We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t get stressed out or feel like life was on top of us, feeling emotional burnout and the overwhelming sense of losing control. While it’s not something you should start to worry about, it is an indicator that you need to make changes to ensure your mental health improves. In this post, I will share some of the things you can do to create more mental space for yourself.
Ways to create more mental space for yourself
Create Some Physical Space
Sometimes the most important thing you need to do to create mental space is to ensure that you have enough physical space. If you feel cramped or trapped physically, then that is going to be represented by a feeling of the same in mind. Take a look at your surroundings: is it possible that your home is over-cluttered, and that you might benefit from putting some of your belongings into personal storage, or even getting rid of them altogether? You might be amazed at the kind of results this can bring for you mentally.
In addition to decluttering, it may be that you work from home and feel overly confined by the same four walls you see every single day. What happens when you see the same thing, day in and day out? Productivity drops, and procrastination increases! You can create more mental space by stepping out of your work at home space and into a new one, even if it’s for one or two days a week. You might opt to work at a local coworking space, a library, a cafe or even a park. It’s incredible what the mind can do with a change of scenery.
Often the problem might be that you are living for others, or that you are spending far too much of your energy thinking about what other people want and need. When you do this too much, it soon means that you are not putting yourself ahead, and you are going to feel stressed out and trapped by this. The moment you notice that there is an imbalance here, make a conscious effort to prioritise yourself a little more. You will be glad you did, and you will find that life becomes much more enjoyable again in no time.
Cut Out Scrolling
Depending on who you ask, social media can be both good and bad for mental health. On the one hand, it can provide a supportive and connected community, yet there is the comparison factor. Unfortuntately we tend to get into the habit of comparing our lives to the lives of others that are shown on social media. Unfortunately, people tend only to show their highlight reels – the good stuff, not the bad.
In this article about Twitter Anxiety, Azadeh Aalai, a professor of psychology at Montgomery College in Maryland, suggests that the comparisons we tend to make are of people on social media who ‘appear’ to be of higher status and achieving more than we are. This can lead to feeling envious, discontent and anxious. Unfortunately, too, social media provides instant gratification, particularly with the use of our smartphones and notifications. Pamela Rutledge, the director of the Media Psychology Research Centre, says these notifications on social media platforms are there to entice you to come back. Then the anxiety kicks in because you are anxious about missing something important.
In general, overusing social media leads to more background anxiety and a feeling of your mind being full of information, which makes it harder to digest. Consider doing something like a digital detox or cutting down on social media use to improve your mental health.
Practice Saying NO
Saying yes to absolutely everything will not free up mental space, practice saying NO! Get out of the habit of answering straight away and tell the person that you’ll let them know. We all know how much we regret our decisions when we don’t think about them! Don’t feel like you have to give a huge story of an explanation when you do say no because you feel guilty. A ‘No, I’m sorry, but I just can’t commit to that at the moment’ is just fine. Remember, when you say no to someone, it’s not about them, it’s not personal, it’s what’s best for you. Once you feel better about saying no and get over the fear of missing out, you will start to feel lighter and more space will become available in your mind because you haven’t overcommitted.
Take A Solo Holiday
You know the feeling you get when you have something really exciting to look forward to? Why not take yourself on holiday alone and see what that does for your mental health. For most people, this is a wholly positive thing. It will mean you will get the opportunity to be more in tune with yourself, look at it as a stress detox.
Think of your mental space like a suitcase. There’s only so much you can pack into a suitcase and when it’s too full, hard to carry.
One last way to free up your valuable mental space…do a brain dump! Sign up for my free Braindump printable below.