Hello, awesome readers! I would ask “How’s your day going?” but considering the topic of this post I will assume that your day is not going THAT great, but you are here to change that, so let’s dive right into it. Ok, almost right into it. :)
Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Do you know you want to change something in your life but you just don’t know what it is or how to do it? Or maybe you keep circling back to bad and depressive thoughts about yourself and your life but you are very eager to change and finally DO SOMETHING to feel good? If you are nodding yes to this paragraph or at least part of this paragraph, this post is made right for you. :)
You have done the previous steps – established that you want to change and now you are stressing out about what to do and where to start, and thinking about it ALL THE TIME, day and night. Wishing for a sign. For that important phone call that will change your life (or offer you a job). Waiting for that perfect blog concept to pop into your head. You are actively looking for ideas and WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY this time, that it drives you crazy and stresses out even more.
My thought behind this – you need to create a space. Let it go. Let go of that active looking for a while. Trust me, if you have been thinking about it for days now, maybe even weeks, the Universe has gotten your message, now it is your part to TRUST the flow, trust Universe and LET GO for a moment. Easier said than done, right? Especially if you are SO READY to change and SO NOT looking forward to sit patiently and wait.
That is why the best thing to do in a situation like this, is to occupy your mind with something else.
And if you feel really stuck in a routine or in a cycle of bad thoughts, this active break is totally what you need as well. Kind of like restarting your computer when it has stuck and has been showing you the same thing for minutes. Just push that restart button and let the magic happen! :)
On to the actual things you can do
A little bit lower is a list of things you can do to occupy your mind completely and do an awesome restart
The perfect recipe is to do the occupying activity for AT LEAST 2 days straight because in the first day, big chances are that you will still circle back to your old thinking patterns no matter what they are. From the day two, your mind will start to slowly (or fast) let go and you will have started the rebooting, clearing process.
When doing any of these activities, please, be kind to yourself and try to devote ALL of your attention. That is the only way it will work. ALL IN are the 2 words you should think about when doing it. Or you can go with VACATION because that’s what it is – a vacation for your mind AND it is the first thing on the list (hehe, see what I did there? ;) ).
1. Go on a trip.
Nothing clears your mind as being in a foreign country. If that’s not possible, take a trip somewhere in your country where you have never been! Thinking about what to do there and constantly following the map to be sure you go the right place, visiting museums or other tourist attractions, taking pictures, finding food etc will occupy your mind plenty.
Plus a big chance is you will have to solve unexpected problems, for example, communicating with your Airbnb or realizing that Waze has taken you through the smallest pathways to the wrong place. Nothing takes your mind off like solving a problem. And if a trip is not your thing, just go with mathematical problems. And NO I am not kidding. This IS a nerd land. Side note, I am not into math THAT MUCH myself, but I do think math is cool. :)
Ok, I realize that trip might not be possible to you for several reasons, but I had to include it because the idea of this post came to me after a trip. :) Moving on!
This even deserves its own post tbh, because cleaning your house, clears your mind, everyone knows it. You can make it your mission to put in order every cabinet and shelf in your house. You can go after only the kitchen cabinets or re-organize your closet. Or you can do ALL the house, gradually, and go through EVERYTHING, clean it and sort it.
For a little help, you can do Muchelleb’s thirty days Simplify your life challenge (for an intensive clear out you can do it faster than 30 days) or read the Konmari book – The life changing magic of tidying up. Side note, I haven’t read the book myself, but I have learned the basic concepts from others f.e. the folding method is THE BEST! Why do people even still fold thing horizontally??
But for this to clear your mind, make it your mission to attack your category of choice every day after work or school, or the whole day if that is possible for you. Don’t stop until you are totally exhausted (within the normal range of course).
3. Go on a one day hiking trip.
Or a two day hiking trip – even better. But even one day, in this case, can do good. Next weekend pack your bags, find a friend who will come with you (or go alone, that’s fine too!) and head out into the wilderness. No no, just kidding, find a trail and go for it!
I would recommend something longer – 20 to 30km to challenge yourself a little bit and to fill the whole day with walking and feel totally exhausted but satisfied after a day out. (My 30km walking story here and 60km walking story here!)
And if the next day you feel like not moving at all, binge watch your favourite TV show or do a movies marathon. And that brings me to my next point (wow, how fluently this is going today :D ).
4. Binge watch a new TV series.
This is not what your regular psychotherapist would recommend, isn’t it? ;) Well, I am nor psychotherapist, nor regular. :D But binge watching new TV series for hours and hours, and even during the night has sometimes really helped me to clear my mind of my thoughts and learn something new about life. It just somehow creates space, because you leave your reality and live with fictional characters for the moment.
