I once heard that a woman’s mind is similar to an internet browser being open with a million tabs.
That sounds exactly what my head is like.
I am constantly running through a mental to-do list; groceries, tasks, things I need to do months from now, things I’ve already forgotten to do. Honestly, it’s exhausting just thinking about all that I think about.
Add to all those lists, the fact that my mind is constantly spinning around thoughts, feelings, emotions, and these dang postpartum hormones, it’s enough to go crazy.
I find myself often feeling stressed, inadequate, and lost in what I am supposed to be doing because my brain is overflowing with information and noise.
When I feel my anxiety starting to grow, I am reminded to take a step back and evaluate just what exactly is going on in my head. Which types of thoughts are consuming me? Am I fixated on something? How positive do I feel on a daily basis?
And when I realize that my brain is just too full… it’s time to do a cleanout of my mind.
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3 Ways to Clean Out Your Mind
1. Brain Dump
One of the ways I’ve been able to cope with my postpartum anxiety better is by doing a nightly and weekly brain dump of tasks. Often my anxiety leaves me with racing thoughts that leave me feeling behind and like I am a failure because I can’t get things done like I ‘should’ be. Getting all of my thoughts down on paper allows me to free up space for more positive thoughts and a sharp focus on what’s important.
I use a really simple template that follows the Franklin/Covey method of organization that not only allows me to dump out all of the tasks that I need to get done but helps me prioritize them so that the next day, I can actually attack the things that matter… not just the things that other people need me to do or that I think are priorities but are really just procrastination techniques.
Using these quadrants (drop your email below if you want to download your own copy of this sheet) I can get down all of the thoughts of tasks that I need to complete, projects I want to work on, or goals I am dreaming of.
Quadrant 1 contains all the things that are important AND urgent to complete. This could be something I have to pick up from the store for dinner the next day or a work email I have to write or respond to first thing in the morning.
Quadrant 2 is all of the things that are important but NOT urgent. Examples of what could go in this block include things like plan your child’s birthday party, make that dentist appointment for next month or work on your meal plan for next week.
Quadrant 3 includes things that are not important BUT urgent. Now I’m not saying some of these examples aren’t important to someone.. But they just might not be to you. This could be things like making those homemade cupcakes for the bake sale tomorrow (because you know you could just buy them right?) or go out of your way to pick up something a family member MUST have at the store near you.
Finally, quadrant 4 contains all those things in your mind that are not important and not really urgent at all. Let’s call these ones ‘time-fillers’ or ways you procrastinate. This could be the fact that you want to rewatch all of Grey’s Anatomy before the new season starts or rearranging your closet.
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By using this form when I do a nightly or weekly brain dump, it saves me time because, as I write things down, I can categorize them and refocus myself for the week with getting done the things that must get done and that matter!
2. Evaluate Your Circle
Another great way to start to clean out your mind is to see who you’ve been spending time with.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the people in my life a lot, but there are some who are just energy vampires.
Do you ever stop and evaluate the mood YOU are in after you talk to specific people? Are you irritated? Does spending time with them cause you to complain or gossip more? Does your productivity stop when you have certain friends stop by for a little bit?
We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, and when you notice your brain getting more full of stuff that doesn’t matter, such as gossip or negative thoughts, you should stop and see who you’ve been around.
If you primarily around people who complain a lot or always play the victim, you’ll find that to be what happens to you as well. If they are people who get stuck in other’s drama or always gossiping about what they see on social media, I bet you find your head getting clouded with the same types of thoughts. And if those people aren’t very ambitious or goal-oriented.. Well, you get the picture!
That being said, I don’t think you need to just cut people out of your life but I do think to take a “space break” is not a terrible idea. When I realize and can pinpoint which people in my circle seem to be changing my mood or mindset the most, I either take some time away from talking to them (I may even unfollow them on social media for a while) or I try to become more aware of how I am changing as a result in spending time with them.
Sometimes just a day or two is enough to get your head on straight, let you put on your positivity panties, and get moving! Other times, you may need to do a long term reevaluation of the role that person plays in your life and how you see the relationship continuing.
3. Add in some Positivity
Once you’ve emptied your mind of the clutter and negative influences, it’s time to add in some positivity.
I firmly believe that your thoughts become your belief system and when you are able to put in as much positivity as possible into your brain, all those negative thoughts don’t stand a fighting chance!
I am a HUGE believer in getting in at least 10 minutes a day of personal growth or development. This can be reading a book, listening to a podcast, or hearing someone read an audiobook! You can pick and choose what types of things you want to hear and need at the moment and dive in! Here is a list of some of my top positive mindset books for moms to get you started!
Another great way to add more positivity to your mind is to add in some positive affirmations! I have been doing this for a few months now and it really has done wonders to change my mindset!
I read one a day and repeat as needed! I have affirmations now in my planner, on my fridge, and as the lock screen of my phone! My favorite is this set of Positive Affirmations for Moms!
Anytime your brain needs a break, you feel overwhelmed, and the stress of the day to day is cluttering your thoughts, I highly recommend taking a deep breath, putting on some music to help you relax, and taking some time to clear your mind and prime it for positivity! It’s worth it to take the time to ‘slow down to speed up’ and take care of you!
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