At a time when multi-tasking is the new normal, many of us are finding ourselves overloaded with information from the world around us and plugged into technology for most of our waking day.
In the 2012 Today.com article, American anxiety: Why we’re such a nervous nation, studies reported as many as 117 million American adults to have high levels of anxiety pointing the finger at our high-paced, stressful lifestyle. A 2016 article, on the World Health Organization’s website, revealed a rise in depression and anxiety worldwide. The study found that between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by almost 50%, from 416 million to 615 million.
It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
― Henry David Thoreau
Being busy has become a bad habit for most of us so it’s important we recognize when we need to slow life down. As with all undesirable habits, it takes work and dedication to rewire how we live. So, how can we modify our busy life to lead a simpler one?
1. Set Goals
Write a list of things that overwhelm you then prioritize them. Figure out what tasks are a necessity and what you can either minimize exposure to or knock completely off the list. Writing things down helps to organize thoughts, see the bigger picture and stay on track with our intentions.
We can also write down a long-term goal (or two) and chunk them into smaller more manageable mini-goals for the day.
Long-term goal – 30-days
Work on controlling my anxiety and slowing life down.
1. Sit alone outside in nature for 10-15 minutes daily (without my phone).
2. Exercise every night for 30 minutes to an hour.
3. Eat lunch daily with others (rather than at my desk alone).
Tip: Include a goal date or time to work towards.
2) Unplug Often and Minimize Tech Time
If your end goal is to simplify life, the prolonged amount of time spent on technology is unnecessary. From social media to television, limit the time spent on devices.
Try to consume less news. Being informed is one thing but searching for hours online (or in newspapers) for random information can fill your brain with excess negativity.
Shift your focus to the present moment. Spend time outdoors and cherish really being there with friends and loved ones.
Decluttering our minds and our home environment has been proven to lower stress and improve focus and clarity. Maintain a clean work space and clear your desk of papers. Keep your email inbox empty so as to avoid another thing to go through.
Make a donation pile for old clothes. Do away with the 10 extra shirts that you haven’t touched in years and give them to those who would be grateful to use them.
4) Create Good Work/Life Balance
Only you can set your work/life boundaries. Honor your off-times from work. Learn to say No to new tasks and projects if they are not conducive to the work/life balance you are trying to achieve.
There may be some days that you have to work a little longer but try to make up for it by giving yourself more me time the next day. Life is about living, not saving up to live later.
5) Slow Life Down
Nothing decelerates a chaotic life more than spending time in nature, gifting yourself self-care days or going to yoga and/or practicing meditation. Meditation is a proven stress-reliever and works to manage those rampant thoughts that make life seem unmanageable.
Only you know what you need to refresh and recharge your mind and body so tend to yourself when needed.
Seeking a life with less will reward you with more.
In short, keep life uncomplicated and work on ensuring your choices support a simpler life.