Do you ever have those times when your brain feels fried? You can’t think, you can’t focus, and you can’t remember what you did two minutes ago? I get times like that when I’m working too hard, or not sleeping enough. To me, it’s a sure sign of mental stress and that means it’s time to take a step back and rest a bit.
It’s impossible to be productive, happy, or even remotely capable of accomplishing anything when your brain is on overdrive. It’s kind of sad that our society glamourizes busyness and that so many people are overworked, overdoing it, and overwhelmed. I don’t want to live like that, and I’d be willing to bet you don’t want to live like that either.
So, in the interests of relieving mental stress and slowing down to enjoy your life, here are 3 tips you can use when you’re feeling like you need a mental break.
Move your body
Sitting still is not good for the brain. When you’re starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed, get up and move your body a bit. You don’t have to go to the give and get all hard-core weightlifter. Just do something you love to do.
- Go for a walk or a jog.
- Get out on the water and go for a paddle
- Do some yoga
- Dance around the house for 10 or 15 minutes
- Play catch with your kids
These are just a few things you can do to get some exercise and relieve a little mental stress at the same time.
The tip here is to do something you enjoy, but focus on pushing yourself a little. For example, if you’re out walking and you start feeling tired, push yourself to go one more block before turning around and heading for home. When you push yourself in this manner it helps you focus on your body and your mind, instead of letting your other thoughts take over.
Get something done
And no, I don’t mean cross something off your to do list! You’re supposed to be taking a break.
The tip here is to focus on something positive to give your brain a break from thinking about work. Try something new that you’ve been wanting to do and work at it for a while.
When you’re focused on something positive, it’s easier to relax. And when you accomplish it, you’ll feel more empowered. And in that wonderful way that circles work, when you feel empowered, you’ll also feel less stressed.
Build a new positive habit
Bad habits are not only hard on your brain, they’re hard to break. One way you can get around that is to focus on creating a new positive habit that changes your brain, and eventually pushes the bad habit out of the way.
For example, you can focus on waking up earlier in the morning and starting your day before the rest of the world. Set your alarm a little earlier every day until it’s habit. Use that extra time to meditate, to breathe deeply, to stretch, or to enjoy the quiet before the storm. Build a mindful morning routine that starts your day off on a positive note.
This is the kind of healthy habit that changes the way your brain is wired so you’re calmer and more relaxed. It’s not a big change or a major habit to introduce, but it’s an effective one that makes a big difference.
Changing the way your brain feels is not always easy, but it is always possible.
Sometimes you just need a break. When you’re being mindful, it’s easier to listen to your body and hear what it’s trying to tell you based on how you’re feeling. When you pay attention to how you react in stressful situations, and how you’re functioning in general, you will know when you need to take a step back and reset your brain.
Your body will tell you what you need to know if you pay attention to it. Listen, be mindful, and you can relieve mental stress and make positive changes in your life that will help you be more creative and productive in the long run.