Finding Calm in a Culture of Busy

Finding Calm (C)

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

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We are all busy. I have written about this topic before, The Word Busy is Not a Noun, and truly try to disconnect from using this overused word, but I must say it is hard to do. The reality is life is busy and I think it is fair to say we are good at making it so. I prefer to think of life as being ‘full’ as it implies more of a notion that we had a hand in choosing it to be that way. It also adds a positive spin to the culture we have created. Although we may find it difficult to simplify our lives, to make them less ‘busy’, we can incorporate ways to find calm in our go-go mindset.

How do you feel when someone says, “I am so busy”?

This statement has parted everyone’s lips at some point in time. In the Lifehacker article How to Escape The Cult of “Busy”, Janet Choi does a good job at getting to the heart of what we are portraying when we say or act like we are so busy. She says we make the point that we matter, we are super-important, we are giving an excuse to get out of something, we are afraid (of missing out so if we distract ourselves we won’t notice), or we feel guilty (it is easier to fill our time than put energy behind meaningful, life-changing things).

Finding calm

How do we find ‘CALM’ despite the busy lives we have created?

Compartmentalize – My husband will tell you that this one act significantly improved his symptoms of burnout. Instead of work stress spilling over into his home life, he consciously leaves work where it should be – at work. If you are like me, you do a lot of work from home so I have tried to train myself to carve out specific work time each day. Whatever doesn’t get done in that time, I save it for another day. Sometimes it is not feasible to see the end of a work pile, ever, so setting limits or boundaries can make you feel calmer in the pockets of time you have freed yourself from it.

Awareness – I have come to realize more and more that self-awareness is essential to self-improvement. You can’t change what you don’t see. What is even better is that we can foster this skill. We can start with the simple exercise of checking in with our emotions when we react to a situation or someone. How do I feel and better yet, how can I change it? Self-awareness is a main ingredient of emotional intelligence, an invaluable attribute in leaders, and therefore success, for a reason. How do you feel if your boss or superior says they are super busy? Chances are they won’t say it because those who are busiest and effective in leadership don’t announce it, as it comes across as dismissive. Being aware of how we feel when people say things to us can change our own internal dialogue and shift us away from claiming to be too busy to a calmer approach.

Lifestyle – Doesn’t everything come down to self-care and our lifestyle? We have created this culture of busy so we need to care for ourselves even more by prioritizing sleep, good nutrition, physical activity and time with others. We all seek balance in our lives because imbalance leads to stress with both its physical and emotional consequences. I often think that when I need yoga the most, I prioritize it the least among my other commitments, so I have to consciously schedule time for it despite a full week ahead.

Mindfulness/meditation – Mindfulness, a way living in the present moment, can radically change our ability to feel calm. I have really tried to foster a sense of mindfulness, not only because it has been scientifically proven to transform our lives, but I admittedly dwell on both past and/or future events. All that does is take away from the present. One way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. You can even sign up for a free 30 day challenge through Mindfulness Based Achievement to try it out.

Did this post resonate with you? If so, why?



  1. 1

    The cult of busy definitely resonates with me. A lot of it is about priorities, similar to finances. When people say, “I can’t afford that,” it’s more that they choose not to afford it. Thanks for the reminder of how to stay out of the trap!

    • 2

      Thanks for your comment Dawn! What an excellent an analogy between ‘so busy’ and finances.

      Hope you are still feeling well!

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