Sometimes I get stuck with a thought. Really, really stuck. I never consider myself stuck if it is a good thought, only when they are not so good am I stuck. I really only know one way to get un-stuck, or get out of my own head, or really just to clear my cache, you know, what you have to do to your devices when they get bogged down and slow and get stuck.
There are times when life just gets me down, usually when I haven’t been sleeping well. I just get down in the dumps. My first choice is to get enough sleep, good rejuvenating sleep, sometimes that isn’t an option with everything that is going on in life or in my head. Sometimes the only thing I can do is to volunteer for a few hours.
Volunteerism is the one thing that I can count on where I get out of my own head and do something good for someone else. It is energizing and revitalizing and there are so many places in need of volunteers it’s hard to choose just one to do. Those hours spent volunteering are an excellent way to clear the cache and really get un-stuck.
Most recently my husband, friend and I volunteered at the local foodbank warehouse. You have to sort all of the big palette boxes of mixed food into big palette boxes of single food categories, like canned fruit, dried pasta, juice and so on. Sorting goes on for a while, grocery stores are pretty generous.
Once the sorting is complete, smaller boxes of the food category need to be made. They are a specific weight. All you have to do is count the cans going in, or you can weigh each box individually. Either way you end up with a 40 pound box that goes on a categorized palette ready for shipment to a food bank.
It’s nice to chat with the person working close to you, sometimes it’s someone you know, sometimes it isn’t. I worked next to a person who was there on court ordered community service. He shared his story, I empathized with him. He told me what his plans were and his hopes for the future. They were very modest and he was very positive about his chosen path. I hope that it all comes to fruition for him.
I chatted with another person there who volunteered because she wanted to do something to pay back the help they provided her when she was down on her luck due to some pretty terrible circumstances. She was so open about what she had been through. I felt very bad for her and so amazed by how she managed to get through it all. She could be a role model for getting through very rough patches.
She asked me why I was there, I chickened out and said I was there through my employer, even pointed to my shirt. It was the truth, but not the whole truth. I needed to be there to do something outside myself, that was wholly positive, was a cause I believed in and benefited someone else in order to clear my cache.
It seemed so shallow compared to what they were going through. I stopped judging myself, gathered my courage and told her. I told her that I really needed to volunteer because it gets me out of my head. She paused and looked at me very thoughtfully and said she experienced the same thing. Every now and then she would get unhappy, not know why, and then come do some work at the foodbank and feel better. She thought that her unhappiness was a sign she was taking her new life for granted and needed to be reminded where she could still be if things were different.
She thought it was just her. I thought it was just me. Interesting how that works out!
I know a lot of people that exercise to clear their heads, immerse themselves in a hobby, commune with nature, take a long hot bath or some such thing. Sometimes those work for me, but I can count on volunteering to clear my cache every single time.
Try https://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find a place that has a mission you can get behind and give them a few hours of your time, you will get way more out of it than you put in.