Finding Ways to Live When You’re Terribly Busy

As the new year excitement winds down and it gets more and more busy, here’s how I’m finding ways to live and go easy on myself.

Jan 27, 2023

Finding Ways to Live When You’re Terribly Busy

Every week in January has felt like a month on its own, and there’s still five more days left. This week, though, I started feeling the unappeasable sense of tiredness creep in. The excitement and motivation that came with the new year is wearing off and being replaced by the dread of being terribly busy. My anxiety is also ramping up. I start a new online class Monday, but they haven’t setup my Canvas course. This means I’ll have just three days to get at least two weeks’ worth of content up. The worst part is I haven’t felt like doing anything. As I was scrolling through Instagram instead of the numerous other things I should be doing instead, I thankfully came across a gatha from famous Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh called “Waking Up” that made me pause and find a moment of repose: 

Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment 
and to look at all beings with eyes of 

From the first line, “Waking up this morning, I smile,” the whole gatha is a simple reminder that each day I have the power to set the tone. Instead of dread or anxiety, I can smile and feel gratitude. I should smile and feel gratitude. There are “Twenty-four brand new hours are before me” to live, enjoy my time in this world, and give others the “compassion” they deserve—many of whom are also terribly busy. As always, I’m amazed at the immediate power of words. Just re-reading “Waking Up” while writing this is dissipating my exhaustion from a long day and replacing it with the rejuvenating spark of excitement. 

I get to decide how I live each moment. Tomorrow is going to be packed with meetings. I already know I won’t be able to get through nearly as much work as I’d like, but I’ve decided to show love for myself by “vow[ing] to live fully in each moment.” I’ve decided that each day I’m going to find ways to be gentler and gentler with myself. I’m going to allow myself to do only what’s feasible in the time I have and be happy with the work I can get done. Tomorrow, I’m going to start my day by reading “Waking Up,” put on my running clothes, and go for a trail run. I’m going to enjoy the cold in my lungs, the sun on my skin, my feet finding their footing in the soft sand, and run my fingers across the striated walls of my favorite desert canyon (pictured below).

Picture of canyon walls on a desert hike.