While it might not officially be time for spring cleaning just yet, we might be feeling the effects of too much clutter in our lives. And, the thing is, clutter doesn’t limit itself to our homes, our vehicles or our offices. Clutter can spread itself throughout our mind—which is something we carry with us everywhere! This additional disorganization can make everyday tasks more difficult, including the basics of keeping up with daily to-dos and maintaining healthy relationships.
Just like there are ways to clean out the junk from our living spaces, there are also ways to clean out the nooks and crannies of our minds so we can continue being productive, focused, self-care machines. Here are some types of mental clutter to clear out of your brain this season:
1. Social media distractions
Social media has given us so much: connection to friends all over the world, up-to-date news and needed laughs and awe as we work through our daily grind. But, just like most things, there is a point where it can become too much. If we sit and think about just how much social media keeps us “plugged in,” it’s easy to see how it can create some problems.
Do you have notifications for Twitter or Facebook set up on your phone or laptop? Try turning them off. Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling in your down time? Delete the app from your phone (Ahh! Scary, I know!) or install software that limits your social media time during certain periods of the day. (Honestly, there is no reason anyone should be surfing the web on the toilet, too. I mean, come on.) Do you feel like you need social media to keep certain feelings away? It might be time to face that stuff head on—perhaps even with a support person.
2. Second-guessing yourself
New years come with new resolutions. If there are certain tasks you want to accomplish in the coming weeks or months… are you holding yourself back? If you find yourself second-guessing your abilities, willingness and drive, then yeah. You are holding yourself back.
That might just be anxiety talking, but it’s worth putting a silencer on those types of thoughts so you can work toward things you want to have in your life. Sure, it might be hard and you might fail—but there is nothing wrong with failure. Be proud of the steps you take and amplify the self-talk that acknowledges your hard work.
3. Disorganized to-do tasks
If your plans are just as scattered as an untidy living room, it’s time to clean that stuff up. How can you competently tackle the things you have in front of you if they are disorganized in your own mind? Prioritize finding a way to organize those thoughts into a to-do list, a series of alarms on your phone, a calendar on your fridge, or a helpful smartphone app and stick to this skill throughout the year. Not only will your tasks likely get done, but you also won’t have to worry about forgetting something along the way.
4. Internalized criticism
None of us grow up without being exposed to some form of criticism or another. We learn how to handle these ideas and what to deem worthy of taking on as our own self-criticism and what to leave behind. But, sometimes those lines can be blurred and we end up repeating to ourselves critiques that aren’t actually helpful.
Take some time to reflect on any thought that comes up starting with “I really need to” or “I should.” Why do you need to do X, Y or Z? Will it truly be helpful to your growth as a person and the growth of those around you? Maybe… and maybe not.
If you’ve been told to not speak up when you feel taken advantage of, that’s a thought worth some extra processing. If you’ve been told you need to avoid dessert for a week, maybe examine where that message comes from and if it truly has your best interest at heart. We pick up a lot of criticism over the years—make 2017 the year you sort out what is truly healthy for you and what is just plainly, simply clutter.