Overwhelmed? Think about these 7 strategies to create your healthy mind
2020 is the year that we never need to have again but, possibly for some people, it’s been the year that has created an opportunity to reflect on how they live their lives better by getting clarity on what is truly important. I know I am definitely in that camp. I’ve taken the opportunity to start my own business which provides me with an opportunity to do the work that I really enjoy and build something that I’m truly passionate about. However, starting my own business has created excitement and fear in equal measures. Now the silly thing is that Neuroscience tells us that under fear and stress, the brain isn’t as capable of leveraging the executive thinking and decision-making which is fairly important when you run your own business and work with clients and so I’ve had to look at strategies that help me sustain a healthy mind.
I’m a huge fan of the work of The Neuroleadership Institute’s (NLI) Dr David Rock and Daniel Seigel and they’ve developed a great framework for creating and maintaining mental wellbeing. The framework, called the Healthy Mind Platter, seems really simple but spending time understanding how these levers work for me has been really powerful in unlocking both productivity and creativity, and importantly, reducing that “new business owner” exhaustion, burnout and stress. Who doesn’t want this?
NLI describes 7 cognitive activities that nurture the mind. Sleeping, focus, physical activity, downtime, connecting with others, time-in and play. Feel free to read the full article, Click here
Take some time to look at where you are spending your time across these 7 cognitive activities. Ask yourself, are you allocating the right time to the right activities.
Some of the strategies I’ve put in place include:
- Daily exercise – this doesn’t mean I’m smashing myself at the gym every day. I’m mindful of what I need given my schedule and I plan accordingly. If I know it’s going to be a relentless week – I do more yin yoga to power down. If I know I need more creativity, I’m walking at the beach in the morning.
- Sleep routine – same time to bed every night. I know this sounds a bit boring, but my sleep routine is super important for refreshing mind and body and consolidating my memory.
- Focus time – If I’m doing something that requires focus, I’m doing that first thing when my brain is fresh and I’m only focusing on that one thing. I’ve checked email and planned my day prior so that I know there isn’t anything urgent to distract me. This also applies to working towards goals – focus on them daily. PS: Multi-tasking is a total lie – it is too energy intensive for the brain.
- Time-In – is about being present or mindful. This is as much about meditation as it is about taking a walk in nature and just noticing and appreciating my surroundings. Clearing the space in my mind. I do this daily.
- Downtime – letting my mind wander. I do this at the beach, wandering in the park and playing with my dogs or standing in the shower.
- Playtime – This is an area I want to spend more time on. I like to be creative in the work I do, but sometimes just spending time experimenting with a new recipe is great or rolling in the grass with the dogs (my kids are too old to do this) is enough. How much joy comes from this!
- Social time – this is a basic human need and we are wired to want to be social. Rather than taking the easy way and texting, I’m making a conscious effort to call and chat with friends and family. I get so much more personally, instead of staring at my phone typing out a text. There is also nothing better than the distraction of laughter. Social time excludes social media – I love scrolling Instagram, but it is brain death for me.
I love learning, understanding how my brain works and I love helping others find their feet so that they can move away from feeling overwhelmed towards taking control.
If you would like some help turning lemons into lemonade please reach out for a chat.