It was nearly midnight the night after Christmas and I was driving home from another long Miami HEAT broadcast. We had just finished a marathon: two games on the 22nd and 23rd, a hectic Christmas Eve which included a Nutcracker performance and drive to see family, a busy Christmas day at church and cooking a big dinner, then another long workday.
And as I was reflecting on how tired and weary I felt, I heard my inner voice say, “Stop hiding in the busyness and find yourself in the quiet.”
I didn’t know where the words came from, but I did know I needed to rest.
The next morning I woke up and thought about the ABOUT page here on my website. I wrote just eight months ago these words about myself: “I’m a kaleidoscope. I do a million things while spinning in a thousand different directions, and that’s exactly how I like it!”
And why do I do that? Do all the things even though I preach right here on this website for everyone else to stop doing all the things?
Because I’m hiding.
I’m hiding from my anxiety.
I’m hiding from my autoimmune condition which has put me in early menopause and still hampers my health and well being.
I’m hiding from my weight gain.
And I’m hiding from who I really am because I’m scared of change. Even though I want to be who I want to be, the thought of living the authentic life I crave is frightening.
It’s easy to stay stuck and complain about our outcome, but the real work is to make a change. Not only physically, with jobs and where we live, but the inner work as well. The part where we cultivate gratitude, dig deep into our emotions and feel hard feelings, and recognize that we need to alter our reactions and our perspective if we’re going to truly live our best lives.
So as I sit here a few days before the new year, I’ve decided to make a list of things that not only I can do, but that we all can do to come out from behind the busyness, and make space for what we really want in our lives. And if we don’t know what we want or have a dream that’s OK, because we don’t need answers yet, just time and space to listen.
7 Ways to Become Less Busy and More Still
1. Make time for quiet.
I know meditation sounds hard for many people. The number one thing I hear from friends or colleagues when I recommend meditation is, “I can’t do that, I can’t quiet my mind!!” Ummm…that’s the point ya’ll. And if you still can’t wrap your head around this life-changing practice, then do something to be present. Read, listen to the birds outside, go for a walk, do something to get out of your head where you can listen to your inner wisdom. (Here are some more tips on mindfulness.)
2. Say no to one thing that doesn’t bring you joy.
Maybe it’s watching your friend’s son one day a week, or volunteering at school, or always organizing the birthday celebrations at work. Whatever it is, put it down. If it doesn’t bring you joy anymore, release it from your life. Practice saying no and start doing less for others and more for yourself. Remember, it’s OK to say no to your kids and yes to yourself.
3. Write out what you want in your life. I almost wrote the word goals, but even that is sometimes overwhelming for me. Seriously, write down on paper right now what you want in your life. Where you want to live, what you want to be doing for a living, how much money you are making, what your days look like, and how you feel. Then read it every single day. I did this when I was trying to conceive for seven years and it worked!
4. Schedule time for yourself.
I can’t stress enough how important a schedule is, regardless if you work in or out of your home. I write down everything from appointments and work calls, blog post deadlines, kids activities, meal plans, my husband’s traveling schedule, as well as time to workout, read, and do nothing. Yes, you read that right, I write down time to do nothing.
I know not everyone likes to read, but what’s really cool in the 2000’s are these things called podcasts, audible, and audio books. So if you aren’t a reader or fall asleep reading, then try an audio version. There are so many inspirational books and podcasts out there that will help get you in a positive and calm state of mind. I personally love listening to anyone Oprah interviews on Super Soul Sunday or have listed my fav inspirational books here. (Or you can always subscribe to my podcast Be Who You Want to Be where I interview inspirational guests. On iTunes or you can listen here on my website.)
6. Put down your phone. I know you already know this, but your life would be exponentially quieter and less busy without the mindless and endless scrolling. Trust me, disconnect your phone and recharge your soul.
7. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is the core of my existence. Without it, through our years of infertility, we would have never conceived via IVF twice. I’ve lost my attitude of gratitude over the years, succumbing to the chatter in my head and not listening to my heart. But the recent hurricane this year brought it back. And I’m so thankful every single day that I’m a mom, and we still have our home. If you don’t know where to start, just grab a notebook and write down a few things or people you’re grateful for each day. (Or pick up our all-new gratitude journal! )
There are so many other ways to release the busy and embrace the stillness, but it’s better to start slow. Pick one thing on this list (hopefully number 1!) and start listening to what your body and inner voice is telling you. If you find yourself too, hiding in the busyness, recognize it, see it for what it is, and decide if and how you are going to give yourself the gift of quiet. We are all worth the time to find what brings us joy and give ourselves more of that every day.