There's no reason to get knocked off balance when plans and relationships go sideways this summer. Instead, you can nurture your own personal resiliency to face life on life's terms --- even when those terms are far from what we had in mind.
With summer fast approaching, prepare yourself for life's unexpected troubles with these five ways to clear your mind.
Go on an adventure
Step out from your daily routine of places you visit and explore the world nearby. It's easy to get stuck in a rut and never stray from the familiar.
Take an adventure near you to see your surroundings and yourself anew. It will provide you with a healthful and helpful perspective. It also helps instill a sense of wonder, wanderlust and even whimsy in a world that can, at times, seem stressful and hostile. Heading outdoors will boost your mental and physical wellbeing. When you get outside, you get dirty and that will help boost your immune system.
There are a variety of activities you can try when you head into the outdoors, but why not try something new?
It's hot out. You're hanging with your trusted friends or your SO at some body of water (hopefully a private one), so strip it down and jump in. If you want to clear your mind, clearing your body of clothing is a great start. If the thought of getting naked in front of people gives you more anxiety than mind clearing splendor, I suggest starting slowly and stripping to your skivvies first.
Ever hear of Geocaching? It's like a real life treasure hunt that you can do anytime, anywhere. Seriously! You can use the GPS on your smartphone to locate containers (the caches) of all shapes and sizes and levels of difficulty. There's usually a logbook you sign to prove you've found it, and then you replace the cache in the same place where you found it so others can enjoy the same activity. These little treasures are everywhere in the world, close to your home and thousands of miles away.
This might seem counterintuitive, but try going silent -- like, completely silent. No phone, no computer, no TV. Just you and your thoughts. Try turning out the lights, lighting some candles and focusing on your breath. You can also head out on a walk to be alone with yourself.
Remember, it's not like your mind if going to go blank. Hardly. This quiet time is about acknowledging what pops up in your brain and letting them pass. You needn't judge yourself for getting distracted and drawn in by your thoughts.
If you're finding you're getting to wrapped-up in your thoughts, try a guided mediation. There are many free ones available online.
Get your blood pumping and see how quickly your head clears. A mental health study found regular and rigorous workouts helped people to be 25 percent less likely to experience anxiety disorders in the following five years. You don't need to force yourself to go on a run or hit the gym, there are lots of fun ways to get active and break a sweat:
Yoga With various kinds and techniques, you can find a practice that's fit for you and your body type. Regardless of the kind you pick, whether it's meditative Yin, rigorous Ashtanga or intense Bikram, yoga is legit. So much so that the Sports Ministry of India has recognized yoga as a sports discipline.
Nostalgia Grab your boom box and groove to your favorite '90s jams, buy a Skip It on Amazon or eBay for some serious nostalgia and to get your heart rate up. They still make Moon Shoes for you to “Jump Around” in, and you're never too old for water balloons and super soakers!
Take a nap Section off some time in your day to grab some shuteye. It doesn't need to be much time; it's actually better if it isn't. The National Sleep Foundation says a short 20 to 30 minute nap can improve short-term alertness. This “power nap” will allow you to boost your attentiveness without making you feel blurry or fuzzy, or worse, interfering with your nighttime sleep.
A nap will allow you to literally “sleep on” whatever is causing you stress. It will help you to get some mental distance from it and revisit it after you're more rested.
Adulting is stressful, no doubt about it. Take a break from your adult world and reengage with your inner child. You can do this by playing. It isn't frivolous or a waste of time, quite the opposite. Play can help stimulate your imagination and problem-solving abilities. You can get to playing in many ways:
Even if you're sitting at your office desk, you can pull out a piece of paper and a pen and get drawing. The end result doesn't have to be pretty or look like anything. The process is what's important --- you take the time to disengage with the stressors at hand and turn your attention to a creative task. If you're feeling creatively blocked, get a coloring book and fill inside the lines. This will let your brain turn off and your mind clear.
Make a fort
Pull the cushions off the couch and the sheets off the bed --- get building a fort in your living room. Once it's built maybe do your work from inside, who needs to know you're replying to their email from under blankets on your floor?!
Close your window drapes and turn up your favorite guilty pleasure tunes. Then shake your ass and shake out your worries. Dancing has all kinds of benefits, stress relief is one of them.
This summer when life gets too hectic and stressful, acknowledge it. You don't need to pretend like it's not happening. It is and it's very real. Don't worry that you need to clear your mind once in a while; just own it. Then make and take the time to try out your favorite mind clearing activity.