By Follow Your Own Rhythm
We live busy, fast paced lives where our work load and daily responsibilities constantly overwhelm us. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all too common in our society, all stemming from being too busy to take care of ourselves and to focus on what matters.
Self-care is so important, yet we seldom put it at the top of our priority list. Instead, we engage in meaningless activities that cause us stress and deplete our energy, and we practice unhealthy habits and behaviors that focus more on going and doing, than on sitting still and just being.
The one thing that we all have in common, is that we all have a limited amount of time and energy. Therefore, time and energy are precious commodities. If you spend your limited time and energy on things that stress you out, then those small stressful moments will add up to an overall stressful and unfulfilling life.
In this day and age, I don't think being busy equates to being productive and effective. I think being busy equates to seeming like we are doing a lot, but not actually getting anywhere. Being busy ultimately stems from the failure to embrace and enjoy the present moment.
So if you want to stop being so stressed and drained all the time and create more space for what you love, then read on to learn...
3 Ways to Make Space for What Matters in Your Life (with practical exercises)
1. Identify and eliminate the parts of your life that create the most stress and do not serve you
Make a list of everything that you do on an average week. Include everything from the people you see, conversations you have, things you do, responsibilities you have, places you have to go, etc. Include mundane and obvious tasks as well such as taking a shower, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, driving to work, grocery shopping, and so on.
Now circle the activities on your list that overwhelm you, drain your energy, stress you out, do not serve you or benefit you, or that you don’t need in your life.
For now, ignore the activities that stress you out but that you cannot change or eliminate (such as taking a shower or going to work for example).
For those circled activities that remain, I want you to eliminate them from your day to day life.
For example, if one of the draining habits you named is scrolling through Facebook or Instagram everyday, then the next time you catch yourself doing that, I want you to make a conscious effort to stop. It’s really as simple as that. It starts with becoming aware of the patterns, and ends with taking action to stop it from continuing.
I want you to pay attention to these things that stress you out, and seriously eliminate them from your life.
If that means telling your coworker to stop dumping their complaints onto you, telling your friend to stop gossiping about other people, or avoiding negative people, the news, or social media, then that’s what you shall do. You only have an x amount of brain power and time in the day, so are you going to use that up on meaningless activities and conversations? I hope not! ;)
2. Be selfish with your self care
It’s okay to want to spend time on yourself and on doing things that you love. You should never feel guilty or bad about wanting to nourish your mind, body, and soul. The only way you can give your best self to others, is by taking care of yourself first.
So now, I want you to make a list of all of those things that you love to do, want to do more of, or new activities you want to incorporate into your life.
Since you are already so busy, the only way to do more of what you love, is to trade your time. Replace draining activities with enlivening ones. You can’t afford to add MORE onto your plate since you already have so much going on and since you only have a limited amount of time and energy.
So you MUST eliminate the circled activities under tip #1 in order to make room for these new, self-loving, self-nourishing, self-fulfilling, and self-empowering activities.
If a friend asks you to go out on a Friday night for a drink but you’d much rather stay home and read a book, don’t be afraid to say no! You don’t have to be a people pleaser, especially if it doesn’t come from a genuine place of love and desire.
We are so conditioned in this society to give, give, give, especially women, and to prioritize everyone else’s needs over our own. How can we constantly give and please if don’t give to ourselves?
So don’t feel guilty to be a little selfish with your personal needs and wants! It’s the only way you can make your best self come to life!
3. Reprioritize your responsibilities
Now that you have eliminated stressful habits from your list and added some new self-nourishing ones, create a fresh new list with your new weekly responsibilities.
Yes, self-care is a responsibility.
Put them in order of most important and urgent to least important and urgent.
Just a rule of thumb, going to the bank, cleaning, running errands, going shopping, and having a drink should not be at the top of your list.
The activities that rejuvenate and energize you, help you recharge, bring you joy and fulfillment, and have meaning and purpose, are the ones that should be at the top of the list.
Keep this priority list in mind when you have to make a choice between listening to an inspirational podcast or going shopping. The shopping can wait. (I am not suggesting that you neglect these responsibilities, but don’t make a habit of deeming them more important than self-nourishing activities).
Another tip for the responsibilities that you have that are draining or boring but you have to do such as grocery shopping, cleaning, or driving to work, I recommend spicing them up a little or making them fun in some way.
For example, thanks to our new age technology, you can listen to an inspirational or informational audio book or video series while you sit in traffic to make it more fun and to add more value to your time.
You can also switch up your shopping or showering routine to add more variety and adventure to those mundane tasks. You can also make cleaning fun by playing music in the background and dancing and singing while you clean. Just a thought. :)
The point is, for every responsibility that you have, it is up to you to add meaning to them, otherwise they become draining and stressful. And for the ones you can’t add meaning to, it is probably time to reevaluate them or let them go.
I hope these tips will help create more space in your life for those activities that matter, bring you joy, give you meaning, and provide nourishment for your soul!
Let me know in the comments section how your list making went and what activities you will trade in for more fulfilling ones!
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