I have a concept in my mind that both makes sense to me and doesn’t – the concept of “brain space”. It’s a lot like the idea of spoons, where you only have so much energy in a given day and you need to choose wisely what to spend your spoons on. It’s similar with brain space where I have different hobbies, chores, and interests that I’d like to do every day, but I feel the need to deeply prioritize because each activity takes up a certain amount of real estate in my mind.
I experience black and white thinking as a result of past experiences and mental illness. All or nothing. This or that. I often feel when it comes to things like hobbies and interests that I need to either pour my heart into it or don’t do it at all. I know this is flawed thinking, and I attempt to correct it with DBT exercises, but it’s kinda just the way my brain works. It also comes down to brain space.
I feel like I only have room for a certain amount of interests in my daily life. I need time to rest during the day because of fatigue and often severe drowsiness due to medication side effects. I need to factor in my relaxation/recharge time each day. This time doesn’t include a nap, which I often take a short one during the day to then sort of reset my brain. The idea of brain space for me is like that of a computer. There’s components like the hard drive or solid state drive, the RAM (memory), the power supply, etc. that make up your computer. The brain has a similar structure, so to speak. My hard drive can only juggle a certain amount of things per day.
What this means is that when I pick up a hobby or get more serious about a current endeavor, I feel the need to “offload” or even “delete” other interests. All or nothing. Black or white. This or that. I have been going through this a lot again lately. I keep trying to narrow down what I want to focus on most. What is most important. Then go at it full force. I know that this type of thinking doesn’t exactly serve me, but at the same time it makes me feel less scattered and random. It makes me feel like I have certain goals and I am working toward them. So, whenever something new and shiny comes along, this is what I do. I reevaluate. I plan. I think. I obsess. What is most important to me? What can I change to streamline my day? How can I be more effective?
I think about offloading older hobbies. I’ve always been the type of person who does a lot of different things, but I’ve wanted to be the type of person who is great at a couple of things, not a Jack of All Trades. There are many hobbies and interests I’ve had over the last several years – which I’ve been pretty good at but didn’t pursue with much dedication – and I feel like I’m ready to narrow it down. I’m 30 years old, I’d like to settle on some things a little bit. I know 30 is far from being “old”, but I’m ready to settle on a few things.
I’ve decided on a few things, so far, that might stick: moving my body creatively, gardening, working on self-care, and probably a few other smaller things in the mix. I want to dance with my flow arts – dragon staff (my newest and shiniest flow art), silk fans, rope dart, and my hula hoop of course. I love flow arts. I love moving my body. I workout a few times a week, walk every day multiple times per day. I still have a decent amount of drowsiness and fatigue, so I take breaks when I need to of course, but I try and push through it to do things I enjoy.
I decided that I don’t want to just watch the amazing flow artists on Instagram…I dream about being one of them. I need to work hard at my arts, and that means dedicating more time and energy to my endeavor. Flow arts isn’t just a fun thing for me. It heals me. It helps move emotions through my body. I want to keep doing it because it’s healthy for me, and because becoming proficient at my arts will make me feel good about myself.
So, what then do I offload to give more time and energy to flow arts? I’ve been contemplating it for a little while now. I decided to reduce my blog writing recently. I was finding it difficult to keep up with blogging and my personal daily journal, plus I feel like I don’t have many interesting things to write a daily blog on. I’ve reduced my working in my Etsy shop and I’m reevaluating how I want to run it in the future, or if I want to keep doing it. My shop was taking a ton of time and energy for about a month there, it was overwhelming but not completely in a bad way. I haven’t been selling, so I’m starting to rethink all of it. I am still considering not continuing with belly dancing, even though I like it very much. I don’t put much practice time into it, and I often use that time for other things anyways.
Honestly, reducing these couple of things has already improved my feeling of brain space. I already feel more free in a way to do the other things I want to do. I also need to reduce or stop some things so I have more time to start working on holiday gifts. It’s never a bad time to start on that stuff, especially since I’m crocheting two blankets and making several coaster sets.
It’s going to take more time and thought, but I think eventually I might get my brain dialed in.
How about you? Do you have a similar concept as brain space?