I had a conversation with a friend this weekend, and we discussed the struggles that come along with having such a full plate. That got me reflecting on this semester vs. last semester. I have more going on this time around, but I'm less frantic than I was during fall classes. I genuinely think it's because of the practices that I've adopted to help achieve mental clarity.
one. Brain dump.
This is one of my favorite things to do. Grab a piece of paper/journal/keyboard and have yourself a little brain dump sesh. I like to write down to-do lists, appointments, and journal entries. I write out my "why" and re-evaluate how I'm going about reaching my goals. I reconnect to the things that truly matter, rather than letting my mind wander and cling to the trivial things that don't. Brain dumps are a way to free up mental space. Just getting it all out on paper will make you breathe easier, I promise!
two. Step outside, close your eyes, and breathe.
Sometimes you don't have time to stop everything and journal it out. This is when I like to put everything down, step outside, close my eyes, and take 3-5 deep breaths. I'm talking exaggerated big inhale, big exhale breaths. Allow your mind to rest - breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity. This takes no more than 3 minutes and it is such a game changer. It really is like a mini reset/refresh button for your brain.
three. Declutter your space.
In step one I talked about decluttering your mental space, but now I'm talking about freeing your physical space of clutter. I don't know about you, but if I'm surrounded by chaos, it's really hard for me to feel mentally clear and focus on the task(s) at hand. Take a few minutes to tidy up your space. Not only will it bring about mental clarity, chances are it will also up your inspiration levels!
four. Do something for someone else.
This one seems kind of weird, I know. But if I'm really stressed out and just mentally all over the place, reaching out and helping someone who is in need helps realign my perspective a bit. It calls my attention to the fact that there are issues bigger than what I have going on/what I'm stressing about. It reminds me that there is SO much happening outside of my little work/school bubble.
five. Take a break.
Sometimes you really do just need to put everything to the side and walk away. Take a real break. Whether that looks like a 30-minute walk, reading your favorite book for 15 minutes, or a 2-week vacation...honor yourself. Understand that sometimes pushing through mental roadblocks doesn't lead to productivity, but to exhaustion and ultimately nothing good. Give your mind some time to reset and recharge, whatever that looks like for you.
What do you do to help achieve mental clarity? I've heard a lot of people benefit from stretching/yoga...I really want to get into that a bit myself!