One of the reasons behind taking some time away from my blog, was to allow my brain – and my imagination – a little breathing space.
The thing with posting every day, and sometimes twice a day, amidst the emails and the Instagram posts and the scheduled tweets and the shit fuck wanker I need to upload something to YouTube, is that your mind is always busy.
Like, really, really busy.
Sometimes I’d wake up and be like OK, everything is good, today is good, let’s do this. I’d sit down and make a coffee and some avocado on toast and I’d crack open my laptop and I’d be raring to go but my brain would be like nope, not today hun.
A billion things would all be crashing into each other in the middle of my mind, leaving me overwhelmed, unable to focus – and on really NOPE days – struggling to catch my own breath.
It’s a difficult mental sensation to describe, and it wasn’t something I’d ever experienced before.
Depression and feeling low? Yes. Anxiety and fear of failure and the unknown? Yes. But a weird mind-numbing sensation of the world and my own brain moving so quickly it was threatening to engulf me? Nope. Never.
I’d picture someone opening my skull and looking at my brain. I’d picture the way they’d step back in shock and amazement at all the sparks crackling across the surface and the bright lights racing each other and colliding in angry bursts.
A bit like someone had set a time-lapse on one of the busiest junctions on the M25 during that last rush hour commute home before Christmas. Lights and objects and thoughts and whirls darting and swooping and crashing in every direction.
You can’t mentally keep up with your own brain. You feel flustered and on edge. There are so many things going on inside your own mind that you constantly struggle to locate the one thing you need at any given moment. The ability to remember a really obvious word, or the person you’re supposed to email, or the bill you need to pay – or even the place you’re supposed to be driving to. You forget why you’ve walked into a room or which friend you’ve made plans with for the coming weekend.
You forget the simple things that used to hold you together.
And that’s how my head started to look.
Simply because it was just too crowded with thoughts and ideas and worries all crashing violently into each other.
I didn’t know if it was stress, anxiety or my blood pressure cranking up the heat because lol look you’re a real-life grown-up now, but it would leave me with tunnel vision, like I was looking at the world through goggles and I could only see right ahead of me.
I couldn’t be creative or productive or feel happy or sad or angry or excited. All I could do was focus on functioning, on existing, on doing one thing at a time. Of walking to the post office or making a cup of tea or doing the washing up.
And not on creating blog content that made me so proud and OMFG YES that I’d want to tap dance about in the street with party poppers and champagne.
So I decided to take some time out to sort through my brain and get rid of all the old junk taking up unnecessary space – a bit like clearing out your hard drive so that your laptop can work faster, or tackling the drawer full of old batteries and pens so you have more space for spangly new make-up.
I needed to step back and allow my head some room to tuck the useless information away, so that there was room for new ideas and energy.
Anyway, I read something in a magazine a couple of months ago that really changed the way I viewed technology and creativity and the way my brain works.
Uh huh, a magazine. HANNAH GALE READ A MAGAZINE AND LIKED IT. An in-flight FlyBe magazine if you wanna be specific.
Anyway, it spoke about the fact that because we, as a society, never allow ourselves time away from technology, we never get the chance to let our minds just wander naturally.
And I guess this is more true for our generation than any other.
We’re always half-watching a repeat of Friends, whilst scrolling through Twitter and then flicking to Instagram and then doing an email refresh, scanning Facebook, taking a snap of our dinner for Snapchat and then just reading the titles of all the new blog posts in our Bloglovin feeds.
We’re constantly bombarding our brains with useless information, and in doing so we’re taking up precious mind space that could be used for our creativity and imagination.
How can you focus on an amazing ground-breaking blog post if you’ve just used up all you attention span on 17 different outfit shots from complete strangers, three super Debbie Downer Facebook statuses and 7386573 tweets asking you to sponsor/vote for someone for various awards and half marathons.
My point is, it’s good to be bored, and more than that, it’s important to be bored. Because when you are bored, that’s when your head is able to work through everything that’s sitting about unsolved.
That’s when you make sense of things, or work through dilemmas, or come up with new life grand plans.
It’s the very reason your best ideas and inspirations come to you whilst you’re driving, or about to fall asleep, or in the shower – because that’s when your brain is bored, in a meditative state, rather than distracted by technology or activity or people.
I sometimes think back to my life before the internet. I think back to the six-week summer holidays that seemed to drag on for an eternity. I think of how many times a day I probably took a cute little lie down on the floor and whined about being bored, and I think about how many times I was so, so hideously bored that I forced myself to find fun, excitement and activities where there were none.
I think of the clothes I customised and the games I invented from scratch. I think of the stories I wrote and the outfits I designed. I think of the assault courses I made in the garden, and the dens I built – both inside and out.
I think of all the magical, creative and weird things that came from allowing myself to be bored, and the happiness that came with them.
Because boredom, it seems, is the gateway to brilliance.
And as soon as we realise that and allow ourselves to step away from the phone-tapping habits that take up so much of our time, energy and mental capacity, the sooner our imaginations will take over the world.
So let your phone run out of battery, hide it in a drawer, turn off the TV, and get to experiencing the world like you’re 10 years old and whingeing because there’s nothing to do.
Because that’s when the best version of you will come out of hiding <3
Cup and pyjamas both from Cath Kidston.
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