Tackling Responsibilities When Your Mind Is Elsewhere

by Carly Ries Carly Ries | Jun 9, 2020 8:00:00 AM

getting things done when your mind is elsewhere

Today was hard. Yesterday was hard. The past few months have been hard. 

“Unprecedented times, “difficult times,” and “trying times” are being heard and displayed across media platforms and in everyday conversations. Between the pandemic and recent protests, emotions are running high. Our worlds have been turned upside down and nobody has written a solid playbook on how to handle it. 

There’s no question that some people are feeling the impacts of everything that’s going on harder than others and our hearts so genuinely go out to those who are impacted the most.

Here at LifeStarr, we pride ourselves in having an upbeat and inspirational tone, and while we still plan to carry that in 99.9% of our messaging to you, we’re taking a different approach with this blog post, because frankly, we as a society aren’t feeling very upbeat right now.

Summer is finally here, but instead of daydreaming about backyard barbecues, running through sprinklers, popsicles, and watermelons, our minds are, well, elsewhere.

Wherever your mind is right now, we can all agree it’s difficult to focus on our day-to-day responsibilities.

Parents still have to parent. Those fortunate enough to be employed still need to work. If you’re one of the millions who are now unemployed you need to figure out how to provide for your family. 

Things still need to happen in spite of the current state of our world, and while there may be days that seem harder than others, there are things you can do to help you focus on what you need to focus on. Here are just a few.

Look for the helpers.

Fred Rogers said it best:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world." 

No matter where you’re getting your news from right now, it’s not exactly what you would call a flood of positivity.  If you find your mind wandering down a dark rabbit hole, look for the good that is happening right now. Having a positive mindset will help you focus on things that need to get done, even if it only lasts for a little while.

Be the helper.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

If you’re distracted because you feel helpless to everything that’s going on around you, become the helper. Identify what is getting you down, and research things that you can do to help the situation. It doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking. Even small gestures can help a given situation and make you feel just a little better. Is the pandemic on your mind? Offer to mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn. Are the protests and everything surrounding it weighing on you? Donate to a worthy cause, educate yourself, or simply wave and smile at a stranger. Put some good out there. No effort is too small. Knowing that you’re doing something to contribute to a solution will help to free up your mind and focus it towards your day-to-day responsibilities.

Focus on what is in your control.

Whether you’re religious or not, you’ve likely heard the serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Think about this when your stress levels are running high. People have a lot of anxiety right now, and a lot of it is due to feeling helpless and out of control with everything that’s going on. Identify what you do have control over and put your attention towards it.

See the world through the eyes of a child.

“We must all work to make this world worthy of its children.” - Pablo Casals

Children by nature always seem to see the good in the world. The small things that us as adults no longer see, can brighten up a child’s day - something as simple as a plane flying overhead. See your day through the eyes of a child. Marvel at a blade of grass. Smell a fresh flower. Jump in a puddle. This lens can put so much in perspective and can help you take a step back, breathe, and refocus.

Take care of yourself.

We all know this is something we should be doing, whether we’re in the midst of everything going on right now or during normal times, but taking care of yourself should be a top priority. It will do wonders for your mind. Focus on:

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Eating well
  • Meditation (I realize it may not be for everybody but you may as well give it a shot)
  • Finding a fun hobby that you enjoy

Take baby steps to implementing a healthy lifestyle. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Limit your news intake.

While it’s important to stay informed of the world that we’re living in, consuming too much news can really just send your mind spiraling and put you in a bad mood. Instead of letting yourself ruminate over the latest headlines, consider limiting your news consumption to just a few minutes a day (ideally near the end of the day when you’ve gotten everything accomplished that you wanted to). Stay informed, but stay away from your 24/7 Newsfeed scrolling habits.

Get outside.

Step out your front door and breathe in some fresh air. Let the sun touch your skin. It feels good, doesn’t it? The positive impact of stepping outside can be felt almost immediately. In fact, doctors are actually prescribing nature these days because of the many health benefits it can do for us. If you find yourself having a hard time focusing on the must-get-done items of the day, get some fresh air.

Surround yourself with positive people.

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn

Due to social distancing measures, it may be difficult to be physically near these people right now, but hey, that’s what Zoom is for. Continue to surround yourself with positivity and you’ll find that your mind will start to default to looking at things in positive ways. Does surrounding yourself with positive people mean you’ll never have negative thoughts again? Of course not, but it’s a step in the right direction. The more positive you are, the easier it’ll be for you to focus on the things that matter most to you.

These are just a few tips that can help put your mind at ease and help you regain the focus that will allow you to tackle your day-to-day responsibilities during a time when it is difficult to do so. This is usually the part of the blog post where I promote the amazing features that LifeStarr has to offer (because the app is freaking awesome), but today, I’ll leave you with this:

“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined.” – Dr. Seuss

Take care.

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