January for me, is normally the time of year that I start to clear the clutter in my house in preparation for the year ahead. This year my house is in total disarray, as we are having to replace some stairs which didn’t meet building regs. My partner, when he put them in ten years ago had throat cancer so didn’t think he was going to live to sort it out, but thankfully he did. Anyway we are having to sort it out now.
So I have had to box everything up to clear the space and have decluttered some things but will start properly when the work is finished. So I have been focusing on decluttering my mind, which is handy as it is quite full at the moment and my stress levels have been up and down. Everyone has their own definition of stress but for me it kicks in is when ‘my mind becomes so full of to do’s’ and other people’s ideas of what ‘I should do with my life’, that I lose sight of what I want.
I am a ‘people pleaser’ so I have to be vigilant that I don’t get lost so mind decluttering is very important for me. I also swing from ‘over analysing’ to the pint of paralysis or go into ‘ buttoning down the hatches, feeling nothing and ‘just doing’ mode. We all have different ways of dealing with stress.
Here are three of my top tips to lose the stress and declutter the mind
Start doing morning pages. Morning pages are a tool that I picked up from Julia Cameron in the book ‘The Artists Way’. What you do is set aside half an hour very morning , get yourself and A4 book and write down whatever comes into your head.
Let every silly thought, list , feeling whatever is buzzing around in your head come up and write it down. Make sure you handwrite it,as this helps too. You don’t go back and read them, you just dump them on the page and let them go.
What I love about this process, is that its starts to get you to see what is really going on underneath all of the lists. Many a time I have been in tears by the last page as I really uncover what is underneath the mind jumble. Then you put it in the drawer, don’t read it back and when its full you start another one.
If sitting on a cushion meditating is not your thing , then try this.
Every one thinks that mindfulness is just about sitting and meditating every day. It is and that is a great way to start, but mindfulness is much more than that. It is a way of being present and observing when your brain is going off in a tangent and bringing it back to the now.
If you are completely new to Mindfulness you might find it useful to sign up to one of the many 8 week courses that are available. It teaches you the basics and sets you on the path. I do believe they are available on the NHS nowadays in some areas.
Or you can download one of the many mindfulness apps or treat yourself to the ‘Mindfulness for Dummies’ book. I love and have it in my bedside cabinet.
My favourite mindfulness tool that I practice daily is a ‘Mindful Shower’. When you get in the shower how often do you have hlf a dozen people in ther with you. I know what your thinking , bit kinky, not me but I mean metaphorically. Are you thinking about who you are meeting today, what you want to say to so and so , get the picture now. So now when you get in the shower start to be in the moment and feel the water on your skin, notice whether you are hot or cold, be there and enjoy the moment.
Take a break from Social Media, News and TV
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my social media, don’t love the news and struggle to find a great women’s magazine but I do limit it and at times take a total break from it.
Why? Because it takes away my focus from what really matters, especially when I am really stressed. I can waste housr just watching and reading things on social media rather than do something that helps me to declutter my mind and look after myself.
Just picture yourself reading social media, a magazine or watching the news, how do you feel? Does it make you feel in a positive place or a negative place? When you are connecting on Facebook are you really having that deep conversation with anyone? Is the TV looking after you or are you just zoning out.
Now I am not saying that zoning out is not always a good thing. I do it myself, there are times when an episode of Coronation Street hits the spot, but not when I am stressed. What does hit the spot is
- Nice soak in a bath of bubbles
- Curling up with a good book
- Listening to music that lifts you
- Talking to a friend
- Cooking a lush meal
- Getting creative, drawing , writing and making
I am sure you have things to add to the list. You might like to write them down and stick them on the fridge to remind you to look after yourself.
Anyway back to the madness of building new stairs for me. Let me know if you if you have other ideas for clearing the mind. I always love to learn new things
Love and Light