Mental Spring Cleaning for Parents
April 4, 2011 ~
Most parents think of spring cleaning as a chance to rid themselves from the clutter that has built up in their homes during the long, cold winter months. But what about clearing out your mind this spring? Doing some “brain scrubbing” and practicing mental exercises can yield tremendous benefits for busy parents who are constantly multi-tasking, prioritizing, and inevitably, feeling a little stressed.
Here are some valuable and simple techniques to rid your mind of clutter that will help you and your child become more focused and productive in all aspects of life. Being Present Practice experiencing the “here and now” every chance you can. Focus on what you are seeing, hearing and feeling in the moment. This process frees your mind from the background chatter that bogs you down and distracts you from the task at hand.
Single-tasking Instead of Multitasking In this day and age, we are inevitably required to handle multiple tasks at a single time, but when possible, try the act of single-tasking. Focus solely on an individual goal and try to avoid multitasking. This can be challenging in the fast-paced world we live in, but doing so results in much-needed clarity to accomplishing your current task. Start small – for example, packing your child’s lunch or cooking breakfast. Then slowly expand to other moments in your day when you may be prone to want to jump from task to task. This can bring clarity, focus and a surprising sense of calm.
Worry Less This is much easier said than done. For many parents, this can be an almost daily expenditure of your energy, but one that produces few results. Worrying brings unneeded and often-times unwarranted stress that hinders our ability to perform at our peak levels. When you find yourself slipping into a “worry fit,” try to resist it. Worrying causes headaches, and muddles the mind. Be sparing with your energy spent worrying.
Breathe Deeply This is something you can do anywhere, no matter what you may be doing at the time. Are the children running around with muddy feet? Deep breathing reduces the heart rate and relaxes your body so that you can focus more clearly and avoid overreacting. This is a simple technique, yet it is often overlooked.
Disconnect From the Techno-babble Every day for a half-hour or more, turn off the TV, cell phone, radio, computer and any other of the hundred ways we are connected to the mass chatter on a daily basis by the media, friends and social networks. This is almost impossible for some folks to do, but if you can manage to make it a routine, you will be amazed at how it can positively affect your daily frame of mind. This activity can give you the time to put all you have heard or seen throughout the day into perspective and give your mind a chance to rappel from the media stratosphere.
Decluttering your mind takes practice and isn’t easy. With all the stimuli, chaos and frenetic activity parents have to deal with every day, it can be a challenge to focus inward on what you need to be at your best. These five tips can help you rein in the confusion and help you focus on the immediate and most important needs first. With some practice, you could easily reduce your mind’s “chatter” and zero in on the more important things in life: being a more productive, focused mom or dad.