17 December 2020

Self Care Practices For The Mind

What's your biggest challenge when it comes to self-care? For me, it's always been embracing self-care practices for the mind. 

Caring for your body is much easier than caring for your mind and spirit. We often avoid facing our feeling and emotions, but why?

Facing our feelings and emotions can feel very uncomfortable, even intimidating at times. We simply don't want to deal with some of the things we feel. I know that I don't always love being alone with my thoughts and feelings, and in the past I'd often get lost in distractions to simply avoid facing them.

Getting lost in distraction isn't all that hard to do. Our days are filled with noise, deadlines, chores and just trying to keep up. We often overcommit, sometimes refusing to let things go.

Keeping our emotions and thoughts bottles up is a defense mechanism but sooner or later, they always end up pouring out.

One of my life goals is to always find myself back in a place of peace and clarity. To do that, I regularly revisit some of these self-care practices for the mind. These have helped me in the past and continue to help me achieve a place of peace and clarity.

Journaling & Brain Dumping: Ever feel like you have too much on your mind and wish you had a way of cleaning out all that mental clutter? Well, this is how I do it. I use journaling and brain dumping as a self-care practice for the mind as both help me identify my emotions, stressors and gain clarity. I simply see brain dumping as a way to clear mental energy.

I will start with literally writing everything down that's on my mind. Everything and anything that pops into my head. I'll then organize everything into separate categories such as 'work', 'university', 'personal' and 'home'. The next step is to them review and process each list and create a plan, schedule and to-do list.

A Mental Cleanse: The idea of a mental cleanse or a 'detox' is the same as cleansing or detoxing your body. It's about getting rid of and eliminating certain 'bad' things. Things like limiting beliefs, negative emotions and habits that do not serve you. The thing is that when it comes to a mental cleanse, you do have to put in a little effort. It's like your lifestyle and the foods you eat can either fuel or limit your body, feeding your mind with positive thoughts and engaging in good habits and keeping it health is just as important. A mental cleanse might include;

  • A brain dump session, which will help you get rid of that mental clutter.
  • Shifting your focus to things that you can control.
  • Setting up healthy boundaries to protect your energy.
  • Allowing yourself to feel the emotions you experience and embrace stillness.

Cleansing your mind is not just about embracing the good, it's also about allowing yourself to feel the 'bad' and realizing that your negative thoughts have their purpose too.

Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Life: Mindfulness is all about being aware of the present moment. It's a great self-care practice for the mind as it's been linked to lower levels of stress, anxiety and fear. Your brain often tells you to focus on other things around you. It's then your job to gently bring it back to what's important, to pay attention to what matters. Being mindful means to not judge negative thoughts that cross your mind. Instead, allow yourself to feel them and release them without judgement. Bringing more mindfulness into your life helps with practicing compassion, kindness and acceptance. One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is when you are doing those very simple tasks and chores you already do everyday. The more your practice, the easier it becomes.

A Mental Health Day: Okay, so we can't always afford to take an entire day off. But, perhaps you can take a few hours a week and spend that time practicing some self-care for your mind. Mediating, journaling, reading, or simply sitting in a park. Whatever you choose to do, remember to turn off your phone and disconnect for the world once in awhile.

Digital Detox: How often do you turn off your phone? How many tabs to you currently have opened in Safari? I think it's safe to say that many of use have become very attached to our digital tools. While digital technology was meant to improve productivity and save us time, it often does quite the opposite. It can provide a lot of distraction and noise, making it very easy for us to waste time. You can't be truly still or present in the moment if you constantly reach for your phone to check notifications. Spending an entire day without your phone, computer, tablet or TV might seem impossible, so start by doing just a one-hour digital detox. Think of some of the things that you love doing, that doesn't involve technology.

Find Ways To Learn & Challenge Yourself: Finding ways to learn new things and challenging yourself is an important aspect of self-growth. I also see it as a self-care practice for the mind. Whether it's doing something creative, rediscovering an old talent or learning a new word every day - there are countless ways to set small challenges for yourself. Doing this can help you find more confidence, overcome fear or maybe even discover a new talent or a hobby.

Make Time For Stillness: As someone with terrible anxiety, stillness is an important part of my day. When you feel anxious about something or when you have a lot on your mind, being still and silent can be very intimidating. We don't always like being alone with our thoughts and feelings. We look for distractions, we keep ourselves busy, pushing some of those thoughts and emotions away. However, once we get over that fear and fully embrace the stillness, it will help you find peace and clarity. It's still something I struggle with but one of the best ways I've found to embrace stillness and restore that mental balance is through meditation. It's also one of my favourite self-care practices for the mind. There are so many different kinds of mediation, that you're bound to find something you like.

The best way to avoid burnout is to know when to take a little break. Better yet, don't wait until you feel like you need to take a break and make these self care practices for the mind apart of your regular routine. Caring for you mind is just as important as caring for your body.

B x

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