Stress & Mind Clutter
These last few weeks, couple of months? I can’t even pinpoint it, have gotten me feeling utterly stressed and not even for one particular reason. There have been many things clouding my mind and making it hard to think. The factors of these thoughts are about my home, my job, personal life, priorities, etc. My brain has been a non-stop whirlwind of lows and highs, of motivation and laziness, and of straight out confusion and immobility of not knowing what to do next.
I’m in a place in my life where I am desperate to move out. I have always been the independent child and have been looking forward to my own place since I can remember. I recall telling my sister I wanted to move out when I was young and she thought I was crazy to want to live on my own and she is 4-years older than me. Now, she has moved out before me! How did this happen?!
Even though I have always wanted to move out, I couldn’t really explain the reasoning behind the sudden dire urge for it to happen. I think it’s been a build up of wanting it for so long that the list of reasons keeps increasing. Firstly, I am at the age where I own enough stuff to spread out into different rooms and build the foundation of a home but instead, it’s forced into a tiny space called my bedroom. This makes me feel frantic and scattered all the time, especially when I am trying to find things. Even when I am cleaning my room, I am overwhelmed because there is no where to put anything. This may seem bratty of me but it is not luxuries I am talking about, it is actually mementos of my life. I have grown up, so I’ve collected keepsakes and purchased necessities as anyone does. A way to think of it is when you are a child and you share a room with your sibling, you both grow up and have more and more belongings to the point where you need to divide into new rooms. This is what I need to do but instead of upgrading to my own room, I need to upgrade to my own place.
As I was feeling this way, I found another person who shared my epiphany. Carrie Fletcher or “ItsWayPastMyBedtime” on YouTube has been doing a mini-series for the month of October called, “Dear Autumn”. I have come to the conclusion that Carrie and I are at the same point in our lives because she speaks everything I think. This is an example of one she did about this topic:
Beautifully worded and easy to identify with. Likewise, we get through it the same way. Tea.
Besides tea, there are many other approaches to combating stress, pressures and uncertainty. I wanted to address the feeling of these because as well as having them, I have also been discovering solutions. They may be obvious or have been suggested before but these are what have been working for me. I will give you a brief of what I think can help and then explain what type of stress it is targeting. (Again, these are from my own standpoint, not made for everyone.)
1) Clean your room. I know I am being a bit contradicting when I say this after just explaining it is nearly impossible when it doesn’t have enough storage for everything. But clean anyway. Put on a playlist that will either motivate or relax you. (Usually I choose a motivational song when I am in a bit of a rush and a relaxing one if I am able to take it slow). Start with taking off your bedding and throwing it in the wash. Use sprays that leave a fresh scent like Windex on your dusty picture frames, mirrors, and other surfaces. Actually fold your laundry and put it away. Switch your bedding into the dryer. Organize your shoes. Put water bottles or magazines in your boots so they stand tall. Vacuum or sweep your floor. Take out your garbage. And in the end, your sheets will be ready to spread back on your clutter-removed bed. Now if you leave the room and re-enter it, you get the whiff of clean laundry, Windex, and a freshly vacuumed carpet. This is such a small but beneficial activity and the best thing about it? Nobody will bug you! It’s sort of meditative in the way that you zone out with productivity, your music and you can’t be bothered by the company of anyone else.
Stress from having too much on your plate and always rushing to be punctual will decrease.
2) Take a bath. I know, I know… typical. Most people will list all the bath bombs, incense, or candles that can help soothe and relax you while taking a bath, but those are not necessary. I am not against them, quite honestly, I love them but they are not essential. What is essential is calming music or complete silence. The solitude of being in a bath is oddly comforting. It’s as if the warm water is consoling you with a hug that never let’s go and you don’t need to reciprocate. Without being too cheesy, a bath seriously will cleanse your body and your mind.
Stress from being surrounded by responsibilities and people will decrease.
3) Open a window. Whether in your car on the way to work or in your bedroom. When you have a million things on your mind you get stuffy. Opening a window is a nice release of that. It doesn’t rid you of your thoughts but it pauses them while you take a breath and find a focus.
Stress from not being able to prioritize the demands in your head will decrease.
4) Cook yourself a healthy meal. I am sure you have heard quotes similar to Fat Bastard saying, “I eat because I’m unhappy and I’m unhappy because I eat.” You might be thinking this only works for people that are self conscious about their body or are identified as overweight but it’s not. Your body needs nutrients and energy and if you are feeding it temporary energy such as high-sugar foods, that energy high will burn off leading you to become tired and discouraged to do anything. Cooking a healthy meal helps for those that mentally regret eating the last snack they had and it helps give you energy which in turn, keeps you productive. In addition, if you are like me and work a desk job – you should find any excuse to stand or walk around. I sit for hours on end and even a ten minute break of chopping some vegetables and cooking some pasta is something I need to take advantage of.
Stress from guilt-eating and being exhausted with many deadlines will decrease.
5) Wake up early. There is something about the serenity of morning that helps bring a perspective to yourself. Waking up before anyone else in your home does is, in an odd way, freeing. It’s as if you are being sneaky and subtle in everything you do which internally gives us a little bit of excitement. It’s dorky and childish in a way but ultimately true. You tiptoe around like you are trying to catch Santa Clause dropping off your presents. Take this time to stay clear of electronics. Don’t check your Social Media or e-mails immediately, because that’s where the havoc begins. Take the extra time to actually make yourself a breakfast instead of grabbing a protein bar and stare out the window instead of at your screens. Maybe even sit outside to eat. (This may not be the best season for it, but that is my go-to in the Summer). Listening to the birds chirping and the wind of that one vehicle driving down your street and wondering why that person is awake so early with you. Think about things that you don’t have time to think about. Plan your outfit, plan your meals. Be productive in yourself instead of your job. Think of something that will make you better and healthier and do it. Floss your teeth, lift some weights, do some sit-ups. Make something for your family before they wake up (food, coffee, a “Have-a-good-day” note). Generally, just do something that you will feel proud of later.
Stress from not putting yourself or your friends as a priority and only thinking about work, money and chores will decrease.
Those are my top five tips for decreasing stress and mind clutter. I should take my own advice on some of them. Sometimes life throws you obstacles and exhausts you but there is always a way out of it. It’s all about perception in the end and that is something that we have the power to change at any given moment, which is a nice thought. I hope this can help if you fall into a rut or bite off more than you can chew. I would love to hear some of the ways you find to relax and fight off stress. Leave a comment with any tips you have that might be useful. Best of luck to those fighting through a cluttered mind!