Looking Ahead With Lauren: Regain Your Connections Even in Your Busiest Moments

being-busyWe all have many responsibilities. Many of us are parents, siblings, children, bosses or employees, friends and have a plethora of important relationships and obligations. Your iPhone or Blackberry may buzz constantly. Say you have to be plugged in all the time for work or family. You start to feel stressed because you’re so busy and so tired and you lose time for your relationships and even the most important relationship you have: the one with yourself.

It can be easy to lose track of our relationships when the busyness of the world gets in our way.

I have a friend who graduated from college last spring and joined me in the “real world”. Luckily, she landed her dream job shortly after and then started dating a wonderful guy. However, in her new busy life, she seems to have dropped off the planet. I find that if I don’t attempt to contact her, I don’t talk to her or see her anymore. Even so, at times she won’t return a call or text. Isn’t it the worst to be on the other end of a busy friend? But then I think, does she even have time for herself?

It leads me to think of this in my life. I can’t be too angry because I know I’ve been guilty. Don’t we all do this from time to time? Take our wonderful friendships for granted because the things we just have to get done get in our way?

I wish I had all the time in the world to work yet still see all my friends on a regular basis and spend lots of time with my boyfriend and still have quality time with my family. But this isn’t the reality. All we can do is take small steps to regain our connections and take care of our relationships, including the ones we have with ourselves.

1. Take a close look at your relationships. We all have many different tiers of relationships. We have our families (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) We may or may not have a significant other or spouse. We have best friends, friends and acquaintances. Some relationships are simply more important to us than others. You may have friends you don’t see often and it is exhausting to keep the relationship going. Or perhaps you have some toxic relationships. Make a list and write down all the people you have a certain relationship with. Maybe then you can determine those that you want to spend more time on and others you may want to faze out for your own mental health.

2. Stay organized. Make a second list of all of your top priorities (those things you just can’t take off your to-do list or can’t put off for later). Get a planner to keep track of your appointments, work schedule, etc.

3. Once you’re organized, regain connections. Even if you’ve been slacking on some of your relationships, put aside your pride and call them. Explain that you’ve been busy but you know it isn’t an excuse to slack on a friendship and you want to make it up to them. Next, follow through.

4. Make the effort! Even if you have to make notes to remember to call people or make plans, do it. Schedule dinners with friends the same way you would, say, a business meeting. Make it a priority.

5. When you have regained some of your relationships and scheduled your life in a way that makes sense to you, don’t forget about yourself. Plan “alone time”. You should have time to yourself every day that includes something you love, whether it is a long bubble bath, reading, watching your favorite show, etc. Turn your phone off and just relax. You’re of no use to your job or relationships if you’re so burned out and have no time to yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone in your busy life. We all have moments when we take a relationship for granted because of our work schedule or family crisis. We stress out because we don’t have time to relax and recharge ourselves. Remember, there’s always a new day to reschedule, reorganize and regain a better life.

To read more from Lauren, please visit Lauren’s Thoughts.

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