Spring is often referred to the season of new beginnings. We often find ourselves more energized, spending more time outdoors, and seeing much, much more color outside. Many begin the season by deep cleaning and decluttering their homes. However, we don’t often take this same approach to out mental health. Why not? Our mental space is just as important as our physical space. Can we really enjoy our decluttered closets if our minds are cluttered with stressors? It’s important to give our mind, bodies, and soul the same level of attention that we give our living spaces.
The season of new beginnings marks a point in which we can create new routines, find an activity we love, and cleanse our minds, bodies, and souls. Some ways in which you can do this are scheduling time for yourself, finding a hobby, exercising, and releasing negative thoughts and emotions.
Scheduling Time for Yourself:
Self-care is essential. We hear this over and over, but we don’t always listen. Practicing self-care has been proven to combat burnout, increase productivity, and minimize stress. Carving out even just 30 minutes a day for your mind, body, and soul can help you to live a happier and healthier life. But how do we schedule time for ourselves when our lives are cluttered with what feels like never ending responsibilities and obligations?
By making time for yourself a priority, you will be more apt to use it. If you are somebody who enjoys scheduling and organizing, try adding it to your daily routine. It can be at any point during your day (and it doesn’t have to be at the same time every day!). If you don’t particularly follow a set schedule, think ahead to when you might have free time to spend for yourself.
Find a Hobby:
Ok, you scheduled time for yourself, but what do you do with it now? Find a new hobby or reconnect with an old one! Either way, spend time doing something that creates joy.
Love music? Try learning to play a new instrument or dusting off that guitar you used to play all the time. Enjoy cooking or baking? Try making a new recipe or whip up those cookies you love. What about art? Work on a painting, break out a sketch book, or even invest in an adult coloring book! How about reading? Reread your favorite book, flip through a magazine, or start that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand or bookshelf.
There are so many things you may find joyful, and you don’t have to pick just one. Just because you picked baking today, doesn’t mean you can’t try reading a new book tomorrow! If you have never tried baking or did something yesterday that didn’t spark joy, that’s okay too. Be patient with yourself, allow yourself to try new things, and most important of all: allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to color outside of the lines or mess up a note while learning a new instrument. Be patient with yourself!
Exercise is extremely important for our physical and mental health. When we exercise, our brains release endorphins, which promote a feeling of well-being. Exercise does not require a gym membership, nor does it have to be overly strenuous or dreadful.
With the weather getting warmer, try going for a walk! Walks can be a great way to spend some time outside. We spend a huge chunk of our time at work, inside at home, or out and about running errands. Being outside also helps boost vitamin D from exposure to sunlight (don’t forget your SPF!). Vitamin D can help to regulate your mood and lower depression.
You can also try yoga. Yoga has been proved to have a multitude of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits and you don’t have to be a pro to try it out! While it can help increase strength, balance, and flexibility, yoga can also lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, and promote better sleep. Yoga can also help you to focus on your mind, promote mindfulness, and find peace. Simple stretching is also a great way to get in some exercise. No matter how you choose to exercise, getting yourself moving has innumerable benefits for your mind, body, and soul!
Releasing Negative Thoughts and Emotions:
It can be hard to enjoy the time you set aside for yourself if your mind is flooded with negative thoughts and emotions. By practicing some ways to release these negative thoughts and emotions, you can help to ensure that you enjoy your “me” time.
Try journaling or mindfulness meditation! Journaling can help to remove some of these negative feelings by putting them on paper. It sounds almost too simple to be true, but journaling can help you become more self-aware. Journaling can also help to release pent up feelings, clear your mind, and let go of negative thoughts. You don’t have to be a journalist to journal! Just grab a pen and paper and write whatever comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind, try writing what you had for breakfast or what you did yesterday to get the thoughts rolling.
Mindfulness meditation helps to slow down our racing minds, release negative thoughts, and calm both your mind and body. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgement. However, if you have never meditated before, how do you start? Try following a guided meditation. There’s an abundance of guided meditations on Youtube (a few of which I’ve included below). The most important thing is to find a quiet and comfortable place and to be patient with yourself.
As mentioned before, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be just for your home. Taking time for yourself is just as important as cleaning out that closet! And don’t forget, you can do this during every season!
Guided Mindfulness Meditations:
- Daily Calm | 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation | Be Present: https://youtu.be/ZToicYcHIOU
- Mindfulness Meditation – Guided 10 Minutes https://youtu.be/6p_yaNFSYao
By, Julia Cornman, EAP Counselor Intern