Summer is almost here! While many people are [spring] cleaning their homes, I live in a tiny, downtown studio where the most cluttered space is my mind. Here are my top five tips on how to declutter your thoughts and get the most out of life!
1. USE YOUR CALENDARS.
The art of effectively utilizing a calendar comes down to discipline. As soon as anything is mentioned in your life that includes a specific date or time, it needs to go into your calendar with a timely reminder. I used to only use my iPhone’s calendar to check the date. Now, I utilize that calendar for EVERYTHING. It’s perfect because I have my phone with me 24/7 and I even fill out the note section of the calendar event so I don’t forget any important details. If you’re old school and prefer written reminders, a yearly planner may suit you better. I personally keep one of these at my desk for work related things that I shouldn’t take up space in my mind when I’m off the clock. Separation is important in creating a work-life balance, which I’ll definitely discuss further in a later post.
2. LEARN TO SAY, “NO!”
Yeah, organization is cool. You could actually have the next year of your life written out down to the minute and feel on top of the world. However, without the word, “no,” and being confident enough to say it to people out loud, you will likely experience burn out. Personally, I’m an introvert garnished with social anxiety so it is quite easy for me to say no to invitations. On the other hand, for those of you who are socialites, it may be a bit more difficult. “No,” is not a bad word, it is a full sentence and a choice. It doesn’t matter if you’ve said, “no,” to the same person four times in the month, if they invite you somewhere you don’t want or don’t have time to go, just say no! If it’s someone you value, appreciate, and want to keep in your life, please try to make an effort to spend time with them, otherwise… No. No, no, no, no and no.
Meditation usually works for everyone because it can be whatever you want it to be. If you’re new to meditation, check out this guide for beginners. During my meditation sessions, I like to sit in complete silence. Also, aside from setting an alarm to remind me when I need to return to reality, I don’t check my phone, I don’t play music, and the TV is off. My meditation is the first 5-10 minutes of my morning to thank God for allowing me to see another day, and to welcome silence into my mind. Lately, I’ve also been using an app called, “Headspace.” The goal of Headspace is right in the name— to create space in your head. It truly does settle my mind and prepares me for the day by pushing out stress and worry and allowing me to have space for peace. I don’t [make] time every morning for meditation, but when I do, I feel a little lighter and my mindset is positive which sets the tone for my entire day.
4. CREATE A PLAN FOR YOUR HEALTH.
When I’ve been eating badly or not regularly exercising, the guilt I personally feel takes up unnecessary space in my mind. For me, it’s important that I’m eating what I can and staying active so I can be healthy and accomplish everything I need to during the day without being exhausted.
Exercise: A clear mind means a healthy body. It’s important to take the time to give our bodies what they need on a daily basis. As I’m sure you know, exercising and clean eating makes your brain (and body as a whole) very happy. I personally hate going to the gym. Hate. For me, working out means fitness classes, a personal trainer, exercise apps and YouTube videos. There are always deals on Groupon and Eventbrite for different fitness classes, YouTube is free and so is my favorite Nike Training Club app. Create a workout plan in your calendar (see tip #1) and stick to it. Pro tip: When you have a workout buddy, you’re more likely to stick to a schedule. Just make sure your partner is as dedicated to their goals as you are to yours.
Clean Eating: Treat every meal as an opportunity to fuel, nourish and love your body. This means eating fresh and clean while getting the nutrients that your body needs. My favorite dietitians/food bloggers, Wendy and Jess of Food Heaven Made Easy will tell you exactly which foods have been found to nurture the brain and keep you focused. Similar to your work out plan, keep track of your meals so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body each day and make the changes that you need to as time goes on.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY.
You know how your mood can change while listening to a certain genre of music or while watching a certain movie? The people you surround yourself with have a similar effect. It’s impossible to be happy and positive 100% of the time because…… life. However, I do my best to see the bright side for myself and others. I know who the negative people are in my life and I distance myself from them accordingly. This is not to say that I will not stand by the side of a family member or friend going through a hard time; I’m talking about the people who complain about the sky being too blue and water being too wet. If you’re able to have a conversation with the negative person in your life to encourage them to bring more light into their minds, that’s great, or if you’re the negative person, before you say that negative thing, think of something kind or positive you can say as well. It’s amazing how much control we have over our thoughts when we put in the effort.
6. REALIZE WHEN SELF-HELP IS NOT ENOUGH.
I personally suffer from anxiety, which I’ve had since I was a child, but didn’t address until I was in my twenties. I realized as an adult that my thoughts and worries were keeping me from doing and saying things that I wanted and sometimes needed to say, essentially stopping me from living my life. I did research on my own and ended up seeing a therapist to help me further. Once equipped with the tools to manage my thoughts, they became habits and life got a lot easier. There’s a certain level of self-awareness I had to achieve before knowing when something was normal and when it was not, this level is apparent to people at different times in their life depending on many different factors. Nonetheless, it’s better to know than to not know at all and I encourage everyone to do their research and talk to someone if they feel it’s necessary.
Let me know if any of these tips help you, or if you have any other tips to organize your mind!