How to stop feeling busy and overwhelmed and start being happy

Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash

Feeling busy and overwhelmed holds us back from happiness. It stops us doing all the things we want to do. It prevents good health and well-being.

When we’re overwhelmed it’s because we’ve let life control us rather than the other way around.

We react rather than initiate and we do it way too quickly. For instance, we say yes to meetings and other commitments before we’ve even had a chance to look at our calendars.

We neglect to incorporate white space into our lives. Those our times in your schedule to do absolutely nothing. And yes you need to pencil them in.

We neglect to incorporate white space into our lives. Click To Tweet

If you’re busy and overwhelmed, you feel like you have no other choice. You’re too busy to even think of ways to change or imagine something different for your life.

Don’t wait for a brush with death or a nervous breakdown before you start taking care of your physical and emotional needs.

Here are three things you can do right now to promote more happiness and less busyness in your life.

1. Reduce your spending

Working for money is high on the list of reasons people are too busy. If you’re working too much to maintain your lifestyle, consider making some financial adjustments.

Are you drinking too much wine to cope with an overwhelming schedule? There’s something you could cut out.

Do you eat takeout too often because you’re too tired to prepare meals? Start packing your lunches and cooking dinners and watch your energy levels rise along with your bank balance.

Have you considered moving to a less expensive area? Urban environments are notoriously pricey and fast-paced which makes you feel more busy.

You could downsize to a smaller home. Less square footage is cheaper to buy, rent and maintain. While you’re decluttering to fit into it, you’ll make money selling things you no longer use.

Smaller square footage means less time cleaning. If you hired help to clean your larger space, you can save money by letting them go.

2. Slow down

slow down

Sometimes feeling busy comes from a lack of mindfulness. That means you’re not focused on the present moment.

John Eldredge has an app for that, based on the One Minute Pause chapter of his new book, Get Your Life Back. He calls it a simple way to connect with God in the middle of your busy day.

Prayer and meditation are other ways to slow down. Meditation means different things to different people.

For me, it’s taking time out to sit with my thoughts. I solve many problems this way and even make key decisions.

Take walks in nature if you can. Besides helping us slow down, nature is good for our health. Nature boosts mental capacity and makes us feel happier.

Nature boosts mental capacity and makes us feel happier. Click To Tweet

3. Set limits

Reject the world’s message that you have to be available at all hours because technology has made us more accessible.

Set limits to your work hours and stick to them. Even if you work remotely, shut down your laptop at 5 pm and leave it closed until 9 am the next day (or whichever hours you choose).

Answer emails once or twice a day rather than every twenty minutes. Rather than firing off half-hearted replies, sit down and take the time to give each message the attention and response it deserves.

Consider ignoring emails over the weekend, or even going offline completely on Sundays.

Reduce your daily task list. Stop creating long lists of things you won’t possibly get through in a day.

Stop creating long lists of things you won't possibly get through in a day. Click To Tweet

Some people recommend putting three things on your list and no more. Others say to write one thing on your list! Once that’s completed, you can replace it with one more.

I’ve also heard it recommended to do a brain dump instead of a to-do list. Write down everything you can think of that needs doing in your life. Then pick one or two or three of the most pressing.

The brain dump method is said to relieve overwhelm by getting everything off your mind and onto the page.

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