This morning, I got out of bed, laced up my shoes, and immediately went for a walk. This is uncharacteristic of me because I usually prefer a slower, more deliberate start to my morning. Some meditation, some journaling, and a whole lot of coffee. But today I woke up with what felt like a billion thoughts running through my head. If my brain was one of those glitter jars they use to help little kids calm down, someone had just sent it through the heavy-duty spin cycle.

I couldn’t seem to find one single thread I wanted to pull, so I thought I would just start by listing out everything and going from there:

I still need to unpack that one, large suitcase I didn’t have the energy for yesterday when we got back from our family vacation. I haven’t finalized plans for my out-of-town birthday get-together in a couple of weeks. I still need to talk to people about reservations, and who knows what we are feeding everybody?! Speaking of my birthday, I’m turning 40. I don’t seem to have fully processed this milestone, and although I have been excited about it, as it draws near, I appear to be entertaining a number of thoughts about its meaning as it relates to what I have, or maybe more realistically, have not accomplished with my life. I really did overindulge on vacation. I should definitely be exercising more regularly! I still haven’t settled on the final title of my book. And speaking of my book,  I’m behind on producing some of the content I need to get to the people who are helping me through the publishing process. Also, the war against Ukraine, guns having more rights than I now do in this country, and the sheer exhaustion of trying to manage all the things, help all the people, still run my business, find time to sleep, find time to be creative, find time to be the kind of mom I want to be, find time to be the kind of partner I want to be, cook instead of doing takeout six nights a week…

Holy crap, how long have I been letting this build up?

I thought back over the last couple of weeks. We just got back from a week of vacation with my immediate family members and their families. While it was great for family time, the opportunity for individual daily reflection and journaling was practically nil. I take that back. Not practically, absolutely. I have three separate journal entries where I started with the date at the top of the page and the page is completely blank because someone else woke up or decided to join me. Going back a bit further, the two weeks before vacation were a flurry of coaching clients, in-person facilitations, a virtual presentation for an entrepreneurs group, and the usual organization, coordination, and packing frenzy that occurs before an extended trip.

I had definitely sacrificed reflection and individual time there, too.

No wonder I woke up this morning feeling like I needed to scrub 18 layers of brain plaque off! Heck, I don’t just need dental level cleaning for this, I need a whole freaking power washer for my brain!

Do you ever feel like this? The to-do list has gotten out of control, the mind is spinning, and there are just too darn many things that need to be thought through, considered, addressed, or reflected on?

I don’t have all the solutions for this, but I have found a few things that help:

  1. Giving myself some grace. It’s all-too-easy for me to get here and then be mad at myself for where I’m at. Shifting into a space of, “Ah, sweetheart. There you go again. You did it one more time!” helps me stay out of unhelpful self-judgment and emotional self-flagellation.
  2. Get it out of your head. Just writing it down often helps calm the inner dragons and also creates a clearer picture of what needs to be addressed and what can be set aside.
  3. Find your way back to the practices that support you. In my case, I needed to get back into my journaling and meditation time. Those are two foundational practices that serve as plaque-protectors!
  4. Engage a friend or coach to help you de-plaque your brain. Yes, the daily care is important, but it’s also critical to have someone else help you along the way!

- Nicole

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