How to tackle the busy-ness of modern day life!
It’s that time of year again, where life just speeds up to almost manic proportions. Everyone wants everything finished before the big day, everyone wants to catch up before the end of the year, everyone wants to leave an empty in-tray for the holidays. There are umpteen end-of-year concerts, get-togethers, performances, tests and reviews. There is so much fun and excitement that it all just spills over into one word: Busy.
There is nothing wrong with ‘Busy’ as such. It just means we have full lives; that we choose to participate and go all in. However, it seems that lately being insanely busy has become almost a prerequisite to fit in to our Western lifestyle. To the extent that I have noticed people in Australia have changed the way they greet each other.
It used to be: “How are you going?” and then without waiting for an answer they would follow with another question: “Good?”. Now they ask: “How are you going? Busy?” As if being good and busy are synonymous. Which, of course, we all know they are not. I’m not telling you anything new when quoting stats from beyondblue:
- 45% of Australians will suffer mental illness in their lifetime,
- In any one year 1 million Australians suffer depression
- 2 million suffer anxiety
According to a Medibank survey from December 2017, the number of people reporting they suffer with stress have increased by 30% in the past decade, now affecting almost 5 million Australians.
These problems are becoming so much more prevalent in our children as well. It is estimated that 14% of children between 4-17 years suffer mental health problems (kidshelpline.com)
Now, we know what to do to tackle the busy-ness: We can make conscious decisions to say No Thank You, we can practice being present and participate in yoga, mindfulness and meditation. These are no longer fringe approaches written about in women’s magazines. They are recommended by the medical establishment as well as chiros and spiritual healers.
Little Nick, a 5 year old Kindergarten kid with ADHD, highlighted just how far we have come on this path. As I was adjusting him this week, we chatted about what the best part of his school-day had been. “My meditations” he said without hesitation. “We meditate for 5 minutes when we come back into the classroom after recess and lunch”. Then I asked him a really intelligent question: “So what do you do when you meditate?”, to which Nick answered: “We breathe. Just breathe. The teacher says ‘Breathe in……… Breathe out…..’ And that’s what we do”.
How insightful from that little man! In my book Switched-on Kids – The natural way for children to be their best, there are several strategies for parents to help their children improve their mental and emotional health through breathing and meditating.
An important point about this though is, that this practice really has to start with us; their parents. We tend to get caught up with the Must Do’s on our to do lists: work, kids’ activities, cleaning, canteen, social engagements, news watching, exercise, P&C meetings, healthy food preparation, podcasts etc. However, for our children to have the best opportunity to not end up in a busy and disconnected lifestyle, we want to be their role models. Which means choosing to take some time out of our busy lives just to breathe, just like Nick.
So, as this is also the season for giving, I want to thank you for being part of the Switched-on Kids Community this year by giving you a little gift. Whether you receive this as a chiropractor or a parent doesn’t matter, this is to help you slow down and connect with yourself on a daily basis. Research shows that practicing ‘presence of mind’ for just 10 minutes a day has long lasting effects on brain circuitry and connection, helping us feel calmer and more centred. It helps us change our subconscious behaviour patterns and our bodies to function and heal.
This little gift comes from an expert in the mindfulness world who understands the importance of incorporating presence into all areas of our lives. Charlotte Thaarup from the Mindfulness Clinic has over 20 years experience in facilitating positive change in our personal and interpersonal lives. The gift is access to nine guided meditations which you can download and play whenever; for example if someone cancels their appointment, or, even better, you come in 15 minutes early and choose to use this time for you to become more connected with yourself and present in your life.
You can find the meditations at: