Imagine this: you have an incredibly busy day ahead of you and it seems as though you have a million errands to run, hundreds of phone calls to make, a dozen appointments, laundry, cleaning, and cooking, but because you spread yourself so thin- you’re misplacing things like your car keys and you forget the time of your appointment and can’t seem to find that important person’s phone number and the dryer seems to be eating all your socks. Everything is in a disorganized hair pulling mess and you don’t end up getting nearly as much done as you would have liked. Sounds familiar right? And we know that if we don’t organize, compartmentalize and de-clutter, our to-do lists are bound to become overwhelming. So we set aside a time to tidy up and make sure all our loose ends are tied so that our tasks run smoothly. Well, the same goes for our body and our minds. If we don’t take the time to do a little spring-cleaning of our thoughts, things can pile up and hinder us from being mentally productive. Clearing out unnecessary emotions and taking our attention off stressful energy-draining chaos that goes on in our heads can help us feel relaxed and more positive in our day-to-day lives. Here are some ways to help clean out and feng shui your mental closet.
Analyze yourself: You may have some emotional areas in your life that need to be brought to the surface and dealt with. Keeping negative thoughts buried will only cause you to fester over them without letting you overcome them. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and begin to deal with them in a way that will help you resolve and eventually release them. Focus on the situations or feelings in your life that are throwing you off balance and no longer serving you, and coordinate a plan to rid yourself of the negativity and better the situation. Writing down the root of the unhelpful thought or situation and your plan of attack is a great way to start the process of releasing the unnecessary challenges you are facing.
Daily vacations: Give yourself thirty minutes a day to unwind and learn to enjoy spending time with yourself in your own head. Look at it like a mini-mental vacation. For the first 10-15 minutes reflect on the day you’ve had so far and the rest of the day you’re going to have, get it all out and then put it away into a mental shelf for the next 15 minutes. Do some simple breathing exercises to help calm the mind and release built-up tension, and be mindful and thankful for accomplishing what you have done so far. Allow yourself to revel the little achievements no matter how small, and most importantly relax. Picture yourself in a peaceful serene place where you are completely at ease and let yourself take pleasure in a little time off, because you deserve it. This way when you get back to your day ahead of you, you are more energized and you can tackle it with a clear head!
Reach your goals: Take two goals that are most important to you that you have been meaning to achieve and break them down into smaller tasks that you can fit into your daily life. Write them down into your daily planner or calendar and physically check them off when they are completed. Not only will you become closer to your goal everyday, but also having the ability to place a check mark next to a part of a long-term target can give you a great sense of satisfaction and motivate you to keep going.
Have fun: Concentrating our lives solely around work, to-do lists, and errands can cause us to lose our mental “oomph” and deplete us of energy emotionally and physically. Don’t forget to indulge in life’s little moments! Sing in the shower, grab a coffee with someone who makes you laugh, take time for a hobby, and do whatever makes you feel good… and do it often! Putting daily effort into doing things you enjoy will ultimately bring enjoyment into your day.
*Written by Michelle Avidon, a Clinical Psychology Graduate Student with a BA in Psychology. She mentored troubled youth at The Door in New York City and now works in Inpatient Mental Health in New Canaan, CT. *Edited by Heather Edwards, LMHC, NCC, BCC, Psychotherapist & Life Coach