As busy Mama’s, having the ability to declutter your mind is so important. When you are constantly planning and thinking about one thing to the next, 24/7, it can play havoc on your productivity, emotions and health.
By implementing new routines, establishing new mindsets and clearing out the physical clutter in your space, you will have a new found ability to declutter your mind and concentrate on the things that matter most.
What is Mental Clutter?
Mental Clutter is caused by anything that prompts you not to think clearly. Comparatively to the physical clutter that fills your house, mental clutter is junk that litters your mind. You can organise it however way you want, but it will still be there until it is processed and discarded to free up space. It prevents clarity, and often happiness. It’s essentially a cycle of self-sabotage.
It is often easy to fall down a rabbit hole of negative thought patterns and you may feel in a fog for the rest of the day. Sometimes things can seem so overwhelming that you feel physically crippled and unable to carry on with your usual schedule.
As a self diagnosed HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and find I am highly susceptible to these hazards of over thinking. Sensory overload can cause emotional outbursts as well as an overwhelming desire to escape to a quiet room.
Mental Clutter can affect us all in various forms and some may not seem as obvious as others.
Types of Mental Clutter
It’s not just the physical clutter in your environment that can take its toll on you. Mental clutter can have many negative effects on your wellbeing. Mindsets and thought patterns that have become habits and have been established all your life can be difficult to break.
Hoarding negative concepts about yourself or the world around you can have serious effects on your wellbeing. Some negative emotions can include:
Storing negative memories and emotions is a recipe for self-destruction. Instead of thinking about the negatives of a past experience, why not think about the positives? For example, you may not have met someone in your life now who you are close to.
Let go and begin to live in the past. Make peace with your past, it can not be changed. You can only change what happens next.
Anxiety / Worry
If something within your schedule is approaching that is filling you with anxiety, then try to conquer your fears head on.
I am a total overthinker as I like to be mentally prepared for every outcome. In a way this is counterproductive. There will only be one outcome of a situations, so is there any point in thinking about the other three million possibilities? Probably not.
This is more of a mind shift that you will gradually have to learn to incorporate into your way of approaching sensitive topics.
Shame / Guilt
Similar to regrets, if there is something preventing you from moving forward that is caused by guilt and shame, try to make amends with whatever is causing your negative thought patterns. If you have wronged someone, apologise. Make a gesture to alleviate your past actions. Though the recipient may not forgive you, you have shown your apologies and will know the decision is in their hands.
A combination of past experiences may have knocked your self-confidence and you feel like a failure and that you are not worthy. If you let them, the negative voices in your head will consume you until you spiral into a puddle of self-pity and loathing.
Practice reciting self-affirmations in the bathroom mirror every morning. Change your mindset from negative to positive. You are enough.
This is a symptom of mind clutter that affects most of us. In an age where you literally have the world at your fingertips, the shear amount of information available is overwhelming.
The internet sucks you in like a black hole and creates a chain reaction of thought processes bouncing from one subject and idea to the next. When you re-emerge, you feel like you’ve awoken from a decade long coma. Where am I? What time is it? Who am I??
This type of clutter is hard to change, because it seems like a societable habit of checking your phone first thing in the morning. Break away from the norm, be weird. Leave your phone outside of your room. Remove the apps luring you back in.
Any parent can tell you that life sure is busy with a family. From school events to work and play dates, life with children is full on. Hectic schedules can be enough to drive anyone to the brink of exhaustion. Just looking at a crammed calendar is overwhelming.
How can you stop mental clutter?
Luckily, there are many ways to establish some serenity in our minds. By practicing these steps, you can begin to have crystal clear thinking once again. Start daily habits that allow you to gain some time and feel more energetic to take life by the balls!
The first thing I do when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed is clean and organise my physical space. That feeling when you have a spring clean and clear out is the best! I had one recently after selling at a carboot sale coincided with my son outgrowing his highchair and some more clothing. (Bye bye clutter!)
A clean and clear space instantly reflects back to your mental state. Even if you just have to put things out of vision short-term, it can drastically improve your productivity and prevent you feeling crippled by stuff.
Simplify Your Schedule
Your schedule is the next big thing that needs to be tamed. If you find yourself constantly busy with no rest bite, take a good look at your calendar and figure out where all of your time is going. Is there anything you can cut or combine to make your life a little easier?
If you need to run errands, combine them in one trip. This may take you slightly longer, but it will be quicker overall and your mind will feel accomplished knowing you achieved more at the end of the day. Take a look at some of the other tips to simplify your life for more inspiration.
Decluttering your devices from redundant files and apps can help your mind tremendously. In a time where increasingly everything is moving to digital sources, it’s just as important to keep important files organised and safe from cyber threats.
