Mental Spring Cleaning

Finally, as the sun finally emerges from the clouds and radiates some warmth on the chilly northern region, I feel a sense of rejuvenation. By far, my favorite seasons are spring and fall, not only for the mild temperatures, but also the change they bring. They are times for waking up from a dragging time of extreme heat or cold and finding a new beginning. Of course, any moment can be an opportunity to change, but something about spring, its gradual blossoming of life, is particularly motivating.

In where I completely understand why spring cleaning is a thing. I’m not even at home right now, and I’m already planning what I want to declutter and revamp in my life. However, I think the most important cleanse we can partake in is one that doesn’t require a broom or mop. I’m proposing a sort of mental spring cleaning. Especially for those who may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter, we’re all a little antsy about shedding some layers of coats and sweaters and frolick in the euphoria of spring fever. With this shedding can also come a personal shedding, of hesitation or anxiety or whatever negativity might be dragging you down.

Today I have a few suggestions to help spark some inspiration for you. Any of your own ideas are very much welcomed and appreciated. These are just some thoughts I had when considering good options for a fresh perspective.

  1. Let the past go. This is taking “spring cleaning” quite literally. In this, I mean consciously going through your current thoughts and asking yourself, “What am I stressing about right now? What is making me feel negative or anxious?” As with the dreariness of winter, seasons of nature and life are temporary. It’s especially wasteful of your time and energy to dwell on past events that may feel like regrets. Whether you’re thinking about how your grades ended up on a transcript or your past or current relationships with others, allow yourself to let negative feelings go. Vent and express whatever might be harboring in your mind and move forward. This allows more room for fresh starts.
  2. Little changes can go a long way. When days feel like they drag on or fade into one another, they lose their value to us. We’ve all seen the cliche “makeover transformations” where people get a new wardrobe or haircut and have a new vigor for life, but let’s not undermine the power of subtle change. Yes, I’m really looking forward to letting go of lots of unnecessary material belongings, living in a new city, and thrifting to my heart’s content, but even just changing a little part of your morning or evening routine, starting a new show or book, or whatever else tickles your fancy can make a big impact. Take a small step outside of your comfort zone, and who knows what might happen.
  3. Meditate, reflect, and prioritize gratitude. I don’t expect myself or anyone else to drop whatever they’re doing, run off to a monastery, and become a monk who sits in silence for hours every day. Kudos to you if you do, but for the vast majority, that isn’t exactly practical. The concept of meditation is so much more than repeating “Om.” It’s about slowing down your racing mind to become mindful and appreciative for the present moment. Find your favorite means of meditation and make it a habit. Maybe it’s a few minutes of deep breathing, a daily nature walk, or a quiet activity. It’s incredible how healing a quiet moment can be and the clarity that can come from it. From the values of awareness and reflection, we can view life through a fresh lens, finding beauty and gratitude in the little things.
  4. Make new goals and/or reestablish current ones. Winter can lead to a funk. I know I was there in those dragging weeks of nothing but cold and snow. Not to mention, for those who started the year with some resolutions and have fallen off the bandwagon, if you have goals for yourself you truly want to accomplish, every day (and season) is a new start. This kind of relates to my second point, but it’s very motivating to have something, new or familiar, to work toward, whether that be a new project, hobby, or whatever else. Write it down, make little steps to get there, and just see what progress you can make. It’s amazing what a fresh, determined mindset can accomplish.

Positivity is powerful. A healthy mind can benefit all aspects of life. It only seems appropriate to take advantage of it. Especially for those in school who have a year winding down and a few months free from tests and assignments, it’s good to continue exercising your brain (think of it as a muscle that requires consistent conditioning), and wiping up any areas of wellness we may have deprioritized to keep up with a hectic school schedule.

Let me know if I should continue making more ideas for mental spring cleaning and really, any ideas from me that you’d like to see me write about. I’m really open to anything, and I’d love to incorporate some new ideas and perspectives on here.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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