I have a busy mind, I’m more a “do-er” than anything else. My mind is always coming up with to-do lists, planning out my days and week and thinking of ways I can improve this or that. I used to cringe at the idea of slowing down and “just being present” but since I’ve learned to slow down more I find myself craving it. For someone with a busy mind slowing down can be scary and uncomfortable. But when you actually start to slow the mind and body down, calming your ever-racing thoughts, you’ll find yourself craving it too. When I’m feeling off, stressed or overwhelmed this is my checklist that I go through to help my busy mind take it back a notch and recharge. I ask myself the following 4 questions:
- Sun: Am I getting enough sun? This one tends to really resonate with my clients because often most people are not getting enough sun. We spend all day in our offices or homes and not being exposed to any sunlight. Spend time every morning sitting on your balcony or being outside to get sunlight exposure for just 10 minutes. Go for a walk, ditch the sunglasses when you can and get the sunlight your body craves. This makes a huge difference in your mood, energy levels and also is a must if you want to improve your sleep. The sunlight exposure stops melatonin production and cues the body it’s time to be awake. It’s (almost) better than a cup of coffee. Try morning sun exposure every day for 7 days and you’ll notice a difference. It’s free, easy to do and so good your emotional well being!
- Self-Care: Am I doing one thing a week on my self-care list? Don’t have a self-care list? Create one. Common things to do for your own self-care include leisurely walking in nature, taking a hot bath, mediation, journaling, restorative yoga, watching a comedy, lunch with a friend, gardening, etc. Play around with it your list and see what makes you feel good and recharged. There is no right or wrong answer for self-care. Somedays my self-care is laying on my couch binge watching a show, other days its walking with my dog. It depends on what I need in the moment. But make sure you scheduled at least 1 self-care activity a week and do it guilt-free.
- Thoughts: Where are my thoughts? Notice your self-talk. Are you imagining worse case scenarios or feeling guilty for something you said or did? Your thoughts will quickly change your mood and behaviors without you even realizing it. Take time to notice your thoughts and replace ones that don’t serve you. Your thoughts are so powerful and have such a major impact on your day to day life. Set time aside to notice what your thoughts are saying. Seeing a therapist who using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very powerful in changing your thought patterns.
- Downtime: How am I spending my down time? Sometimes I’ve asked myself this question and realize I’ve had no downtime, so start by creating some. Other times you might realize you spend the 20 minutes of downtime you had on your phone, on social media or doing something that drains you instead of recharging your battery. Be more deliberate with your downtime (even lunch breaks) to find ways to take recharge throughout the day. My 10 minute downtime might be watching a motivation youtube video, drinking a hot cut of tea or calling a family member. There thing recharge me, where constantly scrolling through social media does not. My busy mind needs downtime to actually be downtime and not just busy work.
A busy mind needs special tending to but with practice you can learn how to use your busy mind as a strength instead of something that overwhelms you and causes anxiety. Go through these 4 things next time you are feeling run down and need a boost. You’ll be surprised how the simplest task can produce massive results. And let me know. What helps your busy mind?
Danielle Swimm, LCPC: Danielle is a licesned counselor who specializes in treating eating disorders. Her holistic approach to treatment pulls from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness techniques. She has a passion for helping others overcome anxiety and obsessive food and body thoughts. She offers psychotherapy at her office in Annapolis. Click here to schedule an appointment today,