Restricting time spent on social media is one thing that has really changed my productivity levels, as well as my mental health. The curse of comparing your life to others used to be limited to your next door neighbour, but now we are constantly examining how others are living, without even really knowing if there is any truth to the self-indulgent selfies. By scheduling short periods to check social media sites during down time, it will limit your exposure to this plague and allow you to really get on with more important tasks by removing distractions.
Sources of pointless information are everywhere online, and many small nuggets of information can lay dormant in your mind throughout the day, distracting your mind from more worthy projects and tasks. Do you really need to know how many elastic bands it takes for a watermelon to explode? Will this bring any purpose to your already busy life? Probably not.
When you value your time, give each minute a task and know it is being spent wisely. It is the most valuable commodity of all, afterall.
It’s no secret that our diet has such a huge affect on the way we think. Eating healthily plays an important role in nourishing a positive mindset – You are what you eat, after all. Think about and even track what you are consuming on a daily basis. Note any important events and feelings you may have had throughout. You may find a pattern that you can adjust and experiment with to see if it alters how your days unfold.
The best mood boosting foods are those rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables and proteins. Dark chocolate is an excellent source for serotonin, stimulating the production of endorphins. You need no better excuse to reach for another square!
I find it really useful to have a pen and paper beside my bed. Just before I go to sleep, I write a list of everything I need to do for the next day ahead. It might even be beneficial to prioritise them by number, to allow you to crack on in the morning without hesitation. It’s even handy for any ideas or other random thoughts floating around in your mind that you don’t want to forget. This will allow you to rest easier and remove the anxiety of possibly forgetting an event or missing a deadline.
Develop a Positive Mindset
As an INFJ, I have a habit of over analysing everything and combined with my highly sensitive disposure, it’s tricky to keep positive at times. But it is so important and by incorporating some of these practices into your daily life can change this massively.
There are so many benefits to meditation, many of them are listed in this article.
Meditation can bring you clarity and a chance to process thoughts more effectively. It allows you to hold more information and focus on your goals with clearer direction.
It allows you to manage your emotions more effectively, de-stress and clear your mind of clutter. A simple exercise every morning can change your thought patterns and clear your mind of clutter to focus on the day ahead with a more relaxed state of mind.
Begin a journal which you can reflect upon every day. List things like:
- Ideas and Inspiration
These things will allow you to review your experiences every day, celebrate the small wins and focus your attentions on the future.
If you find you are struggling, it may be a helpful process to review each day at the end of every week to try and establish a pattern in these behaviours.
Habits need to be learned. If you are in the habit of immediately thinking the worst about something, or yourself, then repeating affirmations to yourself is changing the way your mind thinks over time.
By repeating positive influential phrases, like “I am worthy, I am enough” you are telling your mind that this is a fact. When you hear it out loud, you are challenging your own negative thoughts and altering your subconscious thought process.
Let Go of the Past
Holding on to past events that have already happened will not help you to move forward. It will create resentment toward others and more often than not physically hold you back from progressing in your life.
Making peace with past decisions will remove anger and resentment. It will also make you more acceptable to change that will occur in the future, eliminating anxiety.
Ask for help / delegate
If you are feeling burnt out every day, it is can be difficult to turn it around and get on top of everything going on in your life. Quite often us parents suffer in silence and try to be superheros for our families. We take everything on, despite the detrimental effect this will no doubt have on our lives.
If you have a spouse who can handle some of the workload, then absolutely ask them to help you. You could even ask your older children to help. Learn to say no to things that won’t add value to your life, and let go of control to allow yourself some rest.
When your financial world is unstable, then it hard to think about anything else. Anxiety over the future security of your family will obviously play a huge factor in your emotional mindset.
Clearing debts and structuring your income into a budget can really help with this. Start an emergency fund to give you a cushion should unexpected financial emergencies occur.
Planning for the future and investing into your kids college funds or your own retirement can give you peace of mind and a sense of security.
Sometimes the only way to clear your mind is to sleep. Sleeping, like meditating, allows your mind to process thoughts more efficiently and turn visual images into conscious thoughts.
Remove yourself from your screens and have at least an hours break before heading to bed. They can overstimulate your mind and make it more difficult to get to sleep.
Create a habit of being in bed by 10:00pm to ensure you get enough hours of rest during the night.This is especially important if you have a young family sapping all of your energy.
Following these steps can make it easier to live a more serene lifestyle. Changing habits, learning new
Decluttering your mind is really the first and final step into embracing a more minimal and simple lifestyle. If you don’t battle the demons within yourself, you will carry on spending, hoarding, and consuming.
Take a step back and really contemplate what is worthy in your life, and simply make time for those things as a starting point. Gradually begin to incorporate other commitments, and simply step back again if you begin to feel overwhelmed at any point.