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Inside Soul-Searching

All of Us Are Busy, Right?

Aldgate East London

Life has been full on lately. I won’t bore you with the detail of all that’s going on; mainly because I’m fairly sure you’ve got the equivalent rampaging through your life at the moment.

All of us are busy, right?

Busy. It’s a word that I hate.  I’ve felt quite challenged over the last few years to scale things back a bit so that I don’t let this feeling of being ‘too busy’ take over my life. I’ve subsequently made some changes that have had a very positive impact.

What I’ve realised recently however, is that sometimes ‘busy’ isn’t actually about having a calendar that is too full. Busy can be having too much floating around in your head, a mental state that makes you feel busy even if you’re actually not. It’s a feeling of overwhelm that catches you unawares.

Sound familiar?

When your mind is too full

A couple of weeks ago, I was in London at the clinic which has been helping me learn to manage my Scoliosis. There was a lot going on at home and I felt pretty anxious about leaving home for 5 days with so many unanswered questions. I guess the best way to describe the feeling, was ‘preoccupied’.

Every day I trekked up to London on the train – Wokingham to Paddington, then the underground to the east side of town. In total, it took me two hours there and two hours back. How anyone does that journey every day of the week, I do not know.

I quickly fell into the rhythm of all the other commuters (only I was wearing gym gear and trainers, they were wearing a suit) – head phones in, laptop open, head down.

For a while this routine worked, the music in my ears distracted me from my thoughts and the work was getting done so I had less to catch up on at the weekend. I could see why everyone else just kept their heads down, not making eye contact, on a mission to be as productive as possible.

Then one evening, as I was walking back to the tube station, I decided to look up instead of down and this is what I saw…

Aldgate East London

The next evening I decided to do the same.

London Gherkin

Start to Look Up

And here’s the thing…it completely changed my mindset. I realised just how much beauty there is around, even in the midst of a bustling, intense, busy city, where the people have their heads down and everyone is intent on avoiding eye contact.

Forget the billboards (although they’re not unattractive either), look at the buildings! There really is beauty all around if you’re only willing to look up long enough to notice.

I don’t know about you but I can easily get ‘bogged down’ in my circumstances – head down, focussed on the matter in hand. I think we would all do well to look up a little more often.

I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my everyday life and it’s made such a difference. What say you?

Inside, Outside & Beyond




  • You’re so right. I often have that overwhelmed feeling, even though I’m pleased to say I’m not dealing with anything like the challenges you are. Life just becomes a series of tasks to get through and tick off. I try to make time to get away from the tasks by walking because even though I’m not doing them it gives me chance to calm down and clear my head. And I have no idea how anyone copes with four hours of travelling every day either!

    • Suzanne

      I don’t think it matters what is on your mind when it’s addled – us women have so much to juggle! I think finding what works for you to instantly feel better and breathe, is important. Walking in nature is the same for me 🙂

  • Nipa

    1. You’re making me miss London! 2. Looking up is one of the first things I do when I visit a city, especially when I see an old church, next to a glossy skyscraper, against a blue sky. It’s my version of “being in nature” to unwind. 3. I never paid attention to the beauty around me, especially the changing seasons, and our old barns and fences, until I started taking photographs. I’ve learned that if I don’t have my camera, I need to stop and take an imaginary pic instead. Have a great week! xo Nipa @fashionipa

    • Suzanne

      Yes I do normally too but for someone reason, in my own city and surroundings, I don’t! It’s amazing what new things you notice when you bother to. xx

  • Gail

    I totally get this Suzanne – I suffer from a very busy mind most days. More and more often when I go on walks with the dog now I try to ditch the headphones and just enjoy the beauty all around me. The chances in the day to properly ‘switch off’ are so limited, aren’t they? We really have to grab them when we can. x

    • Suzanne W

      Yes I ditch the headphones and even my phone some days! xx



    A relaxation tip: spend time looking at the shapes and colours and textures of clouds as they drift across the sky.

  • Kerri-Ann

    Oh gosh I agree. Sometimes you don’t need to be busy it can just be the thoughts running around in your head. I find the only way I can control my thoughts is by keeping notes and ticking off. A little checklist. Ooh yes I love to either stop and look or just look up, we miss so much when we’re rushing don’t we x

    • Suzanne W

      I’ve just written a long list this morning! You’re right that lists help when it’s all swimming around in the head. Unfortunately when it’s problems that there is no answer to, lists don’t work! It’s then that I look up 🙂

  • michelle twin mum

    I love it, looking up is so important and so fitting as a Christian, it never fails to lift me. Doesn’t Lauren Daigle have the most beautiful voice? Mich x

    • Suzanne W

      She really does. Reminds me a little of Adele – so distinctive. xx

  • Lizzie

    I love Lauren Daigle I have her album in my car and was listening just before I read this! I totally relate to having a busy mind and also feeling like I don’t have enough time to do everything. Overwhelm is real! Especially when we have so many other people to think about. They say a mum has 20 things to remember per child per day. 😱 looking up helps keep my perspective in check, it can be so easy to keep looking ahead or down and not notice the beauty in the world. Too wrapped up in our own heads. I looked up and into a tree with the sunshine filtering through, noticing the detail of the leaves and suddenly felt a peaceful joy. Thanks for sharing Suzanne xx

  • Tracey Williams

    This is such a simple thing to achieve, and I am definitely going to try this more often. I certainly have a busy mind, and just stopping and looking around us, can sometimes be just the tonic we all need. How anybody copes with 4 hours of travelling a day is crazy x

    • Suzanne W

      It really is. I just keep trying to remind myself to follow this advice! It makes such a difference. The 4 hour travelling was an absolute killer! x

  • Donna

    I love this. Thanks Suzanne, I’ll be looking up more often x

    • Suzanne W

      Yes I keep reminding myself to do the same. Sometimes we become so familiar with our surroundings that we don’t bother. Gives a totally fresh perspective. xx

  • I make a point of looking up as often as possible – the clouds, the sky, the trees, the building, the birds, the sun – it’s so beautiful up there! Much better than stomped on chewing gum, dog mess and litter!

  • Jo

    Suzanne when I was in the early stages of my cancer treatment last year a friend said to me during a particularly bleak time “look upwards not downwards, forwards not backwards” and your post has reminded me of that. When we go through tough times like you clearly are now it is sometimes difficult to look outwards and it’s the simple things that can help bring us back to ourselves. I hope that things are beginning to improve with you. Wishing you well. x

  • Enda Sheppard

    It really is amazing how different the world is when we get these little epiphanies … we hear the birdsong, smell the rain, and actually feel more alive in the world

    • Suzanne W

      It’s been an absolute lifeline for me lately. thank you for commenting 🙂

  • Joy - Pinkoddy

    Have you still managed to keep this up? I really need to do this more myself. Although the kids think I stop and look at everything too much and take loads of pics.

    • Suzanne W

      Actually yes I have. It’s much such a difference. We are all so preoccupied much of the time aren’t we?

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