5 Ways to Simplify your Mind before the New School Year
August 5, 2021 | Rachel Tenny, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
How can you simplify your mind? Less is really more and when it comes to your mental health. Simplifying overstimulation makes a huge difference in how you feel both about yourself and how you relate to others.
This summer I have personally focused on rest and what it means to truly rest and reset. Our brains and our bodies desperately need rest. The busier and more chaotic our lives are, the less we are actually able to be in touch with our bodies and minds. In order to connect to ourselves, we first have to slow down.
When we are overstimulated and under rested, we can’t focus on our actual needs. Here are 5 ways to simplify your mental well-being this summer.
1. Take time to actually disconnect
The pandemic has increased our phone, laptop and tablet time immensely. So many things we do require us to be connected, yet, we don’t have to be connected ALL the time. We don’t have to respond to texts or phone calls immediately. Being accessible all the time creates a false sense of urgency. Unless something is a life or death situation, you can turn your phone off for a few hours (or a day). You can delete or not login to social media apps. Be aware of what you are consuming and how much you are consuming. As humans, we aren’t meant to consume all the information all of the time. Whether it is social media or constant connect with others. Take breaks from your phone! Turn it off, you don’t owe anyone an immediate response.
2. Create a Daily Check-in with yourself
One daily check-in I love is setting aside some time to journal or use affirmations. Before I connect with anyone else during the day, I set aside time to connect with myself and journal for 5-10 minutes. Nothing wild or fancy, just checking with my emotions, my needs, and my priorities for the day. Adding in a practice of setting an affirmation of the day can be really helpful too!
Affirmations can be simple “I am” statements like these:
-I am brave
-I am capable
-I am worthy
-I am loved
-I am enough, just as I am
3. Identify your Emotions and Needs
When we ignore our emotions and needs, we often respond in ways that we aren’t proud of or avoid them for so long that they feel explosive. An easy way to begin to identify your emotions and needs is to notice those moments of distress and check in with yourself. It can be as simple as checking on 3 things: our thoughts, our feelings, and our needs.
Questions to ask:(you can write these out, process through in your head or with a friend/partner)
What am I thinking?
What thoughts are running through my head?
What am I feeling?
What emotions do I feel?
What physical sensations am I experiencing in my body?
What do I Need today?
What would feel good?
What would support my mental well-being?
4. Set Boundaries-with your time + with your relationships
One of the first ways we can practice setting boundaries is by saying “no”. FOMO can be real, we can feel the need to over extend ourselves, but when we say “no”, we can take time to do less and simply be. Before any of the roles you play in your life, you are a human being. Before I am a mom or a therapist or a friend, I am a human being.
Questions to ask yourself:
Do I want to do this?
Do I have capacity to do this?
Is it necessary to be there?
If I go/do this thing, how will I feel after?
5. Schedule Rest
If we don’t plan for rest, it often gets put on the back burner. If we aren’t intentional about taking time for self-care, it often doesn’t happen. In order to show up for the people we love and the things we care about, we first need to identify.
We plan so many things in our lives: our time to connect with others, our meals, the goals we want to achieve, but we don’t often plan to rest or take a break. I have started doing this on Sundays as I plan for the week. I will add my breaks to my calendar, because that helps me not to overstep the boundaries I set with myself.