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A mindful busy bee

September 8, 2017 - Tiffany Larson
Someone asked me the other day, “How do you stay so organized as your schedule gets busier and busier?” I am not going to lie. I laughed hysterically for probably a solid 5 minutes. Okay, maybe the time was a bit exaggerated, but the humor of the question not so much.

You see, I am what most would refer to as a “busy bee.” I have my schedule so jam-packed with work, volunteering, and spending as much time with my adorable nephew that I am lucky to know what month it is on most days. Some may call me insane, but for me has been my norm. I typically thrive on staying connected and engaged in the community. I find that while helping others and giving back I am helping myself in the process. Well, that is the case most of the time. Sometimes when I am going 120 miles an hour, seven days a week, I forget that my tank is sure to run empty. This past week I was down for the count with a flu bug, and it has had my whole schedule all sorts of twisted up. I was running on fumes, and had to put my daily routine on pause until my tank was replenished.

On Friday, I was not a hundred percent, but well enough to jump back into the swing of things with work. Saturday I joined a college friend to help cheer on the Cyclones to their win. Sunday and Monday I enjoyed the Labor Day weekend with friends and family. I took time enjoying the little things, and practiced some self-care. It wasn’t until late Tuesday evening that I realized I missed my blog deadline for the local paper. I also missed a meeting. I went into panic mode. I felt guilty for taking time to relax.

Those that know me know that I have EVERTHING marked down and color-coded in my handy dandy life planner. Everything from coalition meetings to upcoming events. When I flipped through to see what I had written down for blog prompts for this month I had zilch penciled in. Turns out I only scheduled ahead to August. As I sat down to brainstorm ideas, I drew a blank. I was so flustered with missing the deadline and scheduled appointment that my mind went into shutdown mode. After about twenty minutes of staring at the flashing cursor, the wheels started turning. I found myself wondering what else I had overlooked. September and October bring an influx of commitments. My schedule sees more late evening programming, and events scheduled over the weekends. I rely on that scheduler to power me through it all and keep me organized. I was disappointed in myself for letting a few things slip through the cracks. I have worked hard this year to be more present, more organized, and to take time to plan ahead in an effort to increase personal growth and possibilities. It quickly became clear that something was yet missing in my game plan to put me in this predicament.

At the beginning of August we had a county wellness program kick-off. It was focusing on mindful wellness. We were encouraged to engage in strategies focusing on positive self-care. This has been a common thing discussed at conferences, meetings, and the monthly ASPIRE group that I have been attending the past year. I always start off with great intentions and then half-way through those old habits creep slowly back in. I was scheduling breaks away from my computer and waking up early to do morning stretches. I was taking time to sit in complete silence one day, and listen to music the next. A few hands of solitaire nightly replaced an hour of TV-watching and Facebook creeping. Then BAM, back to old habits of working through breaks, hitting snooze on the alarm in the am, and running myself thin.

The internal and external pressures surrounding me had increased, and it was easy for me to retreat back to not-so-healthy habits and let chaos and disorganization return. The tips and tools from the articles and books I have been reading fell silent. I forgot that an integral part of my decluttering and organizing methods is to be mindful during the process. I forgot that listening to my inner voices and finding calmness were vitally important to my personal wellness. I was kicking myself that here I spend my day job to encourage youth to be healthy and listen to their inner voices, and in return forgot to listen myself. I needed this bug, these overlooked deadlines, and this empty tank to remind me that I need to let some things go and be okay with not being a part of EVERYTHING. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burnout when you surround yourself with chaos and disorder. I can’t help others if I am not taking care of myself fully. Moving forward I need to focus on the moments and things I have control of, focus on getting the big things done with a written out plan, schedule in more self-care and things I enjoy for myself, and learn to feel comfortable with asking for help when “Plan A” doesn’t go the way I envisioned it.

Easier said than done, correct? Maybe so. At least I am being more mindful of my personal wellness so that I can continue buzzing around as that determined busy little bee.


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