Welcome back to our Spring Cleaning Series! Today we focus on Spring Cleaning your Mind. If you missed the first part, hop over to Spring Cleaning Series: Your Closet.
Just like our closets and homes need a good cleaning, our minds need that same TLC. While mental clutter isn’t something we can see or touch, it is certainly FELT. And because the mind is the foundation of everything we do, it deserves its own focus.
Whether you have old thoughts that no longer work for you, find your mind spiraling over something a co-worker said two weeks ago, or you can’t seem to turn off at the end of the day, read on. Below is a simple yet effective checklist that will give your mind a good scrubbing and decluttering. Then, you can enjoy all the pleasures this season has to offer with a fresh and clear head.
Spring Cleaning Your Mind
A Mental Checklist
1. Get focused
Most of us are multitaskers and sometimes, it’s a necessity. While writing this I have listened to a podcast, let my toenails dry, and juggled fire (I’ll let you guess which one is untrue). But experts on productivity have found that multitasking isn’t productive! Gary Keller, author of The One Thing says “Multitasking is a lie.” We’re not getting things done simultaneously, we’re splitting our focus.
If we’re surrounded by distractions and have to constantly recalibrate, it burns up a lot of unnecessary energy. Instead, set a timer to tackle one task at a time. This will help avoid burnout and keep your mind free of distractions.
2. Set reminders
If you’re struggling with thoughts that no longer serve you – create daily reminders to help you switch mental gears. For example, I used to do a lot of worrying in the shower. I would think of worst-case scenarios and revel in all the details – not the mindset I wanted.
So I put up a note above the showerhead that said, “Good Thoughts Zone.” And guess what? It worked! While my mind didn’t change overnight, I began to catch myself in the act when I saw that note, creating a whole new awareness. See where those negative thoughts tend to creep up and hang up quotes, inspiring photos, or reminders in that space to guide your thoughts in a positive direction.
3. Create quiet time
Create quiet time for yourself every day – anywhere from five to twenty minutes. *If you think you’re too busy to stop for five minutes – you need it more than anyone.
A mental reset is not only for your mind but for your health. WebMD says that over 40 percent of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. 40 percent! Set a timer and demand this time for yourself.
You can meditate, take cleansing breaths, or just sit still. If you find meditation difficult because of racing thoughts, hop on YouTube and listen to a guided meditation. This will give your mind something to focus on while you recharge.
4. Develop healthy car habits
Do you have a commute to work? What are you listening to in the car? Make sure you’re putting yourself in a positive state to prep yourself for work (and to help you deal with traffic). Create a new playlist, find an inspiring podcast, or say affirmations to prime your day.
If you deal with high-pressure traffic, put up a photo of a loved one near the speedometer. This will remind you of what’s important and help you avoid anything that would endanger yourself – like texting while driving or speeding.
5. Break the cycle
Face unwanted thoughts that insist on occupying your mind head-on (pun intended). This will help you break the cycle of spiraling about unhealthy outcomes and for long periods of time.
For many, journaling is an incredible outlet. The act of writing down what you feel can help you understand the feelings behind the thoughts, and to possibly identify healthy solutions.
If you’re someone who needs to talk things out, find a professional outlet like a therapist or life coach. These experts are trained to help you through this.
6. Escape with a book
We all need a healthy escape from time to time. Especially for those who are in work-mode, mom-mode, or any other kind of service-mode all day long.
Escape with a book on your work break or before bed to help distract you from the day-to-day. With healthy doses, you’ll be much more productive after coming back from something you enjoy.
The key to all of this is awareness. Small steps toward awareness will create big shifts. Let us know how you’re doing by posting a comment!