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Entrepreneur Lifestyles

5 Ways to Turn Off Your Brain So You Can Get Some Rest

Your brain working overtime is not doing you any good.
5 Ways to Turn Off Your Brain So You Can Get Some Rest
Image credit: Lauren Marek/EyeEm | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Author of 'Chasing Dreams in a Minivan'
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For years, when I got off work every night, I had trouble shutting down my brain for the evening. I couldn't fall asleep as I thought about problems, or if I did fall asleep, I would wake up way too early. Anxiousness and feeling like I had never done enough filled my head into the early morning hours. I knew the problem was my business, and I was ready to sell my multiple locations and start over. A good friend confronted me and said, “The problem has never been your business; it’s always been you.”

Related: You're Busy, Busy, Busy, Right? Here Are 3 Mental Health Tips You Probably Need. Now. 

I doubted him until I really examined my life and my inability to shut my brain off. Lately, I have been investigating different methods that have helped me relax in a healthy way.

1. Picture it.

When you leave your business for the day and go home to your family, are you set up for success? Here's a little trick. When you start your car, picture something. Picture that you are shutting your business brain down and giving your all at home. If you can’t, what do you need to go back in and finish? What do you need to check off your list so you can let it go for the evening?  

Being in a state of victory for the evening is the only way you can shut your brain down. You must tie up your loose ends so that you have a chance to calm your busy mind.

2. Cave.

I call it cave time. In a house with three young kids, it is pretty crazy. On my way in I need a moment alone with some busy work to occupy myself. It may be organizing the garage, chopping wood or working in the yard. For me, it has to be something physical and mindless. All day long, you work your brain. You need to work your body -- and disengage your mind -- for a few minutes. This is a form of rest for entrepreneurs.

As you build the muscle of transitioning into mindless solitary activity, you will help yourself to pattern the shutdown process.

Related: Your Company (Not to Mention Your Family) Needs You to Stop Taking Work Home

3. Exercise.

Working our bodies regularly helps to shut down the mind. I started running marathons and lifting weights because it’s one of the only ways to relax me. Adding physical fitness to your life will help you to unwind in a healthy way. Exercise regularly, and if you have formed any negative unwinding habits like alcohol, replacing the habit with exercise will help you break the bad habit faster. Exercise will give you focus and a new hobby, which helps in the ADD mind we struggle with.

4. Occupy.

When my mind starts going, I used to try to stop it. The fact is, we were blessed with minds that are constantly on the go. Trying to stop our super engine is a fool’s errand. Instead, redirect your mind into something else. Try writing, Sudoku, video games, crossword puzzles or real puzzles. A redirection of the mind can help you relax instead of fixating on your business. Experiment and track how you’re feeling. It will take a while for you to figure out what works for you, however, it’s worth the time.

5. Journal.

No matter how hard I try, my business still jumps into my brain. The only thing that will get the thoughts out is to write them down. I prefer old fashioned pen and paper, but you may want to use an app like Evernote. Whatever it is, write down the thought to be dealt with when you are working, not at home with your family or friends. A journal lets you know when you can work on work and reminds you that the time is not now. Journal your thoughts instead of trying to not think about it.

Related: Priming Your Brain for Success Through Sleep

If we don’t figure out healthy ways to shut off our brain, we will fall back into self-sabotage. We become better entrepreneurs when we have moments of stillness in our minds and the proper amount of sleep. Rest well, and you will be ready to attack your business and have more creativity. You can rest your mind and be the best version of yourself.

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