Tips To Calm Your Busy Mind
Many of us juggle different roles and even try to be everything to everyone. You might be a 9-to-5er trying to grow a business on the side, a full-time student who's working multiple jobs, or a parent who balances a working life with the demands of raising a child.
The moment you get out of bed, your mind's already at full speed trying to catch up with your long list of to-do's. You've got errands and a household to run, relationships to nurture, and a job you'd love to be good at.
No wonder it's all too easy to fall into the "busy brain" syndrome, where you're constantly engaged in mental chatter and you just feel overwhelmed with the amount of information you're exposed to.
I'm no different. While I work on my doctorate thesis, I also do chores, teach part-time, and grow a blog all while trying to remain a social human being.
And being constant only the computer doesn't make it any better. As a blogger and a modern-day researcher, working online becomes second nature and something I can't do without.
While I feel lucky to be doing what I love, I certainly don't feel like my constant exposure to information is helping. You see, I almost always end up with two half-written posts on any given writing session, or with 20 open tabs because every freaking thing that turns up in my journal search is relevant. It’s exhausting.
That's why I decided to do something about it and tweak some of my habits so I can calm down this busy brain of mine. It's always been a challenge, and I have to make that decision to create some extra space in my day to be still and be okay when moments of silence and nothingness present themselves.
Here are some tricks that have been working for me to curb brain overload.
Set your priorities and accept the reality of Your Limitations.
If you allow yourself to be consumed by each and every idea, project, or task in your life, you'll be on your way to burnout in no time.One way you can avoid this is to clearly define your roles and priorities and accept the reality of your limitations.
I'll give you my case as an example. My four biggest priorities include being a Ph.D. student, a part-time teacher, a blogger, and a social human being.
While growing my blog has always been my favourite past-time, and I wouldn't mind doing it all day for the rest of my life, I know that being healthy and not losing my Ph.D. scholarship should come front and center at this moment.
As soon as I learned to be okay with the fact that I can't take on blogging full time, I stopped obsessing over it.
schedule your time blocks.
Now that you've established your life's priority areas, it's time to schedule your time blocks. Basically, time blocking is showing up regularly to do a task at a certain time each day. I see time blocks to be a particularly effective strategy to stop obsessing on a project, however tempting it is.
In my case, as much as I love blogging and growing it, I have the tendency to get consumed by it and work all day long. So I need to set a schedule for this together with my other priorities to make sure I'm spending time and energy on every important aspect of my life.
I structure my weekday mornings for Ph.D work., afternoons for my part-time teaching job, and nights for me-time.
I try to start the day slow (around 9 or 10am because I'm a night owl!) with a cup of coffee and some breakfast.
Then I sit on my computer around 11 AM for thesis writing. I try to work for two hours until 1 PM, after which I start preparing lunch.
Then I go back to work for an hour or two (or go for a siesta!) then leave for work around 430 PM to teach English.
When I get home around 9pm, I watch a movie or go out for drinks with my boyfriend. On some weekdays, I go out with friends as well.
I consider my weekends a treat for sticking to my weekday schedule, so I let myself indulge in my hobbies: blogging and travelling.
I spend my Saturdays writing blog posts and automating social media posts.
I use my Sundays to do some chores, go for a short day trip, or take a stroll around the city. I also use it to plan my week and re-evaluate my goals.
Write your ideas down and revisit them later.
Time blocking sounds great, but it's also true that great ideas can come to you at random times in the day... while having breakfast, on the loo, or even while you're in bed waiting to fall asleep.
What do you do then?
Write them down, then let them go.
Let them simmer while you find a time and place for it in your schedule. You don't always have to act on every great idea or project the very moment they come up.
Do mundane And repetitive activities.
When I catch myself obsessing over a thought, or working on a project longer than I should be, I stand up and wash the dishes. I detach myself from what I need to and just focus on the cold, running water on my skin and taking out all those spots on the plate. It’s a great way to disconnect and quiet down the noise in my head.
Other great ideas include coloring in a book, doodling, and folding your laundry.
Speaking of coloring books, something that I would guiltlessly color for hours is Moose Allain's Fill-Me-In. What a cutie! It's definitely on my wish list.
Get close to nature.
You'll see this in every article out there about reducing stress, but I'll say it again. Whether the ocean waves calm you, or you feel peaceful around mountains, get out of your way whenever you can to go on a nature trip.
It's also true that not all of us have the luxury of living close to nature. In that case, head over to the park, take a leisurely walk, and even feel the grass under your toes. Your soul will thank you for it.
You can also bring a nature closer to you by adding greenery in your home. Adding succulents is always a good idea, as they look clean and modern and don't need a lot of space and attention to thrive.
Air plants are also growing in popularity these days. You can whip up a quick project by getting a hold of this pretty and rustic terrarium, adding in a tillandsia or two, and voila! Instant pick-me-upper!
Check out my other post on how to add life in your home using chic and space-saving pieces.
Schedule your social media and email use.
I'm totally guilty of reaching for my phone to check my email and FB notifications whenever I'm bored. Sometimes that helps me destress and keeps myself entertained, but most of the time it just sends my brain into overdrive.
Watching funny videos and taking silly quizzes might be your idea of fun and relaxation, but we can't let it take up most of our day, either.
Try keeping a twice-a-day social media schedule. Keep your phone charging overnight on the opposite side of the bedroom so you won't be tempted to check it while in bed. Turn off the notifications on your phone.
Also, don't set up automatic email push and schedule a 30-minute email time in the morning and in the afternoon on your computer/laptop. Not only will this save you some precious memory space, but it will also encourage you to stop obsessing over your emails.
Do you have a busy mind? How do you cope with it? Would love your two cents in the comments section below.
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