We all have a figurative stress-relieving arsenal we turn to when we feel stressed to pieces. Maybe you like to light a few candles and curl up with a book, queue up a documentary and slap on a sheet mask, or pound it out on the pavement with a cathartic run. These activities are indeed essential for helping us restore our defenses and get back to kicking butt.
Feeling stressed and scattered, however, are two distinct states (though they often go hand in hand). Scatteredness can be innocuous—maybe nothing bad has happened but you just feel unfocused and dazed by all of the mental tabs open in your brain.
An example—a few days ago, I was tending to my baby while attending to company, and around mid-afternoon, my husband said, you look stoned. I wasn’t, of course. But my thoughts felt fragmented, ineffectual, and well, scattered.
For these moments, I need a few specific things to get my mind back in gear that won’t actually contribute to my decaying mental state (like searching for the perfect documentary, for example!) The following is what helps me resharpen my focus. We’re all different, so be sure to take time to tailor a routine to personally suit you!
5 Easy Ways To Feel More Grounded When You’re Scattered
Listen to the noises around you. This probably sounds very weird, but I prefer listening to someone else breathing instead of being mindful of my own breath, which makes me feel like I’m breathing all wrong/suffocating/hyperventilating/ugh!
Taking in the sounds around me, however, has a calming effect—the hum of the fan, the trees stroking the house, the distant twinkling of the neighbor’s wind chimes…
This mindful practice can be performed for as long as needed—but you may be surprised what a mere five minutes can do!
Diffuse spruce—or another woodsy fragrance. There’s nothing like spruce, juniper, cypress, cedarwood, or pine to help me feel centered and grounded. (Others also connect to palo santo, sandalwood, and angelica root for similar reasons.) In short, take a whiff of a refreshing scent to clear your head before diving back into the chaos!
Hydrate. A dehydrated brain just isn’t as effective. In fact, you’re more likely to experience burnout, energy dips, and mood swings if you’ve gone too long without fluids. A cool glass of water works wonders when it’s time to refocus and get mentally organized.
Declutter the area around you. Taking 10 minutes to tidy up the space within your field of vision can have a profound effect on your mental state. You don’t have to grab every speck of dust, but quickly arranging your work area (or whatever space you’re in) will help shut out any unnecessary distractions.
Take a break! While it’s not always possible to take the extended break we truly desire (and probably need), a few minutes of quiet time, fresh air, and maybe even a little stretching can go a long way. While you’re at it, see if you can do some literal grounding—spend a few minutes in contact with the grass outside, preferably barefoot! If that’s not an option, gazing out the window (rather than staring into a computer screen) can help, too!
Do you have a grounding routine for when you feel scattered? Let us know in the comments!
Related: My Stress Emergency Kit
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