With spring now officially here, I always feel compelled to declutter and clean my house (a mood that does not strike often!)
Spring has always been my favorite time of year. The arrival of spring feels like a new beginning. It is about freshness, new life, and life lived anew.
I have always found the ritual of spring cleaning to be an important one. In addition to making my house more pleasant to live in, there’s more to this ritualistic refreshing than just our living spaces. It can also be an opportunity to open our internal windows to release the stale and tired emotions we’ve been carrying.
Even though it might be more difficult than cleaning out a cupboard or even a garage, spring cleaning can (and should) extend to decluttering our minds. If you are feeling overwhelmed, have little capacity to take on new information and/or you are struggling to focus, there is no better time than the present to perform a mental spring cleaning.
Here are ten ways to initiate the internal spring-cleaning process…
Change your routines
Wipe away the old, daily routines you’ve been following and replace them with a few new ways of doing things. Our lives become boring and stale when we do the same things day in and day out. To paraphrase William Glasser:
"If we always do what we've always done, then we're going to get what we've always got."
Let the fresh air in
Open your windows to let in fresh thoughts and perspectives. Get outside into the sunshine. Sunlight is essential to mental health, as is movement and deep breathing. Take a walk in the spring air, and spend time sitting quietly in mindful contemplation. Your brain will love this cleansing treatment.
De-clutter your working memory
“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday’s clutter” - Louise Smith
Our working memory is a short-term storage facility for any tasks that need reasoning, comprehension or learning. BUT it can only hold so much before “decision fatigue” sets in. To combat decision fatigue, you can “pre decide” some of the simpler decisions that you make every day. Our brain loves being on autopilot. Create a routine that works for you and free up space for those bigger decisions that require more energy.
Spruce up your surroundings
Spring cleaning for your brain involves adding things that enhance your life. Think about what activities and experience make you feel your best, and why. Identify and pursue passions. Add hobbies. Strengthen relationships. Create and do things that make you feel happy and alive.
Develop Healthier Habits
Developing positive new habits go a long way in helping us declutter our brain. When we wake up on time, eat well, sleep seven hours every night, and exercise regularly, we feel good about ourselves, mentally and physically.
When we focus on bettering ourselves, we send a positive message to our brains. Positive messaging leads to increased self-esteem and reduces negative talk, which otherwise creates clutter in our mind and zaps our energy.
Re-define your core values
When you are clear on the values you hold most dear, it is easier to discover where and how your life doesn’t reflect those values. Take time to get clear on what the most important, non-negotiable driving principles of your life are. Remember - your values can change over time. This is a good time to clear out the old values and reinforce those that are most important to you right now.
Shine up your attitude
When we become accustomed to complaining, worrying, and seeing the glass half empty - we can easily miss the beauty of our everyday lives. Find three things to be grateful for each day and shift your attention from what is going wrong in your life, to what is going right.
Smell is a powerful sense with the ability to stimulate memories, positively affect your mood, and/or induce relaxation. Smell has a direct effect on the brain, so using it in your spring-cleaning rituals is a game-changer. Essential oils can be used in many ways to enhance wellbeing. Experiment with oil burners, diffusers, lotions, sprays, and more. And remember to choose oils that will be good for your brain and unique needs.
Clear the fog
Nutrition is crucial for proper brain functioning. When we don’t consume proper nutrients, we can develop brain fog in the form of sluggishness, slower thinking and memory loss. A spring-cleaning ritual that involves eating healthy foods, taking vitamin and mineral supplements (with your doctor’s approval), and drinking plenty of water will boost your wellbeing.
Forgive and Forget
If there's only one thing you do to spring clean your mind, then letting go of mental baggage like resentments, regrets, grudges, and disappointments is surely the most helpful. Holding onto past emotions and judging yourself or others for the past takes up unnecessary emotionally and mental space which can negatively impact your life. When we forgive and forget, we create more mental clarity and allow for more helpful, positive emotions to shine through.
Here’s to a clean and clear spring! Wishing you good health, clean homes, mental clarity, and the happiest of days ahead.