Diet is a popular topic no matter what age we are. We are consistently being reminded to be mindful of what we and our families eat. It’s important and we know it!
“You are what you eat.”
But you are also what you THINK.
Do you ever feel run down? Like you have no time for yourself, let alone for others? So what is on your mental plate? Are you mindful of the activities that fill, challenge, reward, or deplete your brain on a daily and weekly basis? How much work is too much work? How little play is too little play? What are you doing to positively feed your brain as well as your body? We are all individuals, with individual minds and bodies, that require individual diets. As adults it is easy to say “I’m just too busy…..”, but what that actually means is “I am choosing to focus my time and energy elsewhere”. Ask yourself: do you know exactly where, and how much? An activity that can help with increasing this level of self-awareness is actually tracking where and how you spend your time. Portioning out your mental plate. ALL of it! Move over leafy greens……time to chew on some mental game changers.
Taking a simple planner and jotting down the activities during your day and the time they took can help you have that Aha! Moment where you realize it is possible to exercise for 30 minutes! You do have time to do something that brings you JOY. You are spending way too much time in an area that doesn’t need it, or too little in an area that does! Take that opening that you can now SEE in your calendar (there you are 15 extra minutes!) and schedule that goal you have had on your mind!
Throughout the day we need time to let our brains experience emotional learning through those things that make us feel good! Your time is your most valuable asset, and you can make choices to make the most of it!
I teach this concept of time awareness and “giving back to your brain” to my students. I want them to know they can choose to reward themselves with time, rather than simply spending it. I have used an actual paper plate and I have also used a wall clock and different colored dry erase markers to teach this skill. The students portion out the time they think it will take to complete activities, the time they need for “brain breaks”, and the time they would want to themselves. These visuals help my students see how much of their time is spent in different areas. When they visually see what they need to get done, and set a time goal, they are typically excited to find out they have more time for themselves at the end of a session! A double win: intrinsic motivation and learning executive functioning and organizational skills!
Take a look at your mental plate and take time BACK for yourself. Give your mind a healthy and BALANCED mental meal…..you deserve it!