Spring Cleaning for the Mind

For many, spring is the time for massive spring cleanings of homes and yards. Drapes are washed. Carpets are shampooed. Planters are refreshed and reseeded. Spring is a time for regrowth and renewal.

But what about our mental health?

Amidst all of the focus on cleaning things out and renewal, spring is a great time to do a little “spring cleaning” of some of the mental dirt we accumulate in our minds and hearts. Decluttering negativity and drama from our lives and rejuvenating positive endeavors, such as creative projects, helps us start off the new spring season refreshed, and ready to better ourselves. So while you’re polishing silverware, here are some items to add to your mental health spring cleaning list.

DECLUTTER

 Toxic relationships and drama
It is never a good time to hold onto friendships or relationships with people who seem to constantly put everything down. Though it may not always be obvious, other people’s negativity and instigation of drama only results in exhausting our own emotional reservoirs. So though it may be hard, say goodbye to toxic friendships. It is never wrong for a relationship to no longer “fit” who you are as a person.

 Bad habits
Take the time to eliminate bad habits that are counterproductive to your well-being. This can be something as minor as eating poorly, to something as major as getting sober from a substance addiction. Just focus on one bad habit at a time, and take your time with it. Many behaviors take 30 days of consecutive action to fully become a habit. Stay positive and keep heart.

 Negative talk
Now is also the time to get rid of any tendencies to gossip or constantly complain. Though occasionally venting can be good for getting rid of stress, constantly complaining and verbalizing old hurts only allows those feelings to continue bogging down our mental health. Don’t be the toxic friend who is always wallowing in the negative.

 Negative thoughts
Spring is a good time to also get rid of any self-deprecating thoughts and self-doubt. Often times, our very own potential for greatness and possibility for achievement is ruined by our own thoughts. We don’t express confidence in our abilities, and tell ourselves, “I can’t,” or “I’m not good enough.” Nothing ever comes from this type of thinking other than a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t let negative thoughts get in the way of dreams.

 Your physical space
It’s an old cliché. Clean house, clear head. But there’s more wisdom to the old adage than it may seem. Things take up mental space. When we have a closet full of junk, we waste brain power on where to store things rather than on more important matters. Furthermore, more stuff means more things to take care of. The effort spent in repairing and cleaning takes up time and resources. Eventually, we find ourselves in a constant state of having to get stuff done for our stuff, rather than having any free time to just relax.

REJUVENATE

Your physical health
We’ve heard it a thousand times by now. The key to better mental health resides in maintaining good physical health. If you’re suffering from a mental illness like depression, maintaining physical health can seem exhausting and impossible. However, despite how difficult it might feel, taking care of your physical health beneficiates your mental health. Small actions, such as taking a walk on a sunny day, drinking more water, or eating less sugary foods and drinks, all add up to a healthier overall.

Gratitude
While getting rid of all those negative thoughts, now is a great time to refocus on things that make us grateful. It could be living sober, friends or councilors, or maybe just the great weather. Focus on gratitude to improve your mental health.

Creative projects
Have you always wanted to learn the guitar? What about painting? Indulging our creative desires can do wonderful things for our well-being. Spend some time learning a new instrument. Carry a sketchbook or journal with you so that you can draw or write whenever inspiration hits you. Let your creativity thrive, and explore where it takes you.

Positive friendships 
Nothing feels better than a good belly laugh. Find those friends that keep you laughing and support you, and nurture those relationships. Past good friendships gone to the wayside? Take steps to revitalize those friendships. We covered some tips on how to repair relationships in our Valentine’s Day blog.

Mindfulness
Spring is a great time to “take stock” of our mental state. Reflecting and being aware of our thoughts and feelings allows us to be better prepared to handle any life stresses and be more in-tuned with ourselves.

So for this spring, have a productive spring clean of both your house and your mind. It is our hope that Portland’s mental health starts off the new season refreshed and revitalized.

 

Ned Redmond