03/28/2018 Mind-Body Health
Spring is the perfect time to make some changes to better yourself and your life. Focus not just on your home and office, but also on cleaning your body and mind.
Spring is a time of renewal and cleansing, making it the perfect season for deep cleaning the house and organizing desk drawers. But why stop there?
While a clean and organized living space can be beneficial on its own, the same cleansing principals can be applied to your body and mind. And what better time for restoration than after winter when you’re most in need of energy—both physically and mentally?
Springtime provides an opportunity to rid yourself of the things that no longer serve you, such as negative thinking patterns you have held on to for too long or those 20 extra pounds you could do without. Perhaps you want to start eating healthier, switch careers, manage stress and anxiety better, or organize your office.
The Problem with Clutter
A messy home or office isn’t just unsightly, but may also pose harm to your mental health. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Huffington Post, 47 percent of stressed Americans reported worrying about their house not being clean or organized enough as major triggers of stress. Clutter, specifically, was named as one of the biggest culprits behind participants’ elevated stress levels.
Clutter can drain your mental energy and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Cluttered items may be things from your past that you consistently ruminate over, which can lead to feelings of depression. Or you may worry about tossing out and finally parting with items.
An unclean home can also trigger respiratory issues when there is a buildup of environmental allergens, mold, and mildew. (Note: Cleaning products that contain chemicals, irritating scents, and other toxins can cause further irritation, making natural products a safer choice).
Tips for Home Cleaning
When you are more organized, you can feel less stressed and overwhelmed, have more energy, and exhibit better focus. Here are a few tips for achieving these benefits:
- Start small: If you set out to clean the whole house top to bottom in one day, you’re inevitably going to get overwhelmed. Start with something manageable, like organizing a set of drawers for example, when you have a little bit of free time. (Trying to organize when you’re in the middle of completing five of other tasks will likely lead to even more stress).
- Be consistent: Consistently performing small organizational tasks, such as filing bills as you pay them or cleaning dishes as you use them, will not only become habit but can make a big difference over time. When you let even the smallest of tasks go, they accumulate until eventually they turn into a big job that overwhelms you. You can avoid this by developing better habits.
- Discard what you can: Throw away items you don’t need and are able to part with. Clutter is a big source of stress for many. By decluttering your living space, you’re creating both physical and mental space. Donate old clothing, toss out expired items, and discard any paperwork you no longer need.
- Buy storage bins, folders, or other organizational tools: Organizational tools can be especially helpful if you find you’re having a hard time letting things go. Store items in labeled bins or create a filing system for bills and/or other personal and professional paperwork. Home goods or office supply stores offer a variety of ways to make cleaning and organizing easier.
Tips for Reviving Physical Health
No need to worry if winter has left you feeling sluggish and out of shape. The cold temperatures typically mean spending more time indoors, which encourages less physical activity and unhealthy food choices. However, spring is a great time to get back on track as temperatures rise and the sun is more likely to shine. The following are ways to revive your physical routine and leave you feeling reenergized and refreshed after a long winter.
- Choose an activity to do outdoors: Whether it’s gardening, walking, jogging, or playing tennis, find something that will get you outdoors and in motion.
- Try something different to get you moving: You may not be an enthusiastic gym goer. For some, working out can feel like a chore. Take up something different: try a dance class, go for a swim, or ride a bike. Choosing novel and enjoyable ways to stay in shape can make exercise seem less daunting.
- Incorporate more “good stuff” into your diet: If you’re unhappy with your current diet, start slowly incorporating healthier foods in, such as fruits and vegetables, which has a way of naturally crowding out the bad stuff such as sugar and processed foods.
- Develop better sleeping habits: Quality sleep can do the body wonders. Try going to bed and waking up around the same time each night. Develop healthy bedtime habits such as reading or journaling to encourage quality sleep. Also, put away all electronics an hour or two before bed.
Tips for Mentally Recharging
By cleaning your living area and bettering your physical health, you will indirectly improve your mental health. But there are a number of other ways to enhance your mood and feel better mentally and emotionally this spring.
- Let go of unhealthy thinking patterns: You often hold on to negative thinking patterns because they are familiar to you and provide a false sense of security. But by letting them go, you create space for healthier thoughts and behaviors. Meditating can help you become more aware of your thoughts and identify which ones are particularly harmful.
- Start a journal: Putting your thoughts to paper is a great way to purge of anything that may be bothering you or holding you back. First thing in the morning after you’ve awakened is an ideal time to journal. You may be surprised by some of the thoughts and ideas you have stored away. Once you’re aware of them, you can then begin to address them.
- Reconnect with others: It is not uncommon to go into hibernation mode in the winter. Because it takes more effort (and layers) to go out, you may find yourself spending more time watching Netflix than engaging in meaningful conversation with those you care about. Make an effort to get out and reconnect with society. Meet a friend for dinner. Read a book at your regular coffeehouse. Reacquaint yourself with the world around you.
- Make time for the things that fulfill you: Ever notice how the things you enjoy often give you a burst of energy? When you’re fully engaged in an enjoyable experience, you typically find yourself feeling energized as a result (not to mention happier!). Whether it’s hiking in nature, going for a swim, or offering your time to a family or friend in need, make it a priority to spend your time wisely, doing more of what you love with those you love.
These tips will help you take advantage of spring’s blossoming; nature’s reminder of the power of renewal. But don’t limit yourself to following these suggestions only in spring. Embed these activities in your life and make them habits you can depend on.
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