8 Ways to Avoid Stress

It may seem like a pipe dream, but I truly believe there are measures we can take to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. While we can’t always control what stresses us out, I’ve come to learn that exercising measures in what I like to call “stress prevention” can help me control my reaction to stressful events and stop fretting about the things that I cannot control. While I haven’t totally perfected my technique, here are some of the strategies I put into place to help me avoid stress:
  1. Don’t overcrowd your schedule. I know that if I schedule too much for myself in one day, I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. Just having blank space on your calendar can give you peace of mind. It also gives you contingency time should an emergency come up, or if a task takes longer than planned.
  2. Be realistic. I used to know someone who would schedule meetings but forget to schedule travel time in between and as a result ended up constantly running behind. Leaving blank space on your calendar isn’t just for visual stimulation. Think of it instead as your back-up plan.
  3. Learn how to say no. Once you become more realistic about your scheduling capabilities (see number 2) you have to exercise your right to refuse work that interferes with your schedule, is outside of your job description, or beyond your capabilities.
  4. Learn when compromise is appropriate. One of the keys to dealing with stress is having the right attitude when approached with projects that are less than desirable. Be willing to do what needs to be done but make sure you take steps to ensure that your needs are met as well.
  5. Be okay with enough. As much as you may like to give 110% to everything you take on there will be times where it is not worth the effort, the time or the money. If perfectionism is causing you to fall behind, miss deadlines or prevents projects from moving forward, it may be time to learn when to walk away.
  6. Be loyal to yourself. In order to keep on top of my projects and administrative tasks I schedule a weekly review. Keeping that appointment with myself is such a high priority for me that I plan my schedule around it. Recognize the best practices for your lifestyle and stick to them.
  7. Know that you can handle it. Most of the anxieties that we have are rooted in the lack of faith we have in ourselves to manage the things that are thrown our way. It may so corny, but if you believe in your ability to handle any situation with grace and confidence it will greatly reduce any anticipation or dread you feel about a problem or upcoming event.
  8. Accept the things you cannot control. This may be the hardest rule to swallow, but at some point in time you really will have to face the facts: there will be times where you cannot prepare and the only thing you can do is take care of yourself and manage as best you can. (A sense of humour helps too!)

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

That Time My Body Tried to Self-Destruct

I’ve put off writing this for over a year now. When I first started I felt it was necessary but then it became too difficult and I stopped because I figured no one would be interested . After some time passed I started to wonder if I had done the right thing. I wondered if anyone else had gone through what I had been through. I share this with you today in the hope that there’s someone out there who needs to read it as much is I need to write about it. Consider it a cautionary tale.

Last spring, my body decided to self-destruct. To a casual observer it may have seemed as if it were a long time coming but to me it was a total shock. I didn’t know what was happening to me.

How do I describe myself at that time other than to say I was a mess? I had stopped eating and sleeping and as a result of my stomach was upset all the time and I was exhausted to the point that I was falling asleep in random places. My skin broke out and I started losing my hair. I lost weight and had to go to the doctor, who told me to stop overworking myself.

But I didn’t listen. As my stress levels rose, my health plummeted: I started having frequent panic attacks and crying spells that would last hours. I felt like I couldn’t handle anything and it made me hate myself. I was angry all the time: I’d throw tantrums, I’d throw things and then I would throw myself down on the bed afterwards and wonder about the person that I was becoming.

The final straw occurred when I got sick, really sick, the kind of sick that makes you cancel everything and stay in bed for a week. It made me realize that I was miserable. I hated my life. I knew that if I kept I’m going the way I was I would make myself sicker and at the time the only way out that I could see was to do something drastic.

So I quit my job.

Disclaimer: don’t quit your job. It’s a really risky thing to do, especially when you’re in a bad place. However, it seemed like the only solution to me. I missed freelancing: working from home, getting creative. I wanted to be passionate about something again.

First, I took some time off because it had been seven years since I had had a vacation. I had to teach myself to enjoy once again the little things that used to give me pleasure: reading, journaling, creative writing. It sounds like a lot of fun but reality it wasn’t easy trying to shed the workaholic personality I had developed.

It’s something I’m still working on. I did eventually go back to freelancing (that’s a whole other post) but even then I have learned the importance of following my body’s cues. In doing so, I have to come to discover that if you’re not taking care of yourself on an emotional and physical level you will lose the strength needed to deal with things on a daily basis.

