I don’t like to admit it but lately I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Not continuously (I had my ups and downs) but more and more so I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with everything. It started with having to find an apartment all of a sudden because I lost the place I was in (and it was really hard to find a new one – found one now, so: yay!), then being in the final stages of finishing off my BA, the blog and several other projects I was working on.
It all got to a point where my brain was continuously bouncing from one thought to the next like a ping pong ball in my head. I couldn’t get my usual focus together. I didn’t even have the desire to write (which is highly unusual) nor was I really able to create anything I was happy with. And it drained me – physically, mentally and emotionally.
I am aware that life is unpredictable and I like it that way! Don’t get me wrong – I don’t need everything neatly planned out and structured. But once you feel like everything is slipping through your fingers before you can grab a hold of it, it starts to get frustrating at some point.
My brain was constantly racing and I got so exhausted that really all I wanted to do was sleep all day. And it wasn’t even surprising. I just had been pushing the envelope a little too much in my attempt to make ‘great things’ happen. Everyone was touting “Go for it!” and “Keep hustlin’ hard!”, and as much as I appreciate people trying to motivate others (I am guilty of this myself), it wasn’t really all that helpful in this particular situation and for someone who already is naturally ambitious.
The good news is: they didn’t have to take me to the mental ward just yet. Slowly but surely I am finding my way back into a more mindful state-of-mind. I’m feeling positive and more energized again. And that’s why I wanted to share my little foray into constructive escapism with you. Maybe it can serve as a bit of a reminder and will help you as well, if you find yourself in a similar situation.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
Personally, it’s really hard for me to shift down a gear. So, some of my friends were recommending I start meditating. I used to do it and loved it, but lately I wasn’t able to sit still. I found it incredibly difficult to just sit down and all of a sudden slow down my thoughts or even get them to STFU for a while. I decided to give it a go anyway. So, there I was. On my couch. Shifting around uncomfortably, beating myself up over not being able to meditate. Clearly that was not helping. But now I found a way to meditate: I am doing walking meditation!
The last couple days, I have been going for walks outside in nature (after all the terrible rain and flooding we had in Europe finally came to a bit of an end). And it felt amazing! Just the fact of getting up from my desk, getting ready and leaving the house already made me feel better. But then, also, the walk itself. Finally, I wasn’t reading, listening to something or talking to someone. It was just quiet around me. And honestly, how could you not feel MUCH better being outside in a beautiful environment like that?
I was literally roaming around in the woods. Surprising as it is, we actually have accessible woods directly in my neighborhood, in the middle of Salzburg City. And I’m sure you can find some quiet spot somewhere near you as well. And so I just went on a little exploration of my surroundings. I felt the soft and mossy ground, I had to watch where I was going because there where roots of trees popping out of the trails, I smelled the fresh scent of the woods, I watched the ducks and wild geese sleeping or picking on a few things in the grass . And I felt at peace. My thoughts had eventually calmed down.
In a day and age where everyone seems to constantly be running after something, it can really feel great to stop and just observe for a little while. I always felt like it was a waste of time to leave the house for an hour or two when I was THAT busy, but really it’s an investment. And an enjoyable one, too. When I came back, I felt so much more refreshed, relaxed and ready to get back to focusing on a task again. So instead of losing time, I was actually gaining it by being more productive for the remainder of the day.
It seems like a no-brainer, but once you’re stuck in the daily grind – your brain not even functioning anymore ‘cause you’re so foggy and groggy – it may not sound very appealing to you. It should be, though.
We are always flooded with some form of information that we are expected to absorb – so much so that we forget that we actually need time to process all that influx. It is only when we are able to calm our minds that we can truly start to understand and not only store away. Life is more than learning from a book or an article or some teacher. True learning comes from experiencing and understanding.
“Each time you learn something, your consciousness becomes something different, and the questions you will ask will be different; you don’t know what the next appropriate question will be when you haven’t assimilated the earlier answers.” – Dr. Ray Peat
Half the time we aren’t even learning, though. Be honest, how many times have you found yourself giggling over some funny cat picture on facebook when you actually should have been working? But anyway, procrastination would be a whole other topic to tackle…
For now I just want to leave you with this: Make yourself some air, breathe and give yourself the space you need to do the things you love. It’s really that simple. But I know very well that it’s not always that easy. Yet, it is SO worth it.
P.S. If you feel like sharing some of your own strategies to calm your mind, please do so in the comments below. It would be much appreciated!