In yesterdays post I ended with me having a tough nights sleep. I usually fall asleep really quick – like in minutes if not seconds. But last night I was awake for over 45 minutes. That rarely happens. What happens more often is that I wake up numerous times during the night. Or I wake up around 4.30/5am and then can’t really get back to sleep. Last night all of that happened and let me tell you it was not a pleasant morning. I was restless. I was anxious and I really couldn’t pin point what was going on. Time for clearing my mind.
Now what does clearing your mind mean anyways. Or better yet when is it necessary to clear my mind? For me it is when I have a million thoughts going 200 miles an hour. Or like storm clouds drifting by really fast. You know something is there but can’t quite get a hold of them because you already see/think the next thing. Thoughts jumping back and forth and you are not getting anywhere. Its more like a dance around the fire.
Hence making me jittery. Making me unpleasant to be around because I tend to live out my moods. Not so great when having people around. So what do I do to clear my mind. Here are my tips.
This is probably my number one go to strategy to deal with an overwhelming thought chaos. I get out a pen and paper – preferable one of my many notebooks – and start writing down everything that crosses my mind. Depending on my level of anxiousness and overwhelm I either cluster while writing or I just write. This morning I was dressed and ready 30 minutes before work started and so I go my tea and sat down and started writing. I filled 2 and half pages.
When I cluster I have different approach:
- cluster by same theme e.g. Christmas related things, work topics, household chores
- cluster by urgency often using the Eisenhower technique and sorting by urgency and importance
- cluster by time what needs to happen today, this week, this month
If you never done a brain dump you may be wondering what that really does for you. I can only tell you from experience but I am sure there are scientific studies about it too. This morning after half and hour I felt so very in control of my schedule. I dumped all those cray thoughts on paper. I cluster by theme and then added a date when things needed to be done. This gave a good overview and laid out the next steps. The added date told me not everything is due the same time. Of course I know that but sometimes you gotta see it blacken white. And seeing it all on a sheet of paper next to each other also helped. When I just add it to a calendar I keep going back and forth and write things down multiple times.
Another great effect of this strategy is, that I am really motivated to tackle that to-do list. Today managed to cross off more than I had planned. Such a good feeling.
Another good thing is to just drop everything you are doing and take a break. I know this sounds like running away from the problems. And I admit this was really really hard to learn for me. But when I feel like it is all too much and I just don’t get anything done. Everything goes wrong and I keep trying to solve the same problem over and over again I shut down the laptop. I usually take a walk. If it is really bad I take my camera and give myself permission to go out for 2+ hours to explore. Just walk, trying to observe the world around me. My camera is my tool then. I tend to focus more on my surrounding when I have that with me. Phone might work too but the temptation to check social media, see an alert or check something on the internet is huge. It’s like taking that rabbit hole with you.
I have also tried yoga. When waking up inn the morning and not feeling all balanced that is a good way to start the day. And while I know it makes me feel bette I hardly do it. I need some sort of quiet to sit/lay down and start doing the exercises. If you have a good 5-10 minute routine to do in just those moments let me know. otherwise I stick with my walks.
Downing in distraction
This is probably the easiest option but it is not very sustainable. Let everything be and start a movie, binge a Netflix show, meet friends or clean the house. Whatever you do it takes the mind of it. But and yes there is a but it will bite you in the. a** if you keep doing it too long. I can be a a queen of procrastination. And I allow those days where I just push everything to the next day. But that strategy can go wrong. I have had distrations days and the next day – the day I was planning of catching up ad ruling the world – I woke ip with a migraine. Tadaaaa. So be careful.
Nevertheless this strategy makes you feel good. And sometimes that is all it takes to get back that motivation, that clearing of mind to see straight again.
Now I would love to hear how you are coping with overwhelm. With busy days and week.s What are your strategies for clearing your mind?