07/19/2015 09:29 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 05:59 EDT

Let's Stop Being Busy

Cape Town, South Africa
Wavebreakmedia Ltd via Getty Images
Cape Town, South Africa

Are you "too busy"? It seems we are a culture of people who try to "out-busy" each other.

"Hi Rhonda. How are you today?"

"Busy. You know how it is. How about you?"

"Busy busy -- it never stops!" And on the discussion goes.

When I was growing up, my brother and I attended church and Sunday school. I also attended Brownies or Girl Guides during the school year and in the summer I played competitive baseball. My brother played hockey and baseball.

That meant we were busy two or three days a week. All the other days were spent doing what kids did in the '70s and '80s -- hanging out and having fun.

What are kids doing these days? I know that the adage is to keep them busy all the time so you know what they're up to. However, are we creating a society of kids who don't know how to relax? Are we teaching busy-making habits to our children and further reinforcing that being busy all the time is good?

Think about your plans for tonight. Do you plan on sitting on your back deck with a beverage trying to see how many bird calls you can recognize? What about watching a sunset -- when was the last time you did that?

We all work hard. Some of us work too hard. A study by Right Management tells us that only one in five people actually take a lunch break, with 39 per cent eating at their desk (I'm guessing many people don't actually even eat lunch anymore as they are too busy!). You need to get a break from work during the day. Even if you are on Facebook, YouTube or surfing online while you are eating, your brain is still at work. Get away from your desk.

I'm a non-smoker. Always have been. However, there is a habit that smokers have that we non-smokers need to learn. To take a break. Your brain needs the break from being constantly surrounded by work. Even if your conscious mind is not working, your subconscious mind still is.

Your cell phone is certainly part of the problem. Turn it off. Don't look at it when you get home at night. Do something that is relaxing for you, something that isn't considered "busy work."

Here are some ideas to help you be "less busy" this week:

• Take a break at lunchtime today, even if you just spend 15 minutes walking around your building. Six months from now, we will be willing to pay money to get to the climate we're all enjoying free right now. Enjoy it. Get outside.

• Tonight, make a point to get outside and watch the sunset. Walk around your yard, or your building, and look at the flowers. If they are your flowers, cut some (or go buy some) and put them in your kitchen or family room. If flowers aren't your thing, then look at the fancy cars, the neighbours or the roofs of houses!

• Listen to the birds, the traffic or the silence. Just stop and listen. How long has it been since you listened to the sounds of silence?

• Plan a vacation day. Take one day where you don't clean the house, work from home, or do errands. Take a day and go to a museum, or the beach or golf course.

• Go on a date. It could be a date with the girls (lots of great movies this summer in the theatres), a date with your special someone, or hang out with the guys.

• Stop at the grocery store and buy dinner to go. A roasted chicken, salad and a nice glass of wine is a perfectly healthy dinner and fairly inexpensive when you buy them ready-to-go at a grocery store.

We need to stop out-busying each other. The next time someone asks you how you are, tell them you're "perfectly calm, in control and feeling pretty darned good, thank you." I can guarantee that they will not want to out-busy you then!


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