Intentional Living

6 Steps To Reset + Thrive In Your Busy Season

June 26, 2016

This is a guest post from my friend Daisy and I’m so excited to share it with you! Regular readers will know I’m in the midst of my own busy season so I’m finding her advice so inspiring and useful. Be sure to read through to the bottom to find out more about her and the amazing free email course she’s offering! ??

Hey lovelies, how are you?

We often ask how people are doing out of habit, but let’s pause on that question for a bit: how are YOU doing today?

Are you living the way your heart is telling you to live? Are you surrounded by the people and things you love? Do you have time to breathe today?

Or are you in ‘survival mode’, where you feel like Jennifer described in this month’s Intention Plan?

I get into a 9 to 5 routine (which is never really 9 to 5??) and I end up in survival mode: work – eat – sleep – repeat … basically I stop caring about the ‘big picture’ and I just try to get through each day. (Tell me I’m not the only one who does this?)

Are you nodding along to what Jennifer said? I can relate to her words, and I think you can too.

When you and I are surviving, the day gets away from us. We feel like we’re getting further behind with every new thing we have to deal with. We want to live more mindfully but it’s hard.

So what can we do when we’re in the middle of a busy season? I’ve learned to take a deep breath, unplug myself, and reset my life.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
– Anne Lamott

Let me show you how I do it in 6 steps.

Are you living true to your heart or are you in survival mode? If you're in one of life's busy seasons, here are 6 simple steps to reset + thrive.

1. PAUSE

When you’re in ‘survival mode’, you run from one thing to the next without thinking about how you’re living each day. Like a hamster running on a wheel that doesn’t go anywhere.

So stop.?

Take a deep breath.

Accept you’re not handling these busy days as well as you’d like. There are too many things to juggle, and there’s too little time to do all the things. You’re so stressed that even taking care of the little things is hard.

Not because you’re doing less than your best. You’re living everyday the way that’s worked for you before. Life’s just complicated sometimes, and to borrow words from my friend Kercia, it’s time to “give yourself grace”.

So press pause on your overwhelmed mind. Realize being mindlessly busy isn’t helping with what’s important to you. It’s just making you tired.

2. MAKE TIME FOR A BREAK

It’s time to unplug and recharge your batteries. Even just closing your eyes or stretching for a few minutes can help you be more alert as you go through your day.

Aside from taking mini-breaks, set a few hours for yourself in the middle of this busy season.

I know the words ‘busy’ and ‘break’ don’t seem to match, but here’s my secret to making the time for it:

When I notice I’m extra stressed, I block off an afternoon on the weekend in my calendar like an appointment with other people. If anything comes up at the time I’ve scheduled in, I’ll let everyone know I already have something planned.

This time is important to me, so just like dates with others, I don’t break it except for emergencies. When it conflicts with someone else’s schedule, they don’t have to know I’ve set an appointment with myself. I just let them know I have other plans but I can commit to them another time.

It’s a small secret but it’s helped me set time for myself when I need it.

3. QUIET YOUR HEART

“I know, Mom, you just want a little piece of quiet.”
– Will, 8 years old, to the artist Mary Engelbreit

Go somewhere you can think without distractions for your ‘me’ break.

I like making myself a mug of tea and sitting quietly with my journal. Sometimes, I’ll go sit outside in the sun. Other times, I’ll visit a coffee shop.

Hiking a mountain, playing the piano, cuddling with your pet… I have friends who do these and more when they want to relax.

Whatever helps you find your little peace of quiet, start your break with that and clear your mind.

RELATED POST: The Joy of a Quiet Mind

4. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

Now you’ve calmed down, let’s find out why you’ve mindlessly entered ‘survival mode’ so you can stop doing it.

This is usually when I open my journal and answer questions like…

  • Why aren’t things working?
  • What’s making me so busy?
  • What do I want from life?
  • Is what I’m doing everyday getting me closer to what I want?

When you take a long look at your busy life, the reasons you’ve stopped living mindfully can often surprise you.

If you’re having trouble starting, check out some ways Jennifer and I use to be honest with ourselves:

4 Creative Exercises To Inspire Intentional Living [Jennifer]
How To Fine-Tune Your Game Plan In The Middle Of The Year [me]

5. PLAN TO CHANGE

At this point, you’re getting motivated to be extra mindful in this season of your life.

