When you hear the word ‘cobweb’ I bet you think of old houses, dusty light fittings and out-of-reach spiders in the corners of your room. Luckily, I am talking about the cobwebs in your mind not in your house.
Springtime is a great time of year. It’s a fantastic opportunity to think about decluttering your house, but also your mind. Some corners of our mind can be like the room in your house or flat that you have been meaning to clear out for months or sometimes years.
Our to-do list can become littered with uncompleted projects due to the cobwebs hanging off them. You might be confused or unclear about what to do next because the project isn’t clearly defined in your mind. Our minds are like a muscle; the things we learn, like a new language, fade over time unless we continue to practice them regularly. When these skills begin to fade it becomes harder to find the right words in the corners of your mind; and if you’re like me it’s typically when you need them the most. I studied French at school and I worked in France for an entire summer break, but the last time I was in France on holiday, I could barely remember how to say ‘Hello!’ – I mean Bonjour…
With that in mind, here are four tips to help you keep those pesky cobwebs away, to refocus, reorganise and exercise your mind.
1. Stay active
This might sound obvious for some, but for others it may be a new concept. All you have to do is breathe, go for a walk, go for a jog or even a bike ride. Your gran was right, you do need the fresh air to blow those cobwebs away. It makes you feel alert and ready for new challenges. Exercise releases the ‘happy hormone’ that makes you feel good and reduces stress, all these effects help your brain to operate closer to its full potential.
2. Learn something new every day
I love learning, whether reading or listening to a podcast, it’s a constant daily practice for me. When we learn something new it forces our brains to recall past knowledge and skills, it requires us to make new connections that will be used to recall information in different ways. New skills build on old skills and we store information by referencing that which we already know. However, it’s also a form of decluttering because we ‘spring clean’, sharpen our processes and this allows us to make space in our brain for even more new skills.
3. Take a break and reset
When I took five days detox from social media, I felt so relaxed and a lot less stressed. On the first day I felt like I had to check my phone constantly, I was tempted to randomly scroll down my Facebook feed for hours and check for messages. Thankfully, after the first day the urge dissipated, and the detox began. Now I use my phone only when I need it and I reward myself by spending 10 minutes on social media after I complete an important task on my to-do list. I highly recommend taking a break from social media to reset your mind. It feels great!
Learning to write my thoughts and feelings down has been life-changing for me. Whenever you feel like things are getting out of control, when you are spinning lots of plates, when you are caught in the trap of ‘busyness’ but accomplishing nothing; think about writing down your thoughts. Doing so can ease stress, it can help us process difficult emotions and ultimately it allows us to grow. Forget the laptop or iPad, all you need is a notebook and a pen. Most importantly, it’s your journal, keep it private and trust that only you will read it – by doing this you won’t be tempted to self-censor, it will be your truth.
Various, MADE magazine