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10 Surprisingly Simple Things You Can Do to Recharge Your Mind

10 Surprisingly Simple Things You Can Do to Recharge Your Mind

With the myriad of things that demand our attention in our daily lives, it is difficult to find the time to spend on keeping our minds healthy. We run our physical bodies on empty, stopping to refuel only when we can. Our minds get even less attention.

One thing we know for sure is that stress can kill us; at least it is killing our minds slowly. Results from one study examining the impact of stress on health showed that participants with the greatest stress reactions over an eight day period had the highest incidence of depression and anxiety 10 years later! So what we do now does matter for our long-term wellness. Keeping your mind healthy and running well is one of the keys to optimal health and well-being. I must admit that we are all pretty close to losing it sometimes and sometimes only self-care can help to redirect us.

Here are 10 ways to recharge your mind and return yourself to the path of optimum health and longevity in this fast-paced world.

1. Give it rest

It cannot be said enough and will continue to be a cardinal truth of wellness: your rest is the most important thing you can do for your mind. Can you imagine running 24 hours without a break? How would your body react to that? With fits of complete exhaustion and maybe even failure. We can’t imagine that unless we’re into extreme sports. Yet, we subject our minds to continuous work, never really taking any time for just rest and rejuvenation. Our best way to rest is to sleep at night. During the key hours of rejuvenation our mind gets a chance to shut down its major processes and get to the business of storing much-needed information. When we don’t allow those processes to happen as they should, we jeopardize our own well-being.

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    2. Exercise it

    It’s funny saying this after asking you to rest your mind, but after rest, exercise is the next best thing. The endorphins that you get as a result of exercising work wonders for your mind. During exercise, your body is filled with serotonin. Your blood vessels are expanding and contracting. When you are done, you feel great and your mind feels even better! University of Georgia researchers have shown that exercising improves overall brain function, long-term memory and information processing skills.

    3. Experiment with it. Push it to the limit … sometimes

    Ask your mind to remember things that you would not ordinarily try to. Do you remember reciting poetry in grade school? Recitation alone helps to build memory muscles in a way that helps our mind remain healthy. Use it to create new habits by way of 30-day or 21-day experiments. Erase some words from your vocabulary for the week, or month. Put your mind to work.

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      4. Redefine its hopes and dreams

      Creating a renewed hope in the future is another way to rejuvenate and recharge your mental systems. Hopefulness and looking forward to the future fill you with positive feelings. Developing new mental pictures of happiness and success creates new neural pathways in your brain, freeing up some of those much-overworked brain cells.

      5. Convert it to positivism

      Psychological research on positivity shows that thinking positive thoughts on a daily basis raises your energy levels. Positive thoughts energize you and help to open you up to new possibilities. When you don’t have time to engage in a lengthy exercise, thinking positive thoughts throughout your day can help to keep your mind energized and help you feel refreshed.

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        6. Fill it with gratitude

        According to neuroscientists, gratitude is one powerful act of kindness to yourself. Gratitude has been linked to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, insomnia and physical illness. Gratitude as a practice has long-ranging effects, but a brief gratitude practice is still good for your mind. One quick way to rejuvenate and re-energize your mind is to make a list of three, seven or 10 things that are positive in your day and/or your life. This could range from having a car to drive, a job, best friends, or even a latte. Being grateful for the things that you have increase your happiness levels and energize your mind to continue to do well.

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        7. Take it on a trip to the East

        The effects of mediation and, by extension, mindfulness practices are well documented and long practiced in the Eastern traditions. Lately Westerners have gotten wind of the mind-healthy benefits of meditation, tai chi and mindfulness practices. When you are running a long day and need to re-energize, take a break and go East. One quick meditation practice that I learned about recently and love is to follow the outline of a star in your mind while you deep breathe. For every point on the star, alternate your breaths, i.e., start at the top and take a deep breath, pushing your belly all the way out. For the next point, exhale deeply through your nose returning your belly to its original position. Alternate your breaths until you have drawn a complete star or stars (depending on how much you need).

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          8. Give it lots of sex

          Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins! Having lots of sex boosts the amount of feel-good hormones during the act and calming hormones after. After a good romp, your mind is not only at ease, it’s ready to tackle anything and everything. Take advantage of it.

          9. Feed it properly

          More than a physical requirement for maintaining health and wellness, feeding yourself well can have a positive, energizing effect on your mind. Mediterranean diets have been linked with decreased levels of psychological conditions. In addition, the knowledge that you are filling yourself up with healthy, wholesome foods that energize your body also serves to recharge your mind. So the next time you are running late, grab a healthy meal and experience its effects on your mind.

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            10. Challenge it to create

            When you are feeling swamped and in the middle of a stressful crisis, as counterintuitive as it sounds, one way to keep you sane is to take a break to find the creative parts of yourself. Put on some music and play air guitar and air drums to your favorite tunes. Put on a couple of Black Eyed Peas songs and go crazy dancing to them or get down on the floor and draw like you used to in preschool. It will give you a brief mental vacation and will re-energize you mentally and physically. After all, wouldn’t you prefer to be having fun?

            So there you are. Ten very simple things that you can do to recharge your  mind, no matter how busy you are. Put them into practice and you’ll be surprised how energized your mind (and body) will feel! What are some other really simple things that work to help you feel energized?

            Featured photo credit: Scent of a Woman/Flashflood via flickr.com

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            Published on January 16, 2019

            How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

            How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

            We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

            You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

            You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

            That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

            Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

            1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

            Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

            We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

            To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

            At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

            The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

            2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

            Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

            The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

            In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

            It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

            It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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            So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

            • Are you a great strategist?
            • Are you an effective planner?
            • Is Project Management your strength?
            • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
            • Are you the ideas person?
            • Is Implementation your strength?

            Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

            3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

            One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

            Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

            Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

            Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

            4. Take Time for Planning

            “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

            One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

            You can take the time to think about:

            • What’s the purpose of the project?
            • How Important is it?
            • When does it need to be delivered by?
            • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
            • What are the KPIs?
            • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
            • Who is working on this project?
            • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
            • What tolerances can I add in?
            • What are the review stages?
            • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

            Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

            5. Focus on Priorities

            Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

            Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

            One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

            1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
            2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
            3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
            4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

            James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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              The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

              If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

              If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

              6. Take Time Out

              To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

              If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

              Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

              In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

              Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

              7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

              Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

              I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

              Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

              If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

              8. Stop Multitasking

              Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

              So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

              When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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              If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

              9. Work in Blocks of Time

              To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

              I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

              Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

              Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

              Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

              Then take another 10-minute break.

              Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

              By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

              10. Get Rid of Distractions

              Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

              “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

              Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

              If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

              11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

              You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

              Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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              Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

              12. Take a Time Audit

              Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

              Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

              You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

              Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

              Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

              At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

              If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

              13. Protect Your Confidence

              It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

              When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

              Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

              When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

              Final Words

              A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

              The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

              If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

              Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

              Reference

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