I've been going nutty sitting in front of my computer trying to write this blog post. Between not getting all of my thoughts down and my mind taking me on 1,000 different tangents, I am in need of a mental detox to get rid of the mental clutter.
As it's the start of the new year, the internet is buzzing with excitement, hopes, and motivation. For this reason, I have been resisting a detox for fear of falling behind the pack.
But just steamrolling myself to write isn't' going to get me anywhere. I need to reboot, let go, and get clear on my intentions.
If you're feeling stuck like me, and don't want to waste your time staring at a computer or staring at the stuff you need to declutter, here are some ways you can clear mental clutter and become energized.
Signs of mental clutter
Before I list my tips on clearing out the mental clutter, I want to share the symptoms that may suggest it's time for a detox:
You can't focus.
Your to-do list is growing, but nothing is getting crossed-off.
You are distracted by the fun things- socializing, the latest podcast, airfare prices (ahhhhh so many deals right now!).
You are distracted by the mundane - cleaning your home or paying bills.
Time is ticking away either very slowly or quickly.
You have seen every new Netflix series (have you seen The End of The Fucking World? So Good!)
And the most significant and prominent clue, you feel stuck!
You are not alone! It happens to us all, but the best way to get out of the swamp of stuck is to follow these steps to complete a mental detox so you can remove the clutter preventing you from getting shit done.
A study from the University of San Diego suggests that distractions enable a fight or flight response in our brain. Every time you get a new notification on your devices or see a paper on your desk, your mind may get lost in thought. Naturally, removing any distractions around you can aid in maintaining your focus.
The actions of clearing my physical and digital space make me feel relieved. It's like taking a deep breathe of fresh air, only in my apartment.
Clear Your Desk, so it's just you and your project
Close all of those browsers and tabs you have open
Turn off notifications on your devices and keep your phone away
Research from Harvard Medical School stated that expressive writing could clear your mind, understand emotions and ultimately help you organize thoughts.
I honestly don't do enough of this, but it's scientifically proven, and it makes sense.
Every day we are inundated with images, videos, and information. There is no possible way to process this amount of data.
Plus a lot of these experiences cause an emotional reaction (what if North Korea sends a missile to the US? AHH!) But true to my nature, I keep these feelings and thoughts on the back burner.
It's incredible what we hold onto in our subconscious. If you feel like something is lingering in your head; write it out. Get a paper and a pen or open up a google document and let everything flow through you.
Don't worry about structure and try not to think so much. Allow yourself this time to be without judgment.
Once all of your feelings are out of you, read through and look for recurring themes. Perhaps you and your sister fought and it's been eating you up inside. Now that you have digested what she said, you realize you were wrong, and you are ready to reconcile.
Be In Nature.
When mental fatigue has got you down, the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggests going outside because it can restore your mental clarity.
I love going on walks and hikes. When I'm outside, I notice how much beauty there is in the world. The blue skies, the chirping birds, everything manifests into a ball of electricity charging my mind. Mental fatigue be gone!
Choose one - go outside for 10 minutes. Go for a walk around the block. Go for a hike. And if you cannot get away from your desk, look at pictures of nature.
Yes, flipping through photos of the Oregon Coast is proven to relieve stress. Need more inspiring google searches? Try Ningaloo Reef, Bay of Fires, Yeppoon, Grand Canyon, Bali Landscape. You Are Welcome!
There are countless studies, like the one from Psychology Today, that prove meditation alters brain function and improves focus.
It's true yall! Every day I give myself 10 minutes to meditate. It wasn't easy to start, but once I got into the rhythm, I felt the benefits.
Try meditating for one minute. Give yourself one minute to focus on your breathing. Let the air flow from your nose, deep into your lungs, and back out of your mouth. If thoughts run through your mind, take another deep breath and start again. Don't be hard on yourself allow your mind to relax.
Remember, meditation improves your brain function as it allows you to breathe into the uncomfortable.
Giving yourself permission to let go of the thoughts that run through your mind, creates space for more information or digestion of information.
Check in with your goals.
Like many of you, I have goals this year. But it's so incredibly easy to lose sight of the prize when I see something shiny and new to occupy my time. Did someone say Joanna & Chip released their spring collection at Target this week? Ummmmmm, hold, please.
Five minutes later.
Thank goodness I had my goals written on a post-it note next to my computer or else I would have been browsing for hours.
Static Brain research about New Year's Resolutions tells us that reaching our goals is difficult, but as long as we stay focused on our goals, it isn't impossible. All the more reason to keep these bad boys in highly visible places.
Distractions can always get us off our path. Now that you have removed the brain clutter, check-in with your goals. Remember why you want to achieve them, and review your action plan. A review of your intentions will make the final step of a mental detox much easier.
Write a to-do list.
Girl, your mind is ready to feel the ultimate delight! One of my favorites is making a to-do list.
I love a good to-do list. As a kid, I would often write a list and rewrite it in my best cursive and feel satisfied. It really hits the spot.
According to Psychology Today, to-do list allows us to break through the overwhelm of everything that is on our minds. Reducing what may seem like a never-ending story, to prioritizing the essential tasks of each day/week/month. Once a to-do list is complete, it's easy to start crossing off each project.
The best part, once the minutia is clear from our minds, it lowers anxiety and boosts creativity. To-do lists are awesome sauce for better brain function.
ActionGet your bujo, a sheet of paper or open up Asana, and list out everything you need to do. Once complete, star the three most important items. Add additional to-dos that will help in getting the important tasks complete. After you cross off these bad boys, star your next three crucial tasks, and repeat the cycle.
Holy moly do I feel invigorated!
After going through this process, the drudgery of writing this blog post ended, and I felt like it was a new day. I gave myself the time and much-needed detox from all things calling my attention.
Next time you are feeling stuck, reboot your mind with a mental detox day. Once you finish, you will feel rejuvenated and motivated.
Are you surprised by how easy it is to detox your mind? What do you have the most trouble with when it comes to your decluttering your mind?
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