Life in the 21st century is incredibly fast-paced, and the ability to be constantly connected is a blessing and a curse.
Today there is so much pressure to do it all, be it all, experience it all. From young children onward, we face a constant need to not miss out on anything, take part in every activity or event we’re invited to, and do and be more.
It’s overwhelming. And the health consequences are bleak.
We have ended up with a culture that embraces stress. For many, it’s a sign of success. “Oh, I’m so busy,” I hear people say. “I have so many obligations. There’s so much going on.”
Are these people happy?
I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I can speak for myself, and I was once one of those people. And as it turned out, I wasn’t happy, and so I made changes. If you recognise yourself in these statements and you’re wondering how you can make some changes too, I’m going to share some tips I learned along the way – things I did to embrace a slower and ultimately happier life.
Learn to say no. This may be the most important lesson. We are constantly bombarded with invitations and activities and people asking us to say yes to things, so saying “no” can be one of the hardest things to learn to do. You need to understand that it is OK to put yourself first and say no to some of those invitations.
Embrace the joy of missing out (JOMO). It’s one thing to say “yes” because we don’t know how to say “no.” It’s another to do it because we have FOMO – fear of missing out. It’s OK to miss out on a cocktail hour or a party with people you don’t really know that well or (let’s be honest) like that much. Your kids don’t need to take part in an activity every day of the week. What can you do with the time you’re not spending at those events? Embrace that time for yourself and your family.
Make time for yourself. While spending time with your family is important, so is carving out some time for you. I know many parents who feel selfish taking time away from the family, but honestly, it’s one of the best things you can do for your family. Spend some time taking a yoga class or reading a book or taking a walk. It will refresh you and allow you to be a better parent and partner.
Put the phone away. Not forever, of course – sadly, that’s not realistic in this day and age. The phone is an essential means of communication and entertainment. But it can also be not just a distraction but a health hazard. Mental health experts have warned of “doom scrolling” – constantly scrolling through negative news – as an activity that breeds anxiety. Set aside an hour a day for phone-free time; don’t answer texts, emails, and instead focus on the people around you.
Cut the clutter. I did this in a big way several years ago when I realised my frenetic, fast-paced life and high-stress job were literally making me sick. I had to make a change, and that meant taking a hard look at what I really wanted out of life. After some soul searching, my husband and I sat down and made some real decisions about what we did and didn’t need. It resulted in our current Tiny Haus lifestyle – and I’ve never been happier.
A slower-paced life will look a little different for everyone. It doesn’t necessarily mean a tiny house or a career change – but what it does mean is a life free of excess obligations, extra stress, and the overwhelming sense of “too much.”
Reconnect with what is truly important to you, understand yourself and your needs on a deeper level with Marnie Prowse, the founder of the lifestyle brand “Tiny Haus Lifestyle”, and Renée Lynch, Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist, in their immersive self-reflection workshop at The Conscious Space event. Click here for more details. Press the pause button, take a deep breath, and say goodbye to busy.