So I'm on spring break, but the one issue I've had this week is that I cannot stop feeling guilty for trying to take a break! If I'm trying to relax like watching tv or napping or hanging out with family, I feel like I should be doing something more productive like writing posts, answering emails, doing Gamma Phi work, or doing homework. It sucks! I want to take a break and relax and not touch work for a while. I burn myself out at school every week without fail and I want to be able to just relax and not bother myself with everything I deal with at school.
So, this week, the things I'm trying to do to reduce all my "mind chatter" about what I "should" be doing are...
1. Choose to Distract Myself
Deliberately distract myself from whatever it is I'm thinking or worrying about, and ideally distract myself with something other than a screen, like reading or drawing or writing.
2. Write Things Down
I'm the type of person where if I think of something, I need to write it down to get it out of my head. So therefore, if I'm worrying over something, I plan on writing it down and leaving it be.
3. Schedule Me Time
Giving yourself time to just relax and do NOTHING else, especially not work, is so, so, so important. No one can bother you during this time and your phone is OFF.
4. Delay work
Also under "writing it down", I plan on writing down whatever it is I remember to do, and then plan a time that it needs to be done by, or a time that it should be done, and then schedule it for that time. One thing I've started doing is using Todoist, a to-do list app. So if I think of something that needs to be done that I don't need to do right away, I go on my phone, write it down, set a due date and close my phone and move along with my life. The next time I open Todoist on my laptop, whatever it was I thought of is right there. This is really helpful for smaller things that I think of like following up with officers in our chapter for event planning.
5. Eliminate physical clutter
For me, a cleaner space is a cleaner mind, and cleaning my space is a nice little therapy or catharsis.
6. Spend time with people you love
Enough said. Another thing I'd recommend is NOT talking to them about whatever it is that's making your mind go a mile a minute. Just enjoy their company.
7. Deep breaths
For me, three to five deep breaths can make my anxiety subside momentarily, so doing this when you feel overwhelmed by thoughts is particularly helpful.
8. Practice Empathy
This goes under distracting yourself, but for me, helping others automatically makes me feel better.
9. Take a time vacation (if possible)
This is to say, take a few hours and do things without regard to what time it is. It's best to take a weekend or a few days where you don't check clocks, you don't check phones, you don't watch tv or touch your electronics. Just do things as you feel like it (like eating, napping, sleeping, waking up) and don't force a time frame on anything. I want to try to take a half a day or so once a week, where I check no clocks and just do things without regards to time.
For me, getting my thoughts on paper and keeping track of how I'm feeling is particularly helpful. Getting out whatever it is I'm feeling onto a piece of paper and closing the book feels definitive and physical and it's a healthy way for me to feel like I'm getting the distracting thoughts out of my head.
Hope these suggestions help you the next time you feel overwhelmed by thoughts! If you have any other ideas or suggestions, comment them below!