Now that I’m kinder to myself my stress levels have become more manageable. I have more energy and experience better health overall. Sure, I still have my moments/days/weeks but they are getting fewer and farther between.

If any of the above sounds familiar to you than my advice is this: listen to your body because it will tell you when you’ve had enough. It will tell you when it is depleted. It will tell you when the lifestyle you’re leading is wrong.

Deep down inside, you know which things are best for you. Recognize those things, honor those things and try not to let them go.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

The Secret to Everyday Happiness

I recently celebrated a birthday and I’m not lying when I said I had a great day. I gave myself a day off of work and spent time with family and friends just relaxing and enjoying myself. It felt great.

If you’re a workaholic or perfectionist like me, you know how much work can suddenly start to take over your life. Taking even just one day off can give you a different perspective. I realized that most of my days are planned around work. My birthday gave me a rare opportunity to plan for pleasure instead.

I started to wonder about why I wasn’t making more room in my life for the things I love. Why would I save only one day out of the whole year for rest and relaxation? What if I could find some way for my day to be pleasurable every day, even in just some small way? Could I actually plan my own happiness?

If happiness is something that you work on, it’s a state of mind that needs to be worked on every day. Giving yourself something to look forward to, allowing yourself time to relax or even indulging in something small are all good ways of injecting some fun into the day, whether it’s during the week or on the weekend.

Realistically, there might not be an opportunity to do this on a daily basis (like I said, life gets in the way) but there is always the time to practice gratitude. It may sound corny, but reminding yourself of reasons to be happy can actually improve your mood. Gratitude doesn’t always have to mean listing the things you’re grateful for either- for me, practicing gratitude also encompasses finding appreciation or pleasure in the everyday world around me. It could be as simple as being grateful for the breeze on a hot summer day, or how beautiful the view is from your window. There are little sparks of joy everywhere in your life if you know where to look for them. If you don’t, it may be time to create some. (Check out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo or The Book of Awesome by Neil Patrisha for some ideas.)

We only have birthdays once a year, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have reasons to celebrate everyday. We’re alive, for one thing, which is remarkable unto itself. If we constantly look for opportunities to be grateful for this, we can all be on our way to something that looks like everyday happiness.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

Good Health for Busy People


There’s this belief based on an old saying that if you want a task to be done, just give it to a busy person. I find this to be true. People who like to keep busy (and are good at keeping busy) tend to be pretty capable at managing all aspects of their lives and adapt quickly to accommodate change. It’s a wonder that with so much on their plates that busy people never seem to get overwhelmed, make mistakes, or even get sick. (Ok, maybe they do once in awhile.)

Years of careful observation on my part has lead me to believe that the busiest, most productive people I have met are the ones that take the best care of themselves. Here’s a few of the secrets I’ve gleaned:

Healthy, busy people make time for physical activity. Ideally, you should be getting 30-60 minutes daily. It sounds like a lot but that doesn’t mean you have to go running out to the gym tomorrow. Even incorporating small changes into your routine can make a big difference, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus a couple of stops early, or doing an extra lap around the park with your dog.

Healthy, busy people make sleep a priority. Even Ariana Huffington does it. For more reasons to snooze (as if you need any) click here.

Healthy, busy people maintain a balanced diet. I’m talking regular meals made with real food. I don’t think it matters whether you’re gluten-intolerant or vegetable intolerant or whatever- putting good food in your body is going to make you feel stronger, more energized and more capable of dealing with whatever the world throws at you. Bingeing, abstaining or trying to stick an unforgiving menu will not only make you unhappy, but it can mess with your health. (If this strikes a chord with you, please check out this post.)

Healthy, busy people collaborate with their healthcare professionals. I’ve seen (and experienced first-hand) the benefits of asking questions, doing your own research and being honest with your healthcare provider about your specific needs. It’s your body so you’re in charge of the decisions; they’ve got the education and the resources to help keep you informed. (Working at clinic has given me lots of experience working with doctors and patients. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on how to manage your health care.)

Healthy, busy people leave their work at the office. Just because technology makes it easy for us to stay connected all the time doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes logging some extra time working on a project at home is unavoidable, but trading in your personal time for more professional time can be bad for your relationships, bad for your physical and mental health and can actually have the opposite effect on your job.

