It’s springtime and as the weather warms up, many of us will start opening our windows to let in the fresh air and begin our traditional “spring cleaning.” The process of deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. And corners left untouched for months finally get some attention. This year, as you work on getting rid of the tangible things you don’t need, remember to focus on the intangible things as well – the mental “clutter” you’ve been holding onto for months like stress, anxiety, racing thoughts, and negativity.
As we touched on in some of our earlier blogs (here and here) the seasonal shifts are a critical time to tune in to your mental and physical health. This Spring, as the natural world revives and reinvigorates after the colder winter months, take the necessary steps to rejuvenate your mental and emotional well-being too.
Here are 6 things you can do to start letting go of your mental “clutter” just as easily as those old sweaters:
1. Move Your Body
Moving your body is a wonderful way to release stress, boost your mood, and improve health. Fitting a workout routine into your busy schedule feels impossible sometimes; But you don’t need fancy equipment or a lot of time because you can benefit from short bursts of activity. Take a 20 minute walk around the block to see all the beautiful new foliage, or even just blast your favorite pump-up song and dance like no one is watching!
2. Schedule Space
Just as you would set aside an afternoon or entire weekend to clean out your home, block out the time on your calendar to give yourself that same attention. Finding space to reflect can be a valuable way to check in with your mental and emotional well-being. And make it fun – set up at a local café, or picnic in the park now that the weather is getting warmer – whatever you do though, schedule it. There are numerous studies that show that those who are specific about where and when their new behaviors will take place are more likely to follow through.
Stress builds when we are trying to take on too much or spreading ourselves too thin. It’s normal to want to be all things to all people — the best friend, the hardworking employee, the social butterfly, the helpful neighbor. And yet, saying yes to everything can quickly lead to overwhelm. As the season shifts from heavier winter energy, embrace the lighter spirit of Spring by simplifying wherever possible. Break tasks into more manageable steps, and set a realistic “cap” on your daily to-do list.
4. Let go
Let go of an event or person that hurt you and/or festered anger. By practicing forgiveness, it releases the tense energy in your body (allowing new energy to come in) and helps you move forward onto better and brighter things. Say it outload, write a pledge in your journal, or even tell the person, directly. Whatever you need to do to release those feelings of resentment, do it! And experience that weight being lifted.
5. Get Creative
Explore a new hobby that involves creativity. This could be taking dance lessons, art, photography, yoga, pottery, painting, or wood carving. If you’re unsure ‘what hobby’ it is you’d be drawn to, go visit your local arts and hobby store or search online for some cool starter kits. The key is to be true to yourself and pick something that either moves you or something that intrigues you and give it a test-run!
6. Plant reminders
Fresh flowers are notorious for the springtime and a finishing touch after doing a spring clean in the home. They bring reminders of beauty, color, life, and energy. Make it a point to do the same for your mental and emotional health. Our brains require constant repetition in order to change a behavior, so it’s important to create ways to remind yourself to bring this same ‘freshness’ and fun into your conscious awareness. Maybe you can place reminders around your home, on your phone, or even enlist a friend to check in with you throughout the seasonal change. Studies show that you are more likely to complete a goal if you share it with someone.
By taking these steps to Spring-clean your mental and emotional space, you’ll notice an improvement in your overall well-being as you reduce your anxiety, negative thinking, and eliminate stress in your life. Get started and clear out that mental clutter!