Between juggling our work, home, and social lives, many of us may be looking for new ways to give ourselves some respite.
While we can’t always control what goes on in our lives, what we can do, is try to give ourselves moments of peace and escapism.
With that said, here are 11 ways to detox your mind.
1. Switch off
While staying connected is important, it’s also possible for our screen time to become a source of stress and negativity if we have too much of it.
If you spend a lot of time on social media, video calls, or reading the news, then it’s natural that you might feel overwhelmed at times.
Sometimes you might want a break from news headlines, worries about WiFi connection strength, or from seeing people’s political views on social media.
This is perfectly okay and it’s important that we don’t succumb to the pressure (or feed the habit) of needing to be connected all the time if we simply need a breather.
One of the main reasons that people struggle to take breaks from technology is due to the fear of missing out, or because it’s a way to keep our hands busy during quiet moments.
However, taking some time to switch off and step back from technology every now and then can often provide the peace and relaxation we’ve been longing for.
2. Set aside some ‘worry time’
If you have a lot of worries clouding your mind, it can sometimes be helpful to set aside time in your day to address them, instead of simply telling yourself to stop worrying.
This ‘worry time’ could be 30 minutes or a full hour once a day – or you might decide to allocate yourself two worry slots (say one at the beginning and another at the end of the day).
This time will ideally be used to put any irrational thoughts and fears to bed; by letting them play out in your mind or offloading them in a journal. You might also like to use this time to consider how you could overcome a worry or a negative thought by tackling it head-on.
The idea is that doing this will help you to put negative thoughts and worries to one side, so you can focus more clearly on the other aspects of your day.
Outside of worry time, it’s important to try and concentrate on other things. If you find a worry creeping back into your head, remind yourself that it’s not something to deal with now and that you’ll address it in your next allocated worry time.
Sticking only to the time scheduled for your worries can be challenging at first, but usually becomes easier the more you practise. The hope is that (eventually) you’ll spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the things that you actually want to do.
3. Use reading as a form of escapism
Reading is a powerful form of escapism. A good book has the ability to transport us anywhere; a sunny beach where a holiday romance is taking place, a fantasy world that feels incomparable to our own, or a fascinating time and place in history we’ve always wondered about.
There are few better feelings than picking up a great page-turner, only to be still glued to it several hours later. When I’ve been really immersed in a good book, I’ve often forgotten where I am, what time it is, and about anything else that’s going on in my life because I’m hanging on to every last detail, wanting to know what comes next.
So, if you’re looking for a way to break negative thought patterns, why not try to incorporate more reading into your daily or weekly routine? It can be surprising just how much more enjoyable reading can make everyday activities like commuting, having a bath, or getting into bed in the evenings.
For some literary inspiration, you might find some ideas in our articles; 27 of the best must-read novels, and 15 inspiring self-development books. Or, if nothing catches your eye here, you could head over to the books, literature, and writing section of our website instead.
4. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness, like any skill, can take a while to master. But once you do, it can become a great go-to tool during stressful or overwhelming times.
Many of us spend a lot of time worrying about the past or the future, which can make focusing on and enjoying the present moment quite difficult.
Being more mindful involves training your mind to focus on what’s going on around you in a particular moment, or on how your body is feeling or behaving. For example, you might choose to spend 10-15 minutes focusing only on your breathing, or on everything that you can see and hear outside your window.
Mindfulness can be difficult to start with, as it’s common for unwanted thoughts to continue to rush in and cloud your mind. But this usually becomes easier to manage with time.
As any unwanted thoughts arrive, it can be helpful to imagine placing each one in a sealed box and watching it float away. Then, you can continue focusing on your mindful activity.
For more information on mindfulness, you might like to have a read of our articles; An introduction to mindfulness and 10 everyday activities that can help you stay in the present moment. Or, you might like to tune into a mindfulness meditation session over on Rest Less Events.
5. Unsubscribe from any unnecessary emails, and keep your inbox unreads at 0
Decluttering your mind is much easier if you can remove unwelcome stressors or pressures from your life – even ones that you might consider quite small.
For example, if you’re already feeling overwhelmed, seeing an unread email number of something that resembles ‘8763’ could make you feel worse. So, staying on top of your emails can make a huge difference to how clear your head feels.
Often, huge volumes of unread emails are the result of junk mail or spam that we haven’t deleted, marked as ‘junk’, or unsubscribed from yet. However, this is something that can be easily rectified if you have an hour, or even half an hour, spare.
If you’d like to learn more about how to keep on top of your inbox, our article, 8 ways to manage your inbox, is worth a read.
6. Take up ‘junk’ journaling
Sometimes, when we have lots of thoughts circling our minds, it can be difficult to know what to do with them all. And, if we allow them to keep circling, they can end up disrupting important tasks, such as sleep and work.
Junk journaling can be a good way to offload some of these thoughts..In a nutshell, junk journaling involves putting anything that’s taking up a lot of your headspace, including worries or things on your to-do list, onto paper.
Writing things down can help to give us clarity and make sense of our thoughts. Plus, it can also be a place to store thoughts we’re worried about forgetting.
