When the last of the winter snow has finally melted away and green buds begin erupting from the earth, we can also find new life within ourselves. With the energy of the spring season comes fresh inspiration and motivation, a desire to start anew.
To recover from the dormant nature of winter and prepare for the coming months of sunshine, many people practice the ritual of spring cleaning.
When you hear the term “spring cleaning,” what first comes to mind? Perhaps it’s your father perched on the roof cleaning the gutters or your mother hauling window screens up from the basement.
Maybe it’s removing cobwebs and vacuuming out corners as the sunlight streams through freshly scrubbed windows. Or perhaps you picture yourself in the garden, raking out last year’s leaves and preparing the soil to nurture this year’s vegetables or flowers.
Whatever your personal vision entails, we can all agree that completing the hard work of spring cleaning feels amazing… therapeutic, even.
Did you know that you can create a similar feeling by doing a mental and emotional spring cleaning?
Now is the perfect time of year to realign your priorities, evaluate your relationships, and recommit to self-care!
10 Tips for Mental Spring Cleaning
These ten tips are a great place to start working on mental and emotional wellness…
1. Give Up a Bad Habit
If you are in recovery, you’ve already done the hard work of acknowledging behavior that is potentially destructive. This is huge! For many, identifying areas for growth is half the battle.
Now is the perfect time to recommit yourself to your sobriety and evaluate any other habits that may be impacting your life in a negative way.
- How is your diet?
- Are you staying active?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
Start small and stay committed. This is the best path to success!
2. Let Go of Drama
Nothing will drag you down faster than surrounding yourself with people who thrive off negative feelings. Be wary of friendships that are built on gossip or people who violate your boundaries.
Evaluate your relationships by examining the way they affect you mentally. What is it like when you spend time with the people in your life? Do you feel inspired, happy, and supported? These are positive relationships.
Do you feel exhausted, stressed, or anxious? This is a sign of a toxic relationship.
3. Prioritize Positive Friendships
Once you have reflected on the different relationships in your life it will become clear which individuals make you feel the most encouraged and loved. Make these relationships a priority!
Go out of your way to schedule time with them, even if it’s just a quick chat over coffee. While this may be hard to do during the busiest seasons of life, it is always important to stay connected with a positive support system.
4. Restructure Your Time
The key to battling stress, doing quality work, being able to relax, and maintaining positive relationships is effective time management. Spend a few moments thinking about how you want to feel.
Now, determine which parts of each day make you feel that way.
For example, if you want to feel at peace, ask yourself what times do you typically experience peace. Perhaps it’s in the morning or while getting lunch with a close friend. Maybe it’s while cooking dinner or practicing an artform.
Determine which parts in your day bring you closer to your truth and create time to do those things. Remember that we have more control over how we spend our days than we realize!
5. Cut Out Negativity From Your Past
If you are still reliving traumas from your past or continually thinking about negative scenarios that are no longer relevant, it’s time to overcome them. While many of our wounds can not be immediately resolved, it is important to take the necessary steps toward healing.
If this is work you feel you are unable to do on your own, enlist the help of a therapist.
Remember that you are always capable of letting go of past hurt and embracing the present. Your positive future awaits!
6. Practice Gratitude
The difference between bitterness and joy is often a matter of gratitude. If you want to live in a way that is healthy, happy, and peaceful, the first thing you have to learn is how to appreciate the good in your life.
Even on our worst days, there is always something to say ‘Thank You’ for.. a good meal, a kind stranger, a warm bed, another day sober.
Consider keeping yourself accountable by starting a gratitude journal. To do this, simply write down one thing each day that you are grateful for. You’ll be amazed by how your mental wellness improves.
7. Speak Kind Words to Yourself
The first step to practicing positive self-talk is to be mindful. Pay attention to what messages you are telling yourself.
Do you believe that you are unworthy? Unintelligent? Too much? Not enough?
If you are speaking any of these negative messages to yourself, you are far more likely to accept them from others.
The key to positive relationships is to first set a standard for how you speak to yourself, and you will carry that expectation into your interactions with those around you.
8. Clear Out Complaints
What negative things are you constantly thinking or talking about? While complaining may sometimes feel good, you are more likely to put negative energy into the world than actually make any positive progress.
Don’t give your problems any more control over your emotions. You have the power to overcome anything that is bothering you… If something needs to change, take action!
9. Start a New Wellness Ritual
When it comes to choosing an activity that will positively impact your mental health, the options are endless.
Consider taking up a ritual proven to calm the mind and reduce stress such as meditation or yoga.
- Find an artform that you enjoy
- Take up journaling
- Make your own bath and body products using essential oils
- Learn how to cook something new
Any of these activities will add joy to your life and give you something to look forward to!
10. Let Go of Perfection
If you are holding yourself to an unrealistic standard, you will never be able to find mental and emotional wholeness. Let go of your expectation for perfection.
You will always make mistakes! Aim to be your best self but be sure to give yourself grace when you fall short, as you inevitably will. This is a part of being human. Without our mistakes, there is no room for growth!
Alo House is LegitScript Certified and a Joint Commission Accredited Addiction Treatment Center.
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