Practices for Restoring a Tired Mind 6

I SPEND MY DAYS engaged in creative activities: writing, photography, editing, course development, and marketing. I start early and end late, usually rising to my alarm at 6:30 am and going to bed between 10:30 and midnight. (I allow myself to sleep in at least one weekend morning each weekend to catch up on lost sleep.) Every day, by the time cleaning the dinner dishes rolls around—and yes, there are the usual homemaking, meal-making, and parenting activities as well as the “work” kind—my mind is just plain tired of thinking. I don’t have anything left for the four or five things that remain on my ambitious to-do list.

If I kept up this pace without engaging in other, less creative and more restorative activities, burnout would be only too real. So what do I do? On a more-or-less daily basis, here is a list of ways I restore my creative energy (and my sanity!).

1) Exercise—It’s essential to my sense of well being. Not only does exercise keep me physically fit, but it contributes to my emotional balance. In addition, it reminds me to be thankful for my body and all that it does for me.

2) Meditate—Now, I have to admit that meditation is one thing I tend to push to the bottom of the list. Yet it is one of the most important ways I can spend 10 or 15 minutes each day. Meditation slows my overactive mind, calms and centers me, and helps me maintain perspective.

3) Read—I am an incessant reader. Reading materials of all kinds litter nearly every flat surface of my home. Between magazines, ebooks downloaded (and yes, printed) from the Internet, to textbooks and literature, my mind sponges from the written word. However, at the end of a long day of absorbing and creating information—whether verbal or visual—I like to read good, entertaining fiction.

4) Write in my journal—At least 10 minutes every day, often more. It could be said that journal writing is a form of meditation, because it accomplishes some of the same benefits. I think of it more as a way of processing thoughts and emotions, as well as a way of chronicling important (and not so important) events in my life. It gives me a place to talk about what’s bothering me, to fuss and whine, and then, ultimately, to turn my thoughts to positive and productive ways of being.

My journal is a place where I write down my dreams and goals for the coming week, year, or undefined period of time. It’s also a mirror of sorts—when I read back to myself what I have written, I often am able to retrieve bits and nuggets of my own inner wisdom. Things I may not have understood or seen when I wrote them. It’s a place for me to explore who I am and who I want to be in this world. It’s also an idea clearinghouse.

When I am done writing my journal each day—usually first thing each morning—I am focused and ready to begin my day. If I journal later in the day it’s a welcome, restorative break.

5) Practice GratitudeAll of these things remind me to be thankful for my life, for the ability and time to journal, read, meditate, exercise, and to express myself creatively. For my wonderful family. For the abundance I experience in so many ways. When I remember to practice gratitude on a daily basis, my circumstances don’t change; they just seem to.

These are the things that work for me. I’m interested in hearing from you. What do you do to restore your creative energy when you are tired or on the edge of burnout? What things do you do frequently, and what things—vacations, for example—occasionally?

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6 thoughts on “Practices for Restoring a Tired Mind

  • amberstarfire

    Yes, somewhat, but my periods of consistency are longer than my periods of inconsistency. For example, journaling has become as much a habit as flossing (which means there are some days I don’t, but those days are rare). For me, meditation tends to be the one thing that I’m most fickle about. Yet, as I said above, it is truly one of the most important. That 10 minutes does a lot of restoring for my tired mind and body!

    One of the things I do that works for me (not for everyone, I’m sure), is I make a list of the things I want to make sure to do each day. Journaling, meditating, exercising, and practicing gratitude are always on that list. (I don’t need to put reading on my list, as it’s like breathing to me.) I check off each item as I do it.

    At the end of the day, I circle the things I haven’t gotten done. These move to the top of my list for the next day. So, for example, let’s say I didn’t meditate today. That would be circled on my list so tomorrow, I move it to the top and do it before I do anything else. It’s a self-imposed priority system.

    Thanks for asking, and I hope it’s an idea that helps you 🙂

  • Jae

    I complete agree with everything on your list…and I find that my life goes so smoothly once I do those things consistently. I find I commit to about a month and then get lazy again, until I absolutely feel burnt out. So then I commit again…until I get lazy. I’m trying to get on the level of always being consistent! Do you find yourself going back and forth?

  • amberstarfire

    Nina, thanks for commenting. I get it done in little bits and pieces … Except for exercising, I allot 15 minutes for things. Sometimes I go over that amount of time, and that’s great. As for sleep … well, that’s one of those things you can’t ignore. And studies have shown that when we get the right amount of sleep we’re more productive and positive during our waking hours.

    These activities are simply things that work for me. If we have to work really hard at stuff, then I don’t think it’s restorative. I think the main thing is to identify what works for you, in terms of restoring energy, feeling good, resting your mind. And then doing those things. Each of us have different needs. Practicing compassion with self (allowing oneself to be human) is also a good thing.

  • Nina Amir

    Great blog post! I don’t know how you get it all done, though. I get the writing and work stuff done, but I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like. I also don’t meditate, journal or exercise as much as I’d like or plan… That said, I tend to oversleep, because I’m just so tired!

    Congrat’s to you for fitting it all in. I’ll have to try harder this coming year.

    Thanks for having my writing blog, Write Nonfiction in November on your blog roll, by the way…and nice magazine!