Can you be mindfully busy?


** Sarah (name changed) told me this the other day, I said “What?”

She repeated: I am too busy to tell people how busy I am

She then went on to actually tell me everything that was contributing her busyness:

  • The children are back to school
  • Her husband is back to work (though she was delighted he’s finally out of the house!)
  • Traffic back on the roads
  • Queues back at the counter
  • Uniforms, lunches and play dates back
  • And a dog that was not dealing with any of this change well.

The list went on and on and I must say I was getting stressed just listening to her. And while she was also stressed I could see that there was a part of her that was also delighted that she was busy again. But she also realised it was doing her harm, she was snappy, irritable and full of anxiety.

When did busyness become a badge of honour? When did it become a symbol of success?

I don’t know when this shift happened but it seems to be everywhere and yet it’s not good for us.

Because in being busy we produce adrenaline and cortisol so while it feels great in one respect, it’s also very damaging long term for our health and well being.

So what do we do? Go sit under a tree all day and let the kids look after themselves?

Of course not (though tempting I’m sure some days!)

An alternative is to observe “how” you do busy. Are you busy and stressed or are you busy and calm?

There’s a world of difference between the two

When you’re busy + stressed, you are:

  • Irritable
  • Impatient
  • Don’t think logically and so can make mistakes
  • Stressed & anxious

When you’re busy + calm, you are:

  • Productive
  • Present
  • Patient
  • work logically, ticking things off in sequence

Sarah tried this one day, she did a very simple mindfulness exercise before starting her day and she found that she was much more patient with the kids, more focused on what she needed to do and she got through her list with the kids.

But most of all she enjoyed her tasks rather than being annoyed that she had to do them in the first place.

If you’d like to use the busy + calm recipe you can access a number of free meditations I’ve recorded on Insight Timer by clicking here

Thanks for reading,