Staying Sane When You’re Really Busy

really busy
© 2014 Christy King
“We need to make sure that we never get too busy with life that we don’t have time to live.”
- Daniel Willey

Yes, I advocate never getting really busy in the first place, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

For instance, awhile back I signed up for a series of classes at the community college. After I began attending the classes, my son signed up for the local robotics club.

As you might imagine, having only one free weeknight evening is pretty exhausting. Plus there are all the Saturdays I have to drive him to workshops, competitions and builds.

Plus the volunteer commitments I’ve already made, plus, of course, work. Oh, and getting our house ready to sell.

Theoretically, I could have told him no, but this is a great opportunity for him. Alternatively, I could drop my classes, but I’d rather not, since I’m three-fifths of the way to the certificate and will wrap up the program in a few months if I stick with it.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who occasionally gets in a pickle like this.

 “When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
- Jack Kornfield


Despite being really busy, I don’t want to lose valuable sleep, damage my relationships with friends and family, or feel overwhelmed and anxious.

That’s a tall order, I know, but it is possible. If you’re in the same boat, try these tips.

1. Remind yourself that the situation is temporary (if it’s not, you’ll need to work on making it temporary, but that’s another problem all together).

2. Stop adding commitments. I understand if you can’t (or really don’t want to) cancel things you’ve already scheduled, but don’t make it worse. Tell people you’re sorry, but you’re overloaded now and will be glad to help later when you have more time.

3. Let some things slide. I love cooking, but it’s not going to happen much for a while. I’m making one more intensive meal on the weekends, and the rest of the week entails eating things like Indian-food-in-a-box over some brown rice, refried beans and salsa on tostada shells and pasta with olive oil and Parmesan.

4. Ask for help. Normally my husband I would split the responsibilities more evenly, but I’m asking him to do more than his fair share for a while. I’ll even it up later when I have more free time.

5. Use what little down time you have in a meaningful way, not just trying to cram in a little more work. Use the time either to connect with friends and family or to connect with yourself. 10 minutes before class starts? Call a friend. Waiting in line? Take a few deep breaths.

6. Be more organized. Make sure you need to visit the grocery store only once a week. Don’t go from room-to-room empty-handed if there’s tidying to be done.

7. Eat nutritious foods and get some exercise. There are plenty of good meals you can make with very little active time at home. If you’re forced to eat away from home, try ordering a sandwich with lots of veggies or consider packing a PB&J. Exercise can be trickier, but jogging in place for 5 minutes will make you feel a lot better in the long run than using those 5 minutes to watch TV. Or try this 7 Minute Workout from the New York Times.

8. Add luxury and enjoyment where you can. Read your homework assignment in a hot bath, light a scented candle in your office or wear your most comfortable sweater.

9. If you have a lot of waiting to do, as often happens when you’re chauffeuring kids around or have lots of medical appointments, bring your knitting or a good book so you feel like you’ve gotten to relax a little.

How do you cope when you’re really busy?