Wellness Wednesday: Mental Margin

As you know if you’ve been following the blog for the past month or two, I started taking a break from Facebook and Instagram at the beginning of October. During this time away from social media, I have been thinking about the concept of margin and how I spend my time. I think we all know that leaving some white space on our calendar is important so that we can rest and recharge. But how much do we leave ourselves with some time and space for mental margin? What does that even look like?

For me, creating mental margin means intentionally taking time away from media of all kinds: internet, music, tv, even books and audio books. This time can look a lot of different ways, but the important thing is to have as little input as possible. The purpose of creating this mental white space is to give my brain a rest, to allow myself to process all the stimuli from my days and to let my mind sort things out. The mind has an amazing capacity for absorbing information, but if we don’t give it some input-free time, we are overtaxing that capacity. Everyone’s brain needs a break from time to time.

Now, before you start picturing me going into an empty room and staring at the wall for an hour, let me tell you that is not what this looks like at all. My mental margin time actually can involve physical activity. It can look like going for a walk, alone and without music or a podcast, of course, just letting my mind wander while my body does the same. I may be knitting something monotonous that doesn’t require anything but a repetitive motion of my hands and very little active thought on my part. It may be coloring a picture and letting the colors fall where they may while my mind organizes all the random thoughts I have about my day. I could even be washing dishes or folding laundry, as long as I am in relative quiet so that I can process my thoughts instead of trying to fill every spare second with noise.

After a few weeks of purposefully adding these small spaces of margin throughout my day, I feel more mental clarity and focus. I can tell when I am trying to just distract myself instead of quiet my mind. My creativity is coming back, and I am more aware of when I need to take a mental break. Of course, I have a lot of room for improvement, but I am seeing how practicing mental margin is beneficial.

How about you? Do you make time for quiet and mental margin in your day? I would love to hear your strategies for making this a priority. Or, if you haven’t tried giving yourself real mental rest each day, please share what you plan to do to change that.

And now it’s your turn! I want to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!

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