Spend the rest of your break mapping out how you’ll get back to intentional living. What steps do you need to take? Maybe…

  • Make new habits to replace old ones.
  • Remix your everyday routine.
  • Add time for family and friends.

With me, I always seem to skimp on sleep when I’m busy. I sleep later and later, then I wonder why I have trouble getting up in the morning.

Unplugging shows me having enough sleep helps me face the day. So I include setting a consistent bedtime as one of the steps I need to take. (Edit from Jen: this is sooooo me too!)

These don’t have to be big actions, by the way, and you don’t have to have everything figured out. It’s all about moving towards where you want to be. Little things like taking a walk during your lunch break can still help you be more mindful and less stressed everyday.

Struggling with what steps to take?
Jennifer’s intro to intentional living might help.

Are you living true to your heart or are you in survival mode? If you're in one of life's busy seasons, here are 6 simple steps to reset + thrive.

6. RESET YOURSELF

It’s time to dive into your regular routine and start over.

Pick one thing to start with from your list of steps. Just work on that one thing first. When you get it right, pick another step to try and repeat the cycle.

As you move forward bit by bit, you’ll find winning at each step will make everyday better. And that awesome feeling will motivate you to keep going.

You’ll soon find you’re more mindful regardless of how busy you are.

SIDE NOTE: WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO UNPLUG?

When you’re extra busy, I get how hard it is to take a break. There’s a long list of things you have to get done first, and this is the last thing you want to think about.

But if you want to step back from a busy season, unplugging yourself then figuring out how to do better is faster than trying to fix things and operate in ‘survival mode’ at the same time. It’s easier too.

As I say to students of my Busy Without The Crazy course, it’s like fixing a car while driving it down the road. People would think you were weird if you tried to repair your car without turning off the engine first.

Fixing your life without pausing your busy is the same thing.

WRAPPING UP …

I put these steps together as a way to thrive during the busy seasons of my life. I hope they help you reset your compass as you learn to fall in love with life day after day.

BIO // Hi, I’m Daisy! I travel half the year for work (and fun!), and live a half-hour away from the beaches of the Philippines during the rest of the year. I write about doing good work you love, intentional living, and clutter-busting at Fistfuls of Life. Sign up for my free Busy Without The Crazy course to learn to be busy on what matters to you.

I hope you enjoyed Daisy’s post as much as I did! I think taking time to reset your life is such a beautiful act of self care – don’t you? Is this something you’d like to add into your routine, or do you have your own way to recharge? Let me know in the comments! xo

Photo credit: Unsplash.com // Used with permission.

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  • Allie Bigoness

    Yesss love this and love this collaboration! This is so me, I also feel like this is me when something is really bothering me and I’m hell bent on finding a solution yesterday ?? taking a break for some me time and rest is so important. I always try and fit naps in on the weekends otherwise I’ll just be sluggish and I know for a fact I won’t everything done that I want to.

    • Thank you gorgeous! Yep – I’m slowly learning to step back, but I have to be really mindful of it or it doesn’t happen! And yes, yes, YES to naps! ??

    • My naps are one of the highlights of my week, Allie! I’m glad you enjoyed it: I enjoyed writing for Jen too! 😀

  • I love this post! I relate so much to the things written here. Pauses, long and short, are essential to my daily routine. I find stopping to take deep breaths help me from panicking and ‘losing it’ during very stressful times. This was a lovely read and a very timely reminder because I’m having a hectic day today. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m happy to know it helped during your day, J! And yep, deep breaths help me a lot too. 🙂 Hope you have a good week!

  • Ooh I love this post so much! Thanks for writing it, Daisy!

  • Jennifer, I didn’t notice I didn’t comment on this post, lol. Thanks for letting me write for you; it was fun!

  • Nicola

    Heh, as a computer programmer I love that quote about how everything works if you unplug it for a few minutes 🙂

    Love the advice in this post; I’m definitely going to try scheduling “me time”.

    • Heh, I’m from a tech background myself, Nicola (an engineer) so I get where you’re coming from when you look at that quote. Happy you enjoyed this post; Jennifer and I definitely enjoyed prepping it. 🙂

    • I love that quote too! I’ve been scheduling a lot of ‘me time’ lately too – and it feels sooooo good! Good luck x