Can you remember the last time you could fully unplug from your surroundings and indulge in complete relaxation?
For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month, our invitation to you is to go on a holiday with your mind (or a mind-vacation). Word of Caution: It may be tougher than you imagine.
As adults, we do anything to avoid boredom. We fear being alone with our thoughts, worries, and ruminations. Because of this, we throw ourselves into work, social activities, or any other distraction that pulls away from self-time. Think for a moment — even when we are alone, we are on our phones, or watching something, or reading.
A Mind-Vacation, means neither consuming information nor having a million thoughts on your mind. It means just allowing yourself to voluntarily be (nothing more, nothing less).
Here are some ways you can take a mental break…
- Intentional moments of daydreaming: Our minds need to reboot every once in a while to perform at optimum capacity. When we intentionally give our mind the space to just fly with no specific purpose it can solve the same purpose for our mind as when we just go for a nice party and have a really good time.
- Unplug Powerful Question: What beliefs and assumptions might be hindering you from daydreaming?
2. Using physical exercise to enter the NOW — Physical activities can be our entry point into meditation. Lap swimming or going for a run can be very cathartic for the mind as it’s repetitive and sort of mind-less. You literally have nothing else to do, but breathe, stroke, kick, breathe… and think of course. You may find yourself thinking through possibilities on your runs and swims that you otherwise would be stuck on… Suddenly the answer might just float up. Psychologists call this the “incubation effect,” a phenomenon wherein temporarily walking away from an unsolved problem can actually lead to new solutions or insights.
- Unplug Invitation: Pick one physical activity in the month of May that you would like to become regular with. Use the physical activity as a tool to walk away when feeling stuck or overworked (by your mind).
3. Be Mindful When Your Mind Is Full: Our mind is always working to replay, understand and predict events. This is why taking breaks can rejuvenate your brainpower. Become observant when you are feeling tired, groggy, or lethargic, and use that as a cue to take a break. There’s no time like the present to put your mental health first and disconnect.
- Unplug Reflection: Next time you spot your mind being full ask yourself — how does it feel in your body? What do you feel like doing in those moments and what do you actually do?