Some people find it useful to keep a notebook by their bed so they can write down any nagging thoughts that appear before falling asleep.
If you’re interested in finding out more about journaling and how it could benefit you, you might like to have a read of our article; The power of journaling as a life habit.
7. Declutter and reorganise your home, or your car
Decluttering and reorganising are tasks that are great for keeping us distracted – and can be very satisfying too!
Restoring order to things is something that’ll please most minds. And it’s quite easy to get engrossed in organising your wardrobe by garment colour or clearing out a cluttered, disorganised space that you’ve spent a long time avoiding.
Decluttering can also be very liberating, and many people say they feel lighter and better able to think when their surroundings are well organised.
It can help to start with a room, drawer, or cupboard that you spend a lot of time in or use regularly. This is because the desire to work on these types of things is generally greater so you’ll continue to reap the benefits of your hard work more often.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to decluttering and reorganising a space, you might find our articles useful; How to declutter and reorganise your home, 9 ways to declutter your workspace, and 24 things to add to your spring cleaning checklist.
8. Get creative
A great way to quiet a busy mind is to find a creative outlet – something that allows you to express your feelings in a positive way. This could be anything from painting and drawing, to photography or baking.
It doesn’t matter what you choose, but it should always be something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good.
Exploring a creative passion can also be a wonderful way to steer your focus away from negative thoughts towards something brighter. Often, unwanted thoughts fall away when we truly immerse ourselves in a creative hobby.
9. Let go
It might not sound like the easiest solution, but sometimes when we feel overwhelmed by our busy schedules or racing thoughts, the best thing we can do is to simply let go.
Letting go can often feel impossible, but can be incredibly liberating.
When we talk about letting go, we usually mean accepting that we can’t control certain things around us, and deciding not to expend energy thinking or worrying about them. This often becomes much easier once we start focusing on the things that we can control and have the power to do something about.
Letting go can feel more possible once we set our limits and boundaries. This involves deciding just how much we can cope with before we need a breather, or before we need to let go of something for good. This could be anything from a toxic relationship to a job where we feel overworked and underappreciated.
For example, perhaps you’ve been stressing about a relationship or friendship with someone who doesn’t make as much effort as you do. So, rather than worrying about this or trying to get the other person to match your expectations, you might decide to simply step back and focus on looking after yourself instead.
If this results in the relationship ending, chances are, this would have happened anyway. And at least you can now take that time and energy that you spent worrying and use it for something more positive instead.
10. If you can, get outside for some fresh air every day
Spending a lot of time indoors can leave us feeling closed in with our worries and anxieties.
But even stepping outside for a very short period of time can be an effective way to detox your mind. This could mean going for a walk, run, or cycle, or simply sitting in your garden and soaking up your surroundings.
Often, when we get outside and interact with nature, our problems seem smaller. This might be something to do with the fact that when we’re out in the world, we tend to feel part of something bigger. Plus, fresh air, a change of scenery, and some exercise can do wonders for both mind and body.
When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, your natural default mode might be to be to hide inside and come out when everything feels better. But often, this can make our problems feel greater.
If you’re struggling to get outside for some fresh air, start by trying to commit to 10 minutes a day – even if that means just doing a lap around the block. It’s amazing how even a little exercise can positively impact our brain health.
Or, if you’re unable to venture too far, perhaps you could still sit in your garden or do a spot of gardening. Alternatively, why not do some birdwatching or people-watching at an open window? Although you wouldn’t be getting out, you’re still reaping the benefits of some fresh air.
You might find some useful ideas in our article; 32 ways to connect with nature and feel inspired.
11. Get lost in music
The world would be a different place without music, and no matter what’s going on in our lives, music is always there to get us dancing, cheer us up, or allow us to have a good cry.
If you just want to have some fun and forget about the world outside, why not put on your most upbeat, toe-tapping playlist, and dance like no one’s watching? Letting all your inhibitions go can be a great way to clear your mind and feel liberated.
Similarly, if you’re feeling fragile, it’s often much more beneficial to let it all out than bottle things up – and music can really help with this. The majority of us have spent an hour or two singing along to power ballads and shedding a few tears, and often we feel lighter afterwards.
However you choose to get lost in music, it really can be a great escape – and is something that you can carry with you at all times.
If you’re not sure what to listen to and fancy a browse, Spotify has a huge range of playlists to suit every mood and occasion. You can check out a few in our article; 10 of the best Spotify playlists for every mood.
Whether you’re feeling happy, sad, or in need of some inspiration, there’s something for everyone on Spotify. It’s free to sign up for a basic account, with which you can create and listen to your own playlists. Alternatively, going premium will allow you to listen to music without the interruption of adverts, and download songs to listen to offline.
For more ideas on how to get lost in music and detox your mind, hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in our article; How to get involved with music from home.
If you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed by negative thoughts at the moment, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. And, the very best thing that we can do is to take care of ourselves – both mentally and physically.
Hopefully, using the steps above you can experiment with different ways to relax your mind, even if just for a few minutes or hours.
If you’d like more ideas on how to look after your mental health, the healthy mind section of our website can be a helpful resource. Here, you’ll find everything from simple stress-relieving activities to tips to help you laugh more.