This year’s National Simplify Your Life Week is happening from August 7 through August 13. Read on to discover my tips for maximizing your self-care approach.
Unclutter Your Mind
Mental and physical health are always linked.
Focusing on your mental health is critical to improving your overall well-being. Learning to “unclutter your mind” is the first step towards learning how to manage stress and find balance in your day-to-day life, no matter the circumstance.
Mental clutter is anything that comes into your mind that makes you feel overwhelmed. Common sources are negative thoughts, overthinking, and information overload.
The method I use, is to flip the thoughts with what and how is positive. My glass is half full! I work on finding the positive in each situation and focus on the thoughts intentionally. A way of retraining clearing your mind.
Mindful Movement: Exercising the Mind — and the Body
Physical activity is directly linked to better mental well-being.
Following a schedule of weekly workouts can help you declutter your thoughts and de-stress through movement. As you move, you activate your endorphins. I use my workouts to clear my mind and eliminate stress. Pilates, strength training, cycling, and walking with my dog in nature are my favorites. Check out a group class, too! I love group classes because working out with a community of of like minded people add fun and encourage laughter and bonding while sweating and suffering together!
Mindfulness and Meditation
Committing to these two practices can help you reduce your mental clutter — and help you identify it when it is beginning to accumulate.
Mindfulness refers to developing an awareness of your life and surroundings. Try starting the day with a gratitude list — write out 3 things you are grateful for. Set a timer for 30 seconds to pause and focus on the sights, sounds and smells around you.
Meditation can look like different things. Some people close their eyes and pay attention to their breath. Other people imagine shapes, while others are guided by meditation podcasts.
One of the reasons breathing practices can be so helpful is that you can engage them anytime and anywhere. Use a timer, like one on your phone, to start a 10-minute meditation in the morning and at the end of your day. Or, if a shorter time frame feels better to you, set a timer, like I do, for 10-minute meditation. Start with one to three times per day.
Focusing on the breath in meditation is like exercise for your mind. Think about your mind as a muscle — it needs to be worked out, stretched, challenged, and relaxed, just as your body does.
A combination of physically strengthening and enjoyable exercises with thoughtful mental practices of meditation and mindfulness is key to supporting your self-care.
Journaling for Emotional Release
Journaling is an interesting practice that falls somewhere between physical and mental support. The act of journaling — opening a notebook, feeling your pen and the pages, turning the pages as you write — is a tactile one. You are also activating your brain and emotional landscape, as you write.
Writing down your thoughts is one way you can understand yourself better. It is a way for you to figure out how you are feeling and to clarify your thoughts. Starting with the gratitude list I mentioned above is helpful. Then, try using these prompts to guide you towards reflection and self-expression:
- What is that state of my world today?
- What is happening in the world around me?
- What do I want to release today?
- What do I want to hold onto today?
Setting Boundaries for Mental Wellbeing
Setting boundaries in all aspects of your life, such as personal relationships and work, is super important. To get clear on your boundaries, start by making a list of your goals. Then, make a list of your daily activities and crosscheck it to your goals. Are there habits or behaviors you need to modify, or give up, so that every day you are living intentionally?
Once you are clear on your boundaries, you need to communicate them to the people close to you in your life. To be effective here, make sure you have spent the time on your lists. Talk to a friend or a therapist, if you need more support.
Setting boundaries with others and yourself can help you reduce mental clutter and improve your overall health.
That Precious Link Between Body and Mind
The more mental clutter you have, the harder it is to focus and make better decisions in your life, ones that affect you as well as those around you.
A combination of mental and physical exercise can help you achieve a more balanced life.
Experiment with some of our suggestions and let me know how incorporating them into your daily life feels. Is your mind decluttering? Are you feeling more physically centered? Let me know in the comments!