Healthy, busy people know when to take advantage of downtime. By the way, your life isn’t separated into work and downtime- that means downtime includes even mundane tasks such as sleeping, chores, and bathing. Sorry folks, those things don’t count. Relaxing with family and friends, engaging in hobbies or simply just daydreaming are all things that do. It’s important to make the time to do the things you want to do so that when it is time to focus, you feel refreshed, confident and alert.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we’re connected all the time. We’re trained to work ourselves to the bone. We’re raised not to question the status quo, and we’re made to feel guilty or selfish for saying no, or for taking time to ourselves.

The key is that busy people are already aware of this, and they’ve taken measures to set boundaries, accommodate others, and anticipate their own needs so that they don’t get overwhelmed. Getting things done still requires a certain amount of discipline and prioritization- busy people just make sure that self-care is included on that list of priorities.

And if it isn’t on your list, get on it already! I guarantee it’s the first step to becoming a happier, healthier, more productive you.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you incorporated any of these practices in your life? How has making these changes made a difference? Share your tips with us by commenting below or emailing me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I’ll try to include them in an upcoming post.

I’m always looking for more ways to be productive and organized, but I find the key is try to and keep things in perspective and balanced. I’ve collected more thoughts on how to achieve this here.



I have this theory that everything happens all at once. Maybe you’ve noticed this pattern too in your own life. Sometimes all it takes is for one thing to go wrong and suddenly other things start to come at you, one after the other, picking up speed until your life seems to have snowballed into one screw-up so giant you feel like there’s no way out.

I like to call these life moments “blips” because when you’re in the middle of one it feels like you’ve stepped into a blip in the time-space continuum; like you’re standing still and the world just keeps on moving faster around you at a pace that’s impossible to match, and you feel frozen in place because you just cannot believe that all of this is happening to you all at once.

I experienced a blip recently about six weeks before Christmas so if the above sounds familiar to you, please know you’re not alone, because I’ve been there. I won’t get personal, but a bunch of things happened in my life in such rapid succession it made me feel as if I had run face-first into a brick wall. The sensation of being stuck is difficult to handle; it’s a nightmare for control freaks like me whose self-worth rides on the amount of things that can be accomplished in one day.

As someone who blogs about trying to find balance in all the busy-ness that life throws our way, it may surprise you to read that I still quite haven’t figured it out myself. I’m not here as a teacher, and I don’t want to come across as flawless because I’ve been there before, time and again: I’ve worked too hard, stayed up too late, blew people off, flaked out on deadlines and far too frequently worked myself to the point of exhaustion, sometimes teetering on the verge of burnout.

Even so, balance is something I strive to learn more about because I think it’s a process more than it is a destination, and true balance is about finding the ability to ride the current of life while managing to keep your head above water. There will be waves, yes, but there will also be moments of calm. Sometimes we’ll be able to surf those crests with grace; other times, we lose our footing and that “blip” in time is enough to make us fall under and temporarily lose ourselves.

But somehow, somehow, we humans always seem to have the incredible knack of finding our way back to shore, no matter what life throws at us. We adjust our footing, learn from our mistakes. We try again. We ride that wave.

For me, blogging about balance is a collaborative effort. It involves sharing and learning from our struggles, encouraging each other when motivation or inspiration strikes, and showing patience and understanding when the drive isn’t there, or it all gets too much to handle. Reading and researching ways to find balance, and imparting some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my own experiences is a way that I hope to contribute to the ongoing conversation that’s happening now about why we’re running this rat race to begin with. It’s a conversation that I hope to continue to have with you all in the upcoming year, and I hope you lend your voice to it as well. Achieving balance means something different to every person, and sharing our stories gives us the opportunity to learn from each other and create our own definitions of a balanced life.

There will be blips. We all have them. And when you do, we’ll all be there for you, myself included.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and balanced 2017 to you all. May your year be blip-free.

KBwB-BFlower-50In case I didn’t stress it enough above, I am not perfect- I’m still learning every day new ways to treat myself better and achieve a happier, healthier lifestyles. What are some of the solutions that have helped you? I’d love if you dropped me a line or commented below and let me know. We can all benefit from each others knowledge!