This is a tricky one though, so be very careful. First of all, if you are anything like me (khm, HSP or just sensitive) choose your TV show wisely. You don’t want to cram your head with violence, scary or depressive situations. Even if you are not sensitive, I would really recommend going for something that is light and good, at least for a TV marathon.
If you have trouble with reality or you feel disconnected time to time, DO NOT DO THIS. Go for something that requires you being in the moment, f.e. outdoor activities, doing sports etc.
But really, this one is here because it has helped me before, but I would really recommend you to consider any other suggestion from this list before hand.
That said, TV shows I recommend –
- Flash and Supergirl (for those who enjoy the superheroes);
- Friends (but who hasn’t seen Friends by now :D );
- White Collar (this is the best detective type TV show with witty jokes and NO violence!!!);
- Gossip Girl (really bad trailer, but couldn’t find better :/);
- Perception (very interesting about psychic illnesses and detective work, but contains some kind of violence and can be disturbing (talking from HSP point of view). For stronger nerves, I think it would fall into a harmless category);
- Scorpion (A nerd show ;) about geniuses who solve high-class government problems. This show tends to get overly dramatic because almost in every episode they are saving the World, but it is still fun).
Ok, I have some more of my fave TV shows, but I think this will be enough for now, otherwise, this post will turn into TV show recommendations. :D
5. Learn something new.
Find an e-course or youtube video lectures and just drown yourself in studies. Yes, studying is a bit harder than just binge watching TV, but boy you will get so much more out of it! Just forget for a few days your troubles and make your main goal in life to know everything about the topic of your choosing. Don’t think about where you will use the knowledge, just find a topic that interests you and broaden your horizons!
A few places where you can learn things online:
- Yale – I mean, how cool it is to ‘attend’ online real lectures from Yale? :O
- Khan academy
But you can always google your topic of choice if you have one in mind, and add ‘free online courses’ or something like that to the search. :)
List of one-time activities that are awesome cycle breakers
Now here are some smaller things that can help to break the cycle of not knowing what to do or break a bad train of thoughts.
1. Surprise yourself and go out to an event you wouldn’t usually go.
I know that finding events to attend can be a task, but if it happens so that you have stumbled on an event that kind of interests you, just go for it! Put on your finest clothes (or just take time to look nice, because it is always nice to look nice, isn’t it?) and dive into that new experience.
Just accept that you might not like the event at all or you might feel like an outsider because you don’t know anyone. Just go with the flow, the important thing here is to get yourself out of the house and do something a bit scary and unusual. It might turn out to be a really fun event after all. But either way, you might learn something new about yourself and break the cycle of not knowing what to do.
2. Go out with your girlfriends or bros.
Or just have a coffee with your bestie or a friend whose company you really enjoy. Socializing is crucial when you are feeling stuck. It might be the last thing you want to do, but really, it can be very beneficial. Especially if you have really good friends with whom you can talk things out or have a good laugh. Don’t deny the joy a friendship can bring into your life!
However, if you feel like you don’t have a friend you can trust, don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do on your own and still get the desired result. I’m behind you!
3. Try a new activity.
Everything new will make new neuron pathways in your brain and inevitably break the old ones you have been stuck in. Go rock climbing if you haven’t done it; start running in the morning or evening; learn how to step dance; maybe pick up ballet classes right at home?; do yoga or devote yourself to learn a handstand; go pole dancing or try a new hobby, f.e. photography, knitting or crochet, or whatever. Hell, just start a blog! Call it whatever, f.e. Mindy238439.wordpress.com and just write whatever is on your mind.
Do something exciting you haven’t done before. If you are feeling shy or not like meeting strangers, or you have money issues, with the help of youtube and Internet, there are things you can do right from your home with no cost at all. Take advantage of this modern age.
Don’t be scared! You can just try, you don’t have to stick with it. Do it for fun! :)
You can always google for “interesting hobbies” or “hobbies people have”, or “fun things to do in free time” or any other keywords you have in mind.
4. Do an activity you have always loved.
For me it is dancing and listening and singing to cheerful music or music that touches my heart strings. Just let yourself be sunk in the activity your soul enjoys. For you it might be something else, maybe, drawing or piano playing, or doing math problems, or being outdoors, or visiting the seaside. I really don’t know what it is for you, but I am sure you do.
If not sure, look into your childhood and see what are the activities you did in your free time after school. Because you know, as children we don’t think about what’s useful, we do what we enjoy.
Looks like this concludes my list. I know, there aren’t very many options to choose from, but hopefully some of them resonated with you and you will do them and break out of that cycle you want to get out. I really hope you manage to do it and I feel so proud of you for working with yourself and looking for solutions and believing in yourself. You are truly amazing.
What are other activities you would add to the list or that have helped you in the past? Share in the comments, I want to know! :)
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