There’s a LOT going on in my mind these days. At any given moment, my brain is doing a juggling act of two or more thoughts. Do the kids have enough clothes for summer? Which chore is most important today? How am I going to accomplish everything I need to do for the birthday party by Friday? Have the kids had enough fruits and vegetables today?
And that’s just one moment in time!
There’s wife stuff, work stuff, house stuff, kid stuff, doctor stuff, dog stuff, all kinds of stuff going on up there in my mind. Sometimes, it’s just a lot and I find myself needing a way to just decompress.
While self-care is important and definitely should not be overlooked, there are ways other than bubble baths and a glass of wine to give yourself a mental break. We need to take care of our minds just as much as we take care of the rest of our physical well-being.
We all have to find that thing we do that gives us a mental break. It may actually still involve a chore or a task but one that we enjoy. One thing I’ve learned over the years, if something requires my undivided attention, it actually helps me relax. Because then my mind can’t wander!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to mind my mind or to de-stress. I also borrowed a few ideas from a friend. If you find yourself needing a moment to decompress, try one of these out. Or think of something that you enjoy doing that requires focused attention. And while you’re at it, maybe go ahead and have a glass of wine, too!
In our house, my husband does a lot of our cooking. But I try as my schedule allows to cook some of our meals. My favorite meals to make involve dicing vegetables. My mind is so focused on peeling, cutting, dicing and then sautéing these lovely morsels of food that I’m not thinking about who has what appointment this week. I’m still working but the satisfaction and relaxation I get really help me give my mind a break.
This one I have to be careful with. I like to use my Cricut to create stuff. But if I find myself needing to finish something by a deadline, I get stressed. But pulling out my machine and making something just for fun really focuses my thoughts onto the task at hand and allows me to get my creative juices flowing. Other creative ideas are coloring or painting. This is especially good to do with the kiddos. They love spending time with mom, and mom focuses on staying in the lines and both, are feeling a bit more relaxed and happy at the end.
Getting out of the house
Take the long way home. Take a walk. Take the kids to a park. While these don’t always keep my mind from multitasking, it does help in one big way – I can’t actually DO anything that needs done at the house. While that may seem counterproductive, it does actually help. I’m not as stressed seeing the messes right there in front of me, so I can focus on the scenery, the kids or whatever it is I’m doing instead of the house stuff. Trust me, the house stuff will always be there. But for a mental break, just leave it behind for a little while.
Playing a game
I actually learned this trick in my 20s. I used to have a DS game system with a game called Brain Age. One of the games was a nighttime mode game. It was one of those simple matching puzzle games. It doesn’t require much thought but did require concentration. This really helped me to zone out and stop thinking about everything else. By doing so, it was much easier to allow myself to drift off to sleep instead of lying there for hours thinking about my to-do list!
Mowing the lawn
Put on some earbuds, choose your favorite playlist and just get into the zone. This is another one of those things that requires concentration, is accomplishing something, leaves you feeling satisfied when finished, and allows you to stop your mind from racing.
I know sometimes we dread this because it can be so much work. But having a new set of cubbies and baskets is like a kid on Christmas. I want to organize all the things. Focusing on creating order in the chaos, making things look and feel better, and finishing with a sense of pride is just one way I can help my mind feel a little better.
Talking to a professional
We all can try every trick in the book but sometimes we just can’t do it on our own. Sometimes the mental load we carry is just too large. In that case, it’s usually best to meet with a mental health professional. Sometimes just the act of sharing what’s on our mind with someone that doesn’t have an opinion in our life is enough to help ease the burden. Sometimes our minds need a little more help. And that’s ok, too.
How do you mind your mind? What’s your favorite way to de-stress?