Spring Clean your mind

This time of year is associated with having a big overhaul of our homes, decluttering and leaving everything organised and sparkling for another year. We traditionally have used this time to reset our surroundings, but what about our minds? Here are some ideas for you. 

Decluttering

Our minds can feel full and overloaded and using ‘brain dumps’ can be remarkably useful to reduce your stress levels and help you feel more in control. Here’s how …

  • Take out a pen and paper and write down the things that are on your mind – wants, stresses and concerns, things you are avoiding doing, tasks to do, etc. The process of writing these things down helps to stop them flying around in your brain and making you feel overwhelmed. 
  • Take some quiet time to look through these lists and work out what you need to tackle and how you’ll do this. Some things will be easy and more challenging thoughts or feelings might require speaking to family, friends or a therapist to resolve. 

Media consumption

That old phrase “you are what you eat” is useful when it comes to reviewing your media consumption. Have a look at the bullet points below and see if there are some changes you need to make to your habits.

  • Do you find yourself spending longer than you’d like idly browsing social media, perhaps doom scrolling or noticing you’re comparing yourself and your life unfavourably to others glossy social media accounts? Social media can be pretty addictive and is known to reduce happiness levels in those that indulge for long periods of time. By asking yourself, is this making me happy and if not reducing your time or unsubscribing, you can gain extra hours in your week and treat yourself to a social media holiday. 
  • Do you Are you gripped to the news on TV or social media? In this age of immediate information, we can have a constant stream of news at our fingertips with up to the minute updates. However, its important to recognise that the vast majority of news is inherently ‘bad news’ and this toxic exposure can have a lasting effect on our mood. Is there a way for you to stay informed, if that is important to you, without being overloaded?

Habits

Just as we might retire a winter coat at this time of year, let’s look at what mental habits are working for us and what we’d like to let go of. Are you regularly exhausted by late nights and maybe want to look at how you can prioritise sleep? Do you avoid social events due to anxiety and want to speak to a counsellor about how you can manage this? Do you find art therapeutic and calming but never do it because your supplies are in boxes in the garage? This will be individual for each of us and thinking through what gets in the way of what we want can help us understand how to remove the obstacles. 

In her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”, Marie Kondo shares her approach to reorganising and reducing one’s possessions, by mindfully working through each one and asking if it ‘sparks joy’. If it’s useless or has outlived its purpose, if it no longer sparks joy, you can let it go. In the same way, stepping back and looking at our mental health – looking at what is working for us and what is hindering us – can open us up to more joy in our lives. 

“The first step in crafting a life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t”

-Joshua Becker

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