Busyness. It can get under all our skins. For indie writers, one of the most challenging bits can be balancing our extreme work practices with the rest of our lives. As I near another publishing period, my mind is racing with tasks I must accomplish during the days ahead. Not only am I focused on my work, but my family, friends, and social commitments. It can be a lot. Lately, I’ve been feeling the pressure. Emotionally, I’ve been pretty healthy, but my mind is feeling more and more stretched beyond its limits. What can you do in situations like these? How can you practice peace when you have forty billion items on your to-do list and your days and evenings are filling up with priorities?
Here are some of the things I try to do when I “practice peace”:
>> Utilize a Planner//Journal//Calendar//or a combination of these: It may seem counterproductive to “schedule” when your life is overflowing with activity, but believe me, it can help simplify your days. When you know exactly what you have going on, it allows you to schedule more activity, if you can fit it in, or less according to what your needs are for a particular week or month.
>> Make time to rest: You may only be able to squeeze in an hour or two in a given week sometimes, but when you rest, actually rest. Turn off the phone, computer, television, etc. Take a hot bath and read or snuggle under a bunch of warm blankets. Reflect. Breathe. Even better than an hour or two in a week, try to take thirty minutes to an hour a day. This can help you to stay grounded and keep you from becoming too overwhelmed in the midst of a really busy period of life.
>> Memorize Scripture: There are plenty of helpful, inspirational, and comforting messages in the Bible! One of my favorite verses to remember when I’m feeling overwhelmed and drained is this: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14.27). Repeat your favorite scriptures to yourself as you’re working or trying to figure out your day and it can help to calm you and center your mind.
>> When you’re working on a task, be fully there: This is perhaps the hardest thing for me to do when I’m working on a publishing task list or a major project. I have a hard time not multi-tasking. However, in order to focus your mind and complete a task to the best of your ability, you must zone out the rest of the world and zero in on what you’re doing in the moment. This takes practice. It does not come naturally to many of us, but we can learn this valuable skill!
>> Make time to celebrate your accomplishments: It doesn’t have to be a gigantic party or expensive gift. If you love taking time to putter around on pinterest, reward yourself for a little while after a really long day at work. If you’ve been writing like a fiend and publishing frequently, take a night off and enjoy a glass of wine with your spouse or significant other. Go for a hike and get lost in the woods. Find ways to feed your soul and give it rest when you’ve worked hard for sustained periods.
Practicing peace is a challenge. Though peace seems as if it should descend upon you like snow…peace is usually something that must be learned. I have a difficult time inviting peace into my life. I love to be busy, but I tend to become the most stressed when I am. It is a conundrum for me, but in doing the little things above, I help my brain to calm itself and welcome in Peace. When you are really busy, what are some things that you like to do to put your mind at peace? I’d love to hear!