Good Health for Busy People

kbb_making_tea

There’s this belief based on an old saying that if you want a task to be done, just give it to a busy person. I find this to be true. People who like to keep busy (and are good at keeping busy) tend to be pretty capable at managing all aspects of their lives and adapt quickly to accommodate change. It’s a wonder that with so much on their plates that busy people never seem to get overwhelmed, make mistakes, or even get sick. (Ok, maybe they do once in awhile.)

Years of careful observation on my part has lead me to believe that the busiest, most productive people I have met are the ones that take the best care of themselves. Here’s a few of the secrets I’ve gleaned:

Healthy, busy people make time for physical activity. Ideally, you should be getting 30-60 minutes daily. It sounds like a lot but that doesn’t mean you have to go running out to the gym tomorrow. Even incorporating small changes into your routine can make a big difference, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus a couple of stops early, or doing an extra lap around the park with your dog.

Healthy, busy people make sleep a priority. Even Ariana Huffington does it. For more reasons to snooze (as if you need any) click here.

Healthy, busy people maintain a balanced diet. I’m talking regular meals made with real food. I don’t think it matters whether you’re gluten-intolerant or vegetable intolerant or whatever- putting good food in your body is going to make you feel stronger, more energized and more capable of dealing with whatever the world throws at you. Bingeing, abstaining or trying to stick an unforgiving menu will not only make you unhappy, but it can mess with your health. (If this strikes a chord with you, please check out this post.)

Healthy, busy people collaborate with their healthcare professionals. I’ve seen (and experienced first-hand) the benefits of asking questions, doing your own research and being honest with your healthcare provider about your specific needs. It’s your body so you’re in charge of the decisions; they’ve got the education and the resources to help keep you informed. (Working at clinic has given me lots of experience working with doctors and patients. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on how to manage your health care.)

Healthy, busy people leave their work at the office. Just because technology makes it easy for us to stay connected all the time doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes logging some extra time working on a project at home is unavoidable, but trading in your personal time for more professional time can be bad for your relationships, bad for your physical and mental health and can actually have the opposite effect on your job.

Healthy, busy people know when to take advantage of downtime. By the way, your life isn’t separated into work and downtime- that means downtime includes even mundane tasks such as sleeping, chores, and bathing. Sorry folks, those things don’t count. Relaxing with family and friends, engaging in hobbies or simply just daydreaming are all things that do. It’s important to make the time to do the things you want to do so that when it is time to focus, you feel refreshed, confident and alert.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we’re connected all the time. We’re trained to work ourselves to the bone. We’re raised not to question the status quo, and we’re made to feel guilty or selfish for saying no, or for taking time to ourselves.

The key is that busy people are already aware of this, and they’ve taken measures to set boundaries, accommodate others, and anticipate their own needs so that they don’t get overwhelmed. Getting things done still requires a certain amount of discipline and prioritization- busy people just make sure that self-care is included on that list of priorities.

And if it isn’t on your list, get on it already! I guarantee it’s the first step to becoming a happier, healthier, more productive you.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you incorporated any of these practices in your life? How has making these changes made a difference? Share your tips with us by commenting below or emailing me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I’ll try to include them in an upcoming post.

I’m always looking for more ways to be productive and organized, but I find the key is try to and keep things in perspective and balanced. I’ve collected more thoughts on how to achieve this here.

Blips

kbb-stone-heart

I have this theory that everything happens all at once. Maybe you’ve noticed this pattern too in your own life. Sometimes all it takes is for one thing to go wrong and suddenly other things start to come at you, one after the other, picking up speed until your life seems to have snowballed into one screw-up so giant you feel like there’s no way out.

I like to call these life moments “blips” because when you’re in the middle of one it feels like you’ve stepped into a blip in the time-space continuum; like you’re standing still and the world just keeps on moving faster around you at a pace that’s impossible to match, and you feel frozen in place because you just cannot believe that all of this is happening to you all at once.

I experienced a blip recently about six weeks before Christmas so if the above sounds familiar to you, please know you’re not alone, because I’ve been there. I won’t get personal, but a bunch of things happened in my life in such rapid succession it made me feel as if I had run face-first into a brick wall. The sensation of being stuck is difficult to handle; it’s a nightmare for control freaks like me whose self-worth rides on the amount of things that can be accomplished in one day.

As someone who blogs about trying to find balance in all the busy-ness that life throws our way, it may surprise you to read that I still quite haven’t figured it out myself. I’m not here as a teacher, and I don’t want to come across as flawless because I’ve been there before, time and again: I’ve worked too hard, stayed up too late, blew people off, flaked out on deadlines and far too frequently worked myself to the point of exhaustion, sometimes teetering on the verge of burnout.

Even so, balance is something I strive to learn more about because I think it’s a process more than it is a destination, and true balance is about finding the ability to ride the current of life while managing to keep your head above water. There will be waves, yes, but there will also be moments of calm. Sometimes we’ll be able to surf those crests with grace; other times, we lose our footing and that “blip” in time is enough to make us fall under and temporarily lose ourselves.

But somehow, somehow, we humans always seem to have the incredible knack of finding our way back to shore, no matter what life throws at us. We adjust our footing, learn from our mistakes. We try again. We ride that wave.

For me, blogging about balance is a collaborative effort. It involves sharing and learning from our struggles, encouraging each other when motivation or inspiration strikes, and showing patience and understanding when the drive isn’t there, or it all gets too much to handle. Reading and researching ways to find balance, and imparting some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my own experiences is a way that I hope to contribute to the ongoing conversation that’s happening now about why we’re running this rat race to begin with. It’s a conversation that I hope to continue to have with you all in the upcoming year, and I hope you lend your voice to it as well. Achieving balance means something different to every person, and sharing our stories gives us the opportunity to learn from each other and create our own definitions of a balanced life.

There will be blips. We all have them. And when you do, we’ll all be there for you, myself included.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and balanced 2017 to you all. May your year be blip-free.

KBwB-BFlower-50In case I didn’t stress it enough above, I am not perfect- I’m still learning every day new ways to treat myself better and achieve a happier, healthier lifestyles. What are some of the solutions that have helped you? I’d love if you dropped me a line or commented below and let me know. We can all benefit from each others knowledge!

I’m still catching up with all of my comments and emails, so please be patient with me as I try to get back to you. I love reading each and every one of your messages and I hope they never stop arriving!

I hope to share even more about my struggles (and successes!) in my quest to find balance in my own life. In the meantime, click here for some of my previous thoughts. Part of achieving that balance, in my belief, is trying to maintain an organized and productive lifestyle. I’ve got lots of thoughts on that too, here and here.

Beat that Burnout

KBB_batteriesSome recent medical issues of mine caused me to rethink a lot of the way I work and how I handle stress. In other words, I needed to recharge my batteries.

In a world where we seem to judge each other in terms of the hours we put into a project, I think we’ve created a work culture that promotes working longer hours for fewer, less rewarding outcomes. As a society we’re stressed out, less focused and worst of all, less satisfied. At least, I know I was. This leads to what I like to call burnout.

The problem with living in that kind of work culture is that we self-perpetuate the myth that if we just work longer and harder we’ll be more rewarded. What exactly are we awarding ourselves with if we’re tired and stressed out all the time? When did money and job titles becoming more important than sleeping? Sitting down to a meal with your family? Getting exercise?

Obviously, feeling burned out is sometimes unavoidable- major life events, seasonal extracurricular and work activities, personal crises – these are natural occurrences in the ebb and flow of life. It’s still okay to feel inadequate, or ill-equipped during these experiences. What’s most important is taking care of yourself, and harnessing the help of others around you during this time.

One of the solutions I have discovered that has been one of the most surprisingly beneficial to my own issues has been communication. No one should have to suffer alone. You’d be amazed to discover how many people are willing to offer their help or support during your time of difficulty. At the very least they are better able to understand your absence, lack of focus, or your appearance of disinterest. Professionally speaking, you may want to share this information with a select few at your workplace depending on the nature of your issue.

If you protect yourself by seeking the help you need early enough, you may be able to delegate certain projects to co-workers, or delay certain deadlines. Sympathetic bosses may offer opportunities for cut-backs or short-cuts. Take these when are you are able. Your responsibility at this time should be to yourself.

Personally speaking, learn when to say no to social commitments and be select about the personal projects you take on. Give your time and attention to the things that are of immediate priority- personal hygiene, adequate sleep, eating nutritionally, getting enough exercise and giving yourself the mental space to breathe and recuperate. You may want to check in with your doctor at this time to make sure there are no medical issues that could contribute to your stress, or level of burnout. Vitamin deficiencies, sleeping disorders or thyroid issues could all lead towards feelings of malaise. Keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water can also help, as well as taking a multi-vitamin if your diet requires.

Type A people like myself will argue that they are superhuman and can do anything; most of us can if we put our minds to it. But our first responsibility is to ourselves, and to our own personal well-being. Learning how manage that in a crisis is the first step to empowering ourselves to work smarter instead of harder, and enjoying the benefits of a happy and fulfilling life, no matter what the world throws at us.

KBwB-BFlower-50What’s your best advice on dealing with a crisis? Is there something that’s worked for you in the past? Sharing is caring and I’d love for you to share yours below, or with me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com so that I might share them in a future post. No one should have to suffer through a crisis alone! We’re all here to help.

If you’re looking for more ways to find some balance in your life, I’m trying to figure it all out too here.