I’m still catching up with all of my comments and emails, so please be patient with me as I try to get back to you. I love reading each and every one of your messages and I hope they never stop arriving!

I hope to share even more about my struggles (and successes!) in my quest to find balance in my own life. In the meantime, click here for some of my previous thoughts. Part of achieving that balance, in my belief, is trying to maintain an organized and productive lifestyle. I’ve got lots of thoughts on that too, here and here.

Beat that Burnout

KBB_batteriesSome recent medical issues of mine caused me to rethink a lot of the way I work and how I handle stress. In other words, I needed to recharge my batteries.

In a world where we seem to judge each other in terms of the hours we put into a project, I think we’ve created a work culture that promotes working longer hours for fewer, less rewarding outcomes. As a society we’re stressed out, less focused and worst of all, less satisfied. At least, I know I was. This leads to what I like to call burnout.

The problem with living in that kind of work culture is that we self-perpetuate the myth that if we just work longer and harder we’ll be more rewarded. What exactly are we awarding ourselves with if we’re tired and stressed out all the time? When did money and job titles becoming more important than sleeping? Sitting down to a meal with your family? Getting exercise?

Obviously, feeling burned out is sometimes unavoidable- major life events, seasonal extracurricular and work activities, personal crises – these are natural occurrences in the ebb and flow of life. It’s still okay to feel inadequate, or ill-equipped during these experiences. What’s most important is taking care of yourself, and harnessing the help of others around you during this time.

One of the solutions I have discovered that has been one of the most surprisingly beneficial to my own issues has been communication. No one should have to suffer alone. You’d be amazed to discover how many people are willing to offer their help or support during your time of difficulty. At the very least they are better able to understand your absence, lack of focus, or your appearance of disinterest. Professionally speaking, you may want to share this information with a select few at your workplace depending on the nature of your issue.

If you protect yourself by seeking the help you need early enough, you may be able to delegate certain projects to co-workers, or delay certain deadlines. Sympathetic bosses may offer opportunities for cut-backs or short-cuts. Take these when are you are able. Your responsibility at this time should be to yourself.

Personally speaking, learn when to say no to social commitments and be select about the personal projects you take on. Give your time and attention to the things that are of immediate priority- personal hygiene, adequate sleep, eating nutritionally, getting enough exercise and giving yourself the mental space to breathe and recuperate. You may want to check in with your doctor at this time to make sure there are no medical issues that could contribute to your stress, or level of burnout. Vitamin deficiencies, sleeping disorders or thyroid issues could all lead towards feelings of malaise. Keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water can also help, as well as taking a multi-vitamin if your diet requires.

Type A people like myself will argue that they are superhuman and can do anything; most of us can if we put our minds to it. But our first responsibility is to ourselves, and to our own personal well-being. Learning how manage that in a crisis is the first step to empowering ourselves to work smarter instead of harder, and enjoying the benefits of a happy and fulfilling life, no matter what the world throws at us.

KBwB-BFlower-50What’s your best advice on dealing with a crisis? Is there something that’s worked for you in the past? Sharing is caring and I’d love for you to share yours below, or with me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com so that I might share them in a future post. No one should have to suffer through a crisis alone! We’re all here to help.

If you’re looking for more ways to find some balance in your life, I’m trying to figure it all out too here.

How Do You Cope with Stress?

Lately it seems like every little thing under the sun has the capacity to stress me out. I call this feeling “the octopus” because once you start feeling anxious about one thing, those tentacles of anxiety reach out and grab anything else orbiting around your mind. Suddenly, one minor issue has turned into several and you’re no longer sure which one originally caused the churning feeling in your stomach.

In situations such as these, I have a favorite stress reliever that I usually turn to. Some of my more stressful moments have manifested themselves into these creations below. Can you guess what I like to do when I’m stressed out?


It may not be so good for the waistline, but I’ve found it to be a (relatively) healthy and productive way of dealing with my workload. The satisfaction that comes with creation is surprisingly soothing!

How do you cope with all of your stress?


When I’m not eating my own body weight in cookies, you can also find me dealing with my stress by tuning out with a good book. Read about more of my selections here or follow me on Goodreads so you can creep my virtual bookshelves. Interested in my favourite stress relief method? Choose your poison here.