Relax, refocus and redefine

How many times have you been asked, “Have you been busy lately?”  What is busy?  After many thought-provoking books, articles and blogs I’ve read this year, even the word looks weird to me like I spelled it wrong.  Though I don’t think we strive to be busy all the time, I think it’s often the best word to describe our lives.  But why should our lives be described by one single word?  Why is being busy so stressful?  Do we have to be busy to be successful in life?

Exploring Mount Rainier National Park, May 2014

Exploring Mount Rainier National Park, May 2014

I’ve been trying to stop saying that I’ve been busy because it doesn’t make me feel good about what I’m doing.  I’m not busy, I just have many things that I like to do…all at once.  And sometimes I like to abandon everything I’m doing and do nothing.  Does that then make me lazy?  If you find yourself describing your life as busy, and when you think about it and talk about it, it sounds negative and tiring, then maybe it’s time to relax, refocus and redefine.


Seriously, take a (metaphorical) chill pill.  Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Take a nap.  Go to bed earlier.  Take a walk.  Meditate.  Did you know that if you become really good at meditating, you do it in a crowded place with your eyes open?  At work, I find a quiet corner and put my head against the wall and close my eyes for 30 seconds.  Sometimes I spend an extra 1-2 minutes in the bathroom at work because it’s the only place that no one can interrupt me to ask me a question.  But you don’t have to relax by yourself.  Maybe relaxing is talking to a friend on the phone or playing a game with your family.  Whatever relaxing is to you, I implore you to do more of it.  Work it into your busy schedule.


Spend more time doing what you love to do and less time on things you don’t.  Cross something off your to-do list that you haven’t done yet and don’t do it (gasp!).  Give more hugs and kisses – hug and kiss longer.  Live in the moment.  Clear your plate.  What makes you laugh?  What makes you cry?  What makes you angry?  Why do things affect you like this?  Use your senses – hear, see, smell, taste and touch.  Change your mind – I do it all the time!  Can you eliminate one thing in your life in the next 30 days that is distracting you?  Can you stop doing other things long enough to explore something that needs more attention in your life?  “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


One of the books that I enjoyed reading this year is Thrive by Arianna Huffington.  Here we have a very successful person who ends up passing out due to sleep deprivation because she’s trying to do too many things at once and comes to redefine the meaning of success by adding what she calls a third metric.  Most of us define success by how much money and power we have and think that the busier we are, the better we are doing.  The third metric to measuring our success, according to Arianna Huffington, includes our well-being, wisdom, wonder and compassion.  Now, like me, you might be slightly skeptical about following the advice of someone who seems to have an infinite amount of resources to apply the third metric to her life, but if you take the words and their basic definitions – well-being, wisdom, wonder and compassion – and don’t read the book, you can integrate these into your life using common sense.  If you do read the book, you’ll get tons of information based on scientific research about how the components of the third metric can have a positive effect on your life.

Other interesting reads:


(originally posted on on 9/14/14)


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