Life can get busy. Sometimes the busyness can’t be avoided. Work, family, home ownership, and many other responsibilities are unavoidable. But much of the busyness is of our own making.
If you feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends lately, consider slowing down. There are some strong reasons you need more downtime in your life.
I’m a pretty busy guy. I’m a single dad. I’m a full-time college professor. I operate a couple of blogs. I have too many interests and hobbies to count. Every so often, I find myself feeling physically and emotionally spent. Fear and anxiety start to creep into my life.
Too much busyness can lead to mental health struggles. When I was younger, I didn’t understand that this anxiety was a cue. It was my body’s way of telling me that I needed to slow down. I ignored that cue and life spun into darker places. That’s when I experienced bouts of anger, anxiety, and depression.
What I didn’t understand then is that there’s an easy way to overcome the problems that come with being overloaded. I’m not talking about having a drink. I’m talking about creating intentional downtime.
Consider these five reasons to slow down:
1. Your physical and mental health will improve.
We all want good health, right? When we get too busy, our stress hormones kick in. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts your energy supplies. This might be a good thing occasionally, but when we continually run in high gear we’re physically damaging ourselves. This physical damage will affect your mental health, too. The answer is simple. Make more downtime, and experience positive results in your quest for wellness.
2. You’ll have better relationships.
If you’re always too busy, you’ll decrease time for family and friends. Your relationships will be weakened. There have been times in my life when I got so busy that I ignored friends to the point of losing them. That’s not good. As a single dad, I’ve learned that I need to purposefully stop and spend time with my daughter. I need be intentional about building a healthy bond. I can’t do that if I’m in high gear.
3. You build your self-worth.
Being constantly busy takes you away from yourself. If we’re always doing things, we never have tome to stop and evaluate who we are, where we’re going, and how we can inspire others. When you make intentional downtime in your life, you give yourself time to contemplate what’s truly of value. You’ll build your self-esteem and your self-worth. Then you’ll be better equipped to help both yourself and others. That’s priceless.
4. You can become a master of something.
I’m a musician. I’ve been writing and playing music since I was a boy. I love music. Still, even our passions can lead to being too busy. Over the years, I’ve tried to learn to play most every popular instrument. I’ve gone on songwriting sprees where I’ve written 50 songs in a month. Sounds productive, right? Not really. I was keeping myself so busy I forgot about quality. When we slow down and do a single task at a time, we can become a master. Instead of trying to complete twenty unimportant tasks, focus on one task and do it well.
5. Your yes will be yes and your no will be no.
When we take on too much, we get caught in a trap. Every time someone asks us to take on more, we say, “Yes.” When you learn to be more intentional about giving yourself downtime, you also become more decisive. You begin to set goals and create boundaries that help you to know when to accept another responsibility and when to say, “No.” You’ll be able to focus on the things you hold important in life. That’s a blessing. Let you yes be yes and your no be no.
Remember, life is not a race.
In today’s world we’ve been misled. We’ve been taught that we need to complete certain tasks to be accepted and successful in life. We have to get good grades. We have to go to college. We have to get a job, make money, buy stuff, and raise a family.
I’m not saying that these things are unimportant. I’m just saying that we don’t have to race to the finish line.
Slow down. Be intentional. Create more downtime in your life. In the long run, you might discover that you’ll actually do more of what really matters.
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