Happy weekend to you. How are you doing? Have you been getting your rest? Are you in weekend vibe mode yet? Or is your brain stuck on a major problem you’ve got? Or still mentally stuck at work?
If so, you’re not alone. Early on in my clinical career, I had a hard time leaving work at work. I couldn’t let go of the clients and their problems and the need to ‘fix’ them. Other times, I worried about work and projects that needed to get done.
Now, I know that it isn’t my job to ‘fix’ people, but to guide them as they heal themselves. But as a baby therapist back then, it was normal for me. And I suffered because I intensely felt other people’s pain and couldn’t let it go. Eventually I learned to clear the junk out.
My Hack? Clear the Junk out
If you’re like me, you often get stuck in your own head. Constantly thinking of everything and chewing over things. Your free moments are eaten up by the things you did or didn’t do. Or the colossal mistakes you made. See how that can snowball out of control? One of the best hacks I’ve found to let go of those persistent and nagging work (or life thoughts) thoughts and declutter my brain was to write.
A famous writer, Julia Cameron, introduced me to this hack over 10 years ago when I started blogging. When doing research about it and asking my writer pals, I heard her name over and over again.
In her best-selling book, The Artist’s Way, Ms. Cameron recommends a morning pages ritual. Write out 3 pages in the mornings to clear out your mind and get the writing juices flowing. This hack was and is specifically for writers, but as a therapist who loves to write, I’ve recommended this often to my clients as a healing tool.
As a way to clear out stress and frustration, writing is a great option. I don’t do it everyday myself, but I write the junk out whenever I feel stuck on a decision, can’t stop being a negative Nancy or feel super stressed because I’m not the superwoman I thought I was. This hack improves my mood, outlook and helps my day run smoother.
Here are my tricks to declutter your mind and get the junk out.
Start a “Junk” file on your computer. Or use a notebook/journal if you’re old-school like me. Because it’s literally for all the junk that lives in your brain, you may want to consider making it password-protected. Or labeling it a boring title such as “Antenna types for 50-inch Mitsubishi Televisions.”
Commit to writing whenever you feel you need it. Now, Ms. Cameron was clear about the morning pages being a daily habit. But, I find that writing only when you need it is a great way to start. Writing is healing. And I love it so much that I’ve been known to clear out the junk several times a day on a bad day or not at all on a day when I’m feeling pumped! (As of this blog post – I’ve already cleared my junk once.)
Commit to writing for 5 minutes a day. If you’ve been visiting me for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the Five-Minute Rule. 5 minutes is enough time to put into yourself painlessly without taking it away from anyone else. It’s a short bit of time out off your day (because there 525,600 minutes in a year (any Rent fans out there?) that’ll motivate you. Who knows? You may find that you like this little habit so much that you’ll blow past the 5 minute mark.
Just get started. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s only about getting something on paper. Focus on the goal of getting those thoughts out of your head so you can feel better.
If you feel stuck on what to write, write exactly that. “I feel stuck. I don’t know what to write.” Keep flowing from there by writing everything you’re thinking in the moment. If you feel silly doing this, it’s okay. No one will see it (unless you allow that) and you’re not being graded on it. You’re allowed to be as silly, pissed off, happy or as dark as you like. No judgment here.
This hack has saved me from wasting time on stinking thinking. All those negative thoughts that kept me stuck and didn’t allow me to be the person I wanted to be. It has been a great tool to clear my head and declutter my mind. It allowed has allowed me to love myself better everyday.
So, if you find yourself constantly thinking about the crap at work or drama from somewhere else, I challenge you to vomit your thoughts out. Declutter your mind. Try it and see how it helps you feel more relaxed and happier.
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