting through the day can be a major achievement… there are an abundance of new opportunities for children, after-school activities seem endless, the internet expands our wants… bright lights, big cities, it’s all one big rush and race to some sort of finish line. But how much of your life are you prepared to ‘use up’ in the rush (without enjoying the present) in order to ‘one-day’ chill out with what you’ve been “so busy” trying to achieve?

Could you be addicted to being busy?

Ten questions to find out: Are you a “busy junkie”?

  1. Has it become a chore to catch up with friends?
  2. Have your friends become more like acquaintances?
  3. Are you ever enjoying the present moment?
  4. How much self-care have you done this week? Month? Year?
  5. How are you really feeling?
  6. Are you tired? Stressed?
  7. Are you fulfilling your deepest desires?
  8. Are you even dreaming anymore? Both at night time by getting good rest and day-dreams, remembering your passions…
  9. What do you REALLY want?
  10. When was the last time you did nothing?

Many of us have been brought up to believe that ‘busy’ is productive (and although of course, it can be) very often we are busy avoiding other stuff (unconsciously and consciously) – a lot like drinking, smoking, taking drugs, etc… we can use ‘busy’ to suppress other issues we would rather not deal with or simply want to forget.

Personally, I think we miss the point of life in our society. What happens amidst our “busy” is that we miss the signs and opportunities along the way because we are so busy trying to control our outcomes and opportunities, instead of trusting the life process.

When we are “busy” all of the time, we quickly become so drunk on busy that we forget the reason we are doing it all.

And then one day… someone who you know rather well suddenly dies. 🙁 Of course, there is no question you that you will go to the funeral.

are you too busy to be happy siren soul fiona mcleodYet, you are “so busy”, you didn’t have time to visit your Grandmother last week or call your friend to take an interest in their new relationship, or to get to the gym… or maybe you did get to the gym but, you haven’t sat still since last month at the school play and well, life has been such a whirlwind since then… wow, was that really last month, douf!. You suddenly reflect and ask aloud to no one in particular;

“where has my life gone?!”

Fortunately, at the news of this death, we actually do manage to juggle things and re-prioritise… it’s a bit of a reality check and you find yourself thinking – hell – did it really take death for me to get real?!

You get to the funeral and now more than ever, your priorities are flashing in front of your mind’s eye – as the ceremony begins and you watch one by one memories within photos appearing on the slide show… connections with people. Others begin telling stories of humanity and what great a human this person once was. Suddenly we have found the time to see the light and love within that individual soul and often we find out so much more about that person than we ever really knew… yet, now they are gone.

How much on your to-do list is more important than building connection with loved ones, friends or family?

What about following your passion in pursuit of making the world a better place or simply doing some crazy shit because it was fun!?…

The thing is, busy is a choice – we can still have a full schedule without the label of being “so busy”. We can still enjoy doing, moving from one task to another with a great attitude, loving life, living in the now, feeling content. However, what I’m hearing from most people is that busy also entitles; rushing, stressing, multi-tasking and well basically every day is hectic.

Last week a friend came to visit. She walked in flustered after her “busy” day of finding a dress to wear to a wedding, a few other errands, had lunch with an old friend then raced to her pilates class in the nik of time. I’m like, “Lady, you’re living the dream!” Seriously, when did an abundance of good stuff take hold of the (potentially negative connotation) being “so busy” vibe! FYI “BUSY” is not the new cool!

When we spend our lives “being busy” we are not actually able to ever “just be”. This, in turn, makes it difficult to follow our gut by listening to our inner guidance.

Allowing ourselves to stop and find a little stillness in our day calms down our nervous system and reduces stress, simultaneously filling us up with joy and happiness on a physiological/chemical level – this is actually scientifically proven, it’s not woo woo.

STOP SABOTAGING YOURSELF – To find your inner happiness:

What happens when we eliminate the ‘rush’ from ‘busy’ and slow down to the speed of life, we make better decisions, faster – eliminating mistakes and misfortune that can be the result of the whirlwind decision making out of fear, anger, frustration, impatience, intolerance and the list goes on – when we are calm we make decisions following our heart which is natural and easy.

What can we do to slow down and enjoy more?

A few ideas:

  • Be busy on your own terms – checking in with yourself regularly to feel when to say no and choose when to take time out.
  • Take note of what makes you feel good? What do you love to do? Do more of what makes your heart light up.
  • Every so often, ask yourself “What will I regret on my deathbed and what would I wish I didn’t make such a priority.”
  • Be more attentive. When you meet up with a friend or colleague, consciously give them your whole attention, put your phone away and engage. Make it meaningful.
  • Try using a fresh response – when someone asks how you are – give them a real response that goes deeper than simply “being busy”. Remember words have vibes! “I’m busy.” “I’m stressed”…it’s exhausting to hear! Try a re-frame by using “I have a full-schedule”, or describe how your kids game of soccer went, how inspiring your morning meeting was, or even how YOU are really feeling…
  • Multitasking… such a killer. Try doing one thing really well and then the next thing…
  • Meditate

My Story

For too many years I was chasing my tail, getting nowhere fast – mostly doing things with others as the priority. In the end, I blew out and was no good to anyone.

Ironically, when I was constantly “so busy”, working so hard, holding down ridiculous hours… I wasn’t even getting ahead! And I definitely did not want to be “so busy”… however, I FELT TRAPPED!!!

When I finally fell off the “busy treadmill” I realised that the real reason I was busy was because, well quite frankly, I didn’t know my worth – I was busy because I didn’t charge enough for the abundance of skills I have, therefore I was busy because I didn’t earn enough to be able to afford to pay others who could help me in my business. Sadly, I was also busy trying to “be someone” other than my awesome authentic self, busy because I thought I had to be a great success in business to be worthy or worthwhile…

I was so bloody busy I barely had time to breathe…. ‘Anxiety’ was my state of being, as was ‘insomnia’… and because busy had became such an unhealthy habit, my body actually forgot how to stop. I was “wired and tired”…

Until that day I was forced to stop – BOFF! Burnout – the circuit blew.

I understand life in our society has become so insanely busy – BUT buying into society’s expectations is what makes us “unhealthily busy”…

If you think about it, everything we ever do is to help us feel a certain way; security through money, love through relationships, thrills though adventure, power, abundance, the list continues.

Life becomes ultra-speed busy when we run our lives on expectations and seek outside ourselves for gratification – when we need to work super hard to afford the flash stuff, the car, the house, the holiday….

Thoughts… have you ever thought about why you want all that stuff?

What feelings are you seeking?

The choice is yours – Could you slow down within and enjoy what you already have? #gratitude

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