As an entrepreneur, mother, and caregiving daughter, my to-do lists are never empty. I am constantly on the go. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that overworking myself isn’t beneficial to myself or those around me. I learned how to implement self-care into my day and understand the importance of taking a few deep breaths for clarity and calm or a snack break when necessary. Below are some of my favorite ways to unwind and rejuvenate my brain, I hope it can help you as much as it does for me.
Practicing mindfulness can help you stay present and focused during the day. It allows you to lend your full attention to the activity at hand instead of getting sidetracked by thinking about groceries you forgot to buy for instance, or the package you need to mail, or that interaction you had with a co-worker earlier in the day. Here are some of my mindfulness tips:
Sensations: Pay attention to your 5 senses as you go about your everyday tasks. Even if your to-do list is filled with tedious chores, pay attention to the details of each one. This simple act can help you become more aware throughout the day.
Breathing: In stressful situations, slowing your breathing can help calm your mind and bring you back to the present. When you feel overwhelmed, focus on your breath with this 4-4-4 breathing technique: breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and release for 4 counts. Repeat a few times until you feel more relaxed.
Meditation: Meditation can reduce stress by teaching you how to acknowledge the thoughts that are distracting you and how to release them.
Remember that mindfulness takes time to master. As you continue to practice this skill, staying in the present will become second nature.
Stressful days often create stressful thoughts and allowing this chaos to brew in your mind causes the distress you feel to grow. Keeping a journal can help you sort through this “mental clutter”. Researchers have found that writing down your thoughts can limit intrusive thoughts, which in turn lets cognitive functions such as memory function more smoothly. Put your thoughts on paper – it’s almost like removing them from your mind. Below are some of the journaling tips I practice:
Consistency: Set aside time to journal every day. Whether you choose to write in the morning or before bed, make journaling a daily habit.
Flow: When journaling, write down anything on your mind. Let your thoughts circulate and try not to limit yourself or cross things out. Give yourself a chance to review the day and record any recurring thoughts or difficult moments. You’ll be surprised what you discover.
Reflect: After journaling for a few weeks, consider how your thoughts have changed or if they stayed the same. Use this information as an opportunity to learn about yourself on a deeper level.
Music is more than just a source of entertainment. There are plenty of benefits that you may not even realize it does for you such as:
Improve mood, concentration, and memory.
Music can also make it easier to remain attentive and engaged. Create playlists that suit specific tasks or curate a set of songs that will help you relax.
Not getting enough rest can cause some hiccups during your day. You may feel more irritable, unable to concentrate, make decisions, or regulate your emotions. This is because a lack of sleep results in mental fatigue and emotional distress. Good quality sleep is refreshing and can help you when you’re feeling physically tired. To restore your brain, try to get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
After sitting in your office chair for hours on end, you may feel drained or groggy. Try going on a walk in nature. A change in your environment is a great way to refocus and clear your mind. Walking is extremely beneficial and can help you generate fresh ideas while also minimizing stress. Additionally, physical activity for at least 20 minutes a day not only improves cognitive function but is also important for overall health. Try to add a quick walk around the block or any other type of exercise into your daily routine.
Your surrounding space can impact your mental space. When your desk is messy, your brain might have a more difficult time focusing. Tidying up your workspace can be necessary for getting back on track, but it can also eat up a lot of time. Commit to cleaning up your work environment at the end of each day.
When you push yourself to “go, go, go” for the entire day, your brain will eventually tire out. As a result, you will find it hard to concentrate and produce meaningful work. Your brain also needs breaks here and there. Allow yourself to unfocus for short periods of time, this gives your brain a chance to rest and refresh which can boost creativity, improve memory, and sharpen critical thinking. Try some of these ways to relax:
Go for a walk.
Grab a snack.
Take a short nap.
Sketch or doodle.
Burdensome feelings can take up a lot of your energy and mind space. Talking about your problems can help you think about them more logically and release stressful tension. By discussing them with a family member or someone you trust, you can work through frustrations, gain a new perspective, and come to a solution you may not have thought about before. There are also professionals that can provide you with support. Therapists can guide you to identify thought patterns, teach you coping strategies, and detect the reasons for concentration difficulties.
There is no “restart” button for your brain, but there are many things you can do to reset it. No matter how busy your days may be, take time out for yourself. Remember, self care is an essential part of maintaining your overall well being.