Do you ever feel like you just need to dive in to something completely mindless in order to distract yourself from the day to day stresses of life? I do know the answer to that question but I didn’t know how else to try and segway into this topic. So, now that we are focused on it… I want to talk about how important and necessary it is to have things in our lives that distract us, that take us out of ourselves and out of our heads for just a little while. We all need something that allows our body and mind to relax and recharge a bit. It is often difficult for me to achieve this because I feel like my mind is always racing and new thoughts and ideas are always popping into my head. I wish I could just turn my brain off for a few hours a day so I could get a break.
We are now into fall and that means that football season has already started! This time of year is one of my favorites because I love how every Sunday there is football on all day and night. I love betting against the spread with my dad since he is in a pool with his friends. I never bet any money, I just pick the games to see how I do compared to him and the other guys in his pool. I don’t know that much about football. I can probably throw out some names of quarterbacks and a few others but that is mostly it. I never read the injury reports or spend hours going through stats like my dad usually does. And yet, somehow, at the end of the season I always have a better record than him, and many of my dad’s friends. It is exciting to me; it is fun because it is a distraction. It gets me out of my head and allows me to focus on something that doesn’t matter in the scheme of life, but is important for that week. I am obviously using the term “important” loosely, seeing as the number of wins I have against the spread is clearly not a significant thing and has zero impact on my life other than allowing me to have some bragging rights.
My mom has always told me how doing projects can be helpful in taking your mind off things you are trying so hard not to think about but that somehow manage to get in your head anyway. On Saturday, I did a mini project and made customized gifts for some of my friends. I don’t want to go into more detail than that since they haven’t received them yet and I want it to be a surprise. But, what I can say is that it took up a hell of a lot of time AND it was so enjoyable! I was doing so much and my focus was solely on the project I was working on that before I knew it, four hours had gone by. That was four whole hours of not thinking about me and my life, and the things I “should” be doing, and the issues I am currently dealing with.
Exercise is also an amazing way to get out of you. Clearly, the benefits of exercising are very well known, but it is something that is often difficult to do when you are feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted by the challenges life throws at you. Exercising and going to the gym have always been a big part of my life and I was always in a much better place not only physically, but mentally when I was going to the gym and working out. I find it harder to do these days since I barely sleep and am always so tired and feel like I want and need to expunge everything out of my head onto paper…hence one of the reasons for my blog. However, I always feel really great after a workout. I feel in control and much more focused – like I can tackle any problem thrown my way since I did something good for myself that day.
These seemingly mindless tasks or activities can do wonders for a person’s attitude and emotional state. We all just need a break sometimes and there is nothing wrong with that. We don’t need to be productive and working so insanely hard constantly. It isn’t “wasting time” to watch a football game or two on a Sunday. It isn’t wasted time at all. Delving into a mindless project that ends up consuming the majority of your brain space is not “slacking off” or “being lazy.” It is merely acknowledging the fact that you need some downtime and can’t be thinking about yourself, your family, and your life 24/7. Obviously, if all you do is watch football and do mindless projects, that is an issue…but what I am talking about is different. I am referring to the need we all have and that is for our minds and body to be engrossed in something that allows us to escape and get away for a little while. There is nothing wrong with escaping from a difficult situation as long as you always come back to it. Avoiding it will never turn out well, but taking some time out of your busy life and schedule to partake in some of the things I am talking about is extremely beneficial and will help enormously when it comes time for you to actually focus on the things you are trying to ignore.