This year, I’ve learned the importance of draining my brain.
It was sobering the day earlier this year when I realized almost 100% of my day involved inputting things into my mind and next to none was dedicated to processing any of it out.
In light of that realization, it was no wonder I felt tired, overwhelmed, and irritable, no surprise I was having a worse time than usual focusing, no shocker my sleep was restless. Just like our shower drain before I bought one of those hair catchers, my mental pipe was clogged.
Can you relate?
In order to solve this problem, being the bright handy woman I am, I finally came to the conclusion I need to occasionally turn off the faucet. Stop the sensory, emotional, and social flow. Turn off the music, the audio books, the podcasts, the YouTube videos. Close out of the social apps. Put my phone on silent. Cancel some plans. Retreat to somewhere quiet and solitary, if possible, somewhere where there isn’t a constant stream of those inputs entering into my mind faster than I can sort through them.
Once the faucet is off, the next step is to drain my brain. When I do so, I can more effectively process the day, deal with my emotions, and reflect on new information I recieved. In the silence, slowly but surely, the water level drops.
Things that help me speed up the draining process, the metaphorical draino if you will:
- Sitting to think about a specific thing that’s been on my mind–much more efficient than trying to juggle processing it with everything else I’m doing.
- Going for a solo walk in silence–physically moving while I mull over a mental obstacle tends to give me the illusion I’m moving through the problem as well, which somehow fuels me to keep trying even when it seems impossible.
- Writing in a journal or recording an audio diary in a stream of consciousness, self-judgment free style–doing this before bed helps me sleep better.
- Completing chores or doing something creative without the normal background noise–many times my biggest breakthroughs are made while I do the least significant things.
- Combing through an anxiety/mental hangup I’ve been having…and not stopping until it’s untangled.
It’s amazing how much more efficiently my brain can sort things out when I stop the conveyor belt of new things coming in & how much easier it is to take in new things when I’ve allowed the old to drain away.
Some days it takes more time and conscious effort than other to keep my brain clear, so I try to be in tune with my needs and flexible with my approach. But, yeah it’s truly been a game changer in keeping my mental health in a more consistently good state.
Give it a try. 🙂