“I’m so stressed!”: Finding yourself through busy times

When you’re busy, days seem to rush by… It always makes me think of the stampede in the Lion King – before you know it, you can find yourself feeling like Simba does when all goes quiet and you have no idea what’s been going on! You look around and realise you’ve been neglecting yourself and you’re suddenly feeling pretty overwhelmed by all you’ve had to get done these few days.

So, the next time you think you’re going to have one of those weeks where you might end up like Simba in the valley, try these mindfulness activities for each day, as a prevention technique!

Whether it’s when you wake up, during your commute, on your lunch break or before bed, 5 minutes a day will help you not feel like you’re drowning in work and that you’re still you!

  1. Listen. Choose a piece of music you’ve never heard before, on Spotify or on Youtube or your streaming site of choice. It can be any genre or style, as long as it’s unknown to you. Pop your headphones in and listen, shut your eyes and do nothing but listen to the music. Enjoy a moment to just explore the beat, the lyrics, the instrumentals, and nothing else.
  2. Walk. Get up and go for a walk, without your phone or music or anything else. It can literally be a 3 minute walk down the street and back. Just breathe in that fresh air and look around, get a change of scenery with no distractions for a few minutes.
  3. Stare. Pick an object in your vicinity and stare at it with intent. Imagine you have to describe it in intricate detail. Think about what you would say. Explore every part of it with your eyes, and don’t do anything else. This helps your mind connect with something unrelated to your tasks, and in turn helps you to relax.
  4. Thanks. Write down a list of 3 things that you are grateful for this week. A simple task that reminds you how much goodness there is in your life.
  5. Write. Shut your eyes for 3 minutes and breathe in and out slowly. Whatever thoughts come to mind, acknowledge them, then try not dwell on them. When you open your eyes, write down whatever it is that comes to mind. This is a great way of realising what exactly is preoccupying your mind.
  6. Smile. Look in the mirror and smile to yourself. Look yourself in the eye and smile. Even take a selfie smiling (no need to pose, this one is just for you)! You’ll be surprised how much lighter it makes you feel.
  7. Switch off. This one is great for more than just 5 minutes. Where possible, turn off your personal phone for an entire morning/afternoon/evening. The lack of easy distraction and constant reminders and alerts does wonders for calming the busy brain.

Getting a bit lost when we’re busy is entirely normal. But we can take the time each day to do a little something just for us, and our minds will thank us for it.

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