How To Invest In Your Head, Your Space And Headspace
Originally posted February 25th 2020
I’ve always thought that having a great night’s sleep was hard to come by. In the past, it would take me literally hours to finally power down, even after scouring the internet for the best ways to wind down from technology- yes I see the irony…hush- sleeping in a cooler temperature, using an eye mask etc. My mind would be stuffed full of tasks I hadn’t completed for the day, even the ones I had, and I’d be replaying events that were yet to happen and events that never would.
This cluttered mind needed a refresh button. You can get them on Amazon, right?
When you hear the words ‘all-nighter’ you can probably imagine a college student hopped up on Red Bull with blood-stained eyes, typing wildly on All-Caps with their favourite motivational playlist pumping out of their earphones which are sprawled over their, frankly, embarrassingly cluttered desk.
Whilst I’ve never been a fan of an all-nighter and have never willingly resorted to it, it’s become something that I’ve recently found myself regularly participating in, just for the thrill of it! My productive urges always hit me towards the latter hours of the day, which, as a freelancer is acceptable, but it’s definitely not desirable, because how are you able to justify to yourself what you do in the earlier hours of the day, compared to what society calls ‘the 9 to 5’? Nine-to-five? My hours are more ‘6 to 3’.
And it got me thinking- as always- why don’t I take my mental and personal space seriously? I’ve always believed that they’re important, but they’ve never been super high on my many to-do lists, especially when I’d be prioritising other tasks and other people much higher than what they deserve.
Also, what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep? Does it cause damage? Irreversible damage? Why can’t I just be awake 24/7? I could get so much more work done, or, realistically, I’d have so much more time to procrastinate about the way I’ll perfectly get more work done. In a fear-fuelled panic, I rushed to Youtube to have someone who’s professionally ’sleep smart’ intellectually slap me out of my habits.
Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California and author of ‘Why We Sleep’ goes into excellent detail about the many eye-opening effects of sleep deprivation on the brain and body which you can watch here.
He describes worrying statistics on the reproductive, cardiovascular and immune system, not excluding the terrifying consequences of accelerating the production of the protein ‘beta-amyloid’, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, which currently has no definite cure. According to Walker, the recycling rate of a human being is 16 hours. I’m definitely one of those humans who needs those crucial 8 hours to guarantee a ‘great night’s sleep’. The Wakeful Eight I call them.
Based on Walker’s phenomenal findings, science clearly proves that your cells are slowly dying the longer you stay up. Well, for one thing, my eyes end up stinging like a b!%£* but that doesn’t stop me playing Plants and Zombies 2 whilst watching ’12 Biggest Reception Regrets’.
The point is, humans need sleep. We use sleep to process the endless mass of mundane tasks and confusion that stomps our way, our inboxes overflowing as we dance it all away and leave it all behind on a Friday night.
So, I started to make a change to my working routine, incorporating daily meditation and decluttering before my work shift started, and it was devastatingly helpful. Here are a few tips to get you started:
INVEST IN YOUR HEAD:
Create a great relationship with your hair.
Figure out where it’s at health-wise and adjust your hair products accordingly. Is it usually greasy? Structure a wash routine that works for you and invest in anti-grease solutions. Many girls I know despise the fact that their hair even knows what grease is and dares to excrete it, but if you can learn how to control it and minimize it if necessary, I swear it’s the next best thing to running off into the sunset and changing your name. That feeling of having a new hairstyle, whether it’s a haircut or just taking some extra time in the day to style it will increase your confidence which will transfer to your productivity.
Visualize what you want to accomplish for the day and when you’ll take your breaks. Reflect on the importance of each task and imagine yourself completing each one with patience and efficiency. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, or even longer if you’ve got a lot to achieve, but as long as you’ve sat with those thoughts, you’re off to a bloody good start.
INVEST IN YOUR SPACE:
Take a look around your room. How tidy is it? And by tidy, I mean, your honest version of tidy, because everyone’s is different. A universal theme of tidiness, though, is the ability to know what is both useful and necessary for you, where important things are at all times if even your tidiness occasionally spins out of control.
Can you look at every item you own, big or small- yes those numerous lip balms that have been sitting on your bedside table count- and be confident that it’s an item that you need? If it is, how often do you use it?
As for the items that you’ve stored away, do they deserve to take space in the places you don’t see? If they don’t, maybe you could donate them to a friend or two, or sell them if that’s your prerogative. You can get some tips and advice from my article How To Make Money On Depop.
Once you’ve established that your room is tidy, clean it. Sweep it, vacuum it, polish any wood-bearings, light a scented candle- I’m mad for them!- or a neutral one and open your window. Let all of that stagnant energy and procrastination be gone and feel the wind of change.
So where does Headspace come in?
Headspace covers all bases of your mind for every aspect of the day, morning, noon and evening but, in particular for the evening, uses skilled voice actors who ease you into a suitable relaxed state of mind, which cleverly conditions you to receive the vast variety of Sleepcasts they provide. These are a collection of stories that are supported by audioscapes that match their description, and they are just heavenly.
I highly recommend Midnight Launderette and greatly compliment the voice actor responsible for setting the scene. His voice is low, slow, grandfatherly and gravelly, with a tenderness that’s made for this service. I’ve listened to it every night for over eight months without tiring and that is because the scenarios are expertly designed to be similar but with slight changes and deviations in the story so you’re never left yawning out of boredom, but rather, a comforting familiarity.
This makes Headspace a brilliant investment just for the sleep element alone because you’re practically guaranteed a sound night, with the option to scour their 23 other stories. On top of that, if the idea of people reading you a bedtime story seems somewhat alarming or just unwelcome, you can easily opt to change the volume between speaking and audioscape to just audioscape. The whirring of the laundromat machines are irresistible and hearing the fire crackling in Desert Campfire gives me goosebumps as I descend into snore-heaven. Lovely.
Your brain is responsible for everything that you do so it’s about time that you treat it right.
If I haven’t convinced you to invest in these three things, let Headspace convince you. My quality of life has vastly improved for the better and I will continue to shout their praise any chance I get. You can download it here for a free trial!