How You Can "Break Busy" This Holiday Season
“Busy” is the response we give most often when people ask how we’re doing. Our calendars are full and we’re constantly making plans. It seems we over-schedule ourselves and say "yes" to too many things. We live in a society of “crazy busy”, it’s all around us.
I'm all too familiar with this. Over the summer Shay and I counted 11 weekends in a row where we were either hosting someone at our house, or we were out of town. That’s right people, 11 weekends! Living in the Midwest, we’re always pressured to make the most of our summer - filling the calendar with visitors, festivals, weekend trips to the lake, etc.
But it usually doesn’t stop there. For most of us, every season seems to be a busy season. Especially the one we’re in now! There are holiday parties, shopping lists, grab bags, cookie exchanges, etc. How does this happen? How do we get so busy? I was so curious about the topic that I picked up the book “Breaking Busy” by Alli Worthington. I recently finished it, and thought it might help to share some of my takeaways.
First, it’s important to be able to identify the signs of being over-busy: an inability to control your emotions, lack of self care, illness, chronic lateness, self-medicating and excess, neglecting important relationships, and neglecting God.
If any of those sound like you, read on. I pulled three quotes from the book to ponder on.
“If we are going to start breaking busy, we have to focus on relationships that fill our soul and not just the ones that fill our calendar.”
Who pours life into you? Who do you need to spend more time with? Who drains you? Who do you need spend less time with?
Spending time at home alone with my husband on a Friday or Saturday night once a week is important to me. We get to unwind together, have dinner, drinks, and good conversation. This may sound easy, but at times it has meant turning down invitations to things so we can have a relaxing night in together. We shouldn’t feel like we have to RSVP “yes” to something just because there’s an opening in the calendar. Make sure whoever or whatever it is you are giving your time to adds value to your life.
“When you try to be all things to all people, what you really end up doing is cheating yourself out of happiness and peace.”
Are there things you do because you feel like you’re “supposed to”, but maybe it’s not all that important to you?
This is a big one for me around the holidays. I used to feel like I had to take a family photo and send out holiday cards every year. I also used to feel like I had to wrap all of my Christmas gifts as if they were done professionally. I think the list of expectations we put on ourselves this time of year is endless (and Pinterest doesn’t help). We need to stop doing things because we feel like we have to, and only do them because it brings us joy.
“The way we think about things will determine whether we live peaceful lives, or whether we live in a busy rush to prove ourselves, please others, and strive to be and do more.”
Have you ever told yourself the lie: “I’ll be happy when....”?
I've told this lie to myself in the simplest of ways. "I'll be happy when it's the weekend." ... and I've also told myself this lie for much bigger things. "I'll be happy when I make more money." Telling ourselves these lies robs us of our ability to be happy in the moment, and tricks us into busying ourselves with draining activities until that future moment comes. And usually, the relief of that thing we were waiting for is short lived. Instead, every day find people and things to be thankful for, and remember that you can be happy and live a peaceful life right now.
I hope these quotes, questions, and examples of how I "break busy" in my life helps you in some way. I also hope that some of you can get to the root of why you’re so over-scheduled and have a peaceful holiday season!