Are You Creating Enough Mental Space?
I work in the mental wellbeing field, I have decades of experience, and yet the one thing I constantly have to remind myself is to make space – space to just be.
This is how / where I ground myself, feed my soul, stay clear on what is important to me (or rather when I’m ‘doing’ that I’m doing the stuff that matters to me), this is also how I stay mentally well, creative, compassionate, focussed and any number of other emotional states necessary for running my business – and getting the best out of life.
And yet I can very easily find reasons to put myself last, to distract myself with busy things – important and impactful or not, because it’s easier – occasionally necessary, but usually an excuse for not dealing with something else.
Why am I sharing this with you?
I’ve spent months talking to clients – particularly in healthcare, about surviving the ‘mess in the middle’ and space – to ground, to refuel and to rest for a bit is how you survive.
More critically, you can only process – and heal, from the shit you are dealing with (whether it is your own shit or stuff you have absorbed from others you love, you hang out with, work with or from the media), when you step back from it and create space.
Ritual and routine are hugely important and give you the structure to prioritise yourself, self-awareness helps you to work out what works for you and what gets in your way, but in the end, you then need to find the will to prioritise yourself.
We are all work in progress – I don’t say this to be preachy, this is definitely a ‘those in glass houses’ moment!
I know what ritual works for me, I know getting out for a walk with my camera, or scratching around in my somewhat ungroomed garden work for me – I don’t always prioritise them. I’m sure I’m not the only one, it’s sometimes easier to not bother, to be too busy, or watch Netflix, or whatever.
Finding the will to prioritise yourself is about two things, self-worth and understanding the impact (or contribution if you prefer) you make. I don’t know of many truly impactful people who don’t look after their own needs first – maybe not 100% of the time but certainly the majority of the time.
Self- worth is a biggy, and there is no quick fix – but most people I’ve worked with can find something they at least like. Choose to focus on what you like, or even on your impact. You will probably feel weird if you are not used to doing this, but ever so gently you will also start to train yourself to see your worth.
Finding the will to prioritise yourself is also about what you choose to limit or stop doing in order to create space.
I have a very clear list – and when my time doing these goes up, it’s usually a clue I’m out of wack with myself. They include feeling guilty – both about what I’ve done and not done, making comparisons, and scrolling through social feeding the above.
It’s amazing how much space I can free up but taking charge of my thoughts & actions – it’s equally horrifying how much space I loose when I don’t pay attention to these.
Mental space is a critical part of wellbeing, there is no one right way to create it, but most of us do have to actively make space to just be – so think about your rituals and practice, your commitment to yourself and what you might need to reduce or stop.
I’d love to know what you what you do to create space and stay balanced please share below.
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