Mental Spring Cleaning You Can Do Year-Round

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Each year the feeling is palpable when the weather takes that glorious shift from crisp winter air to a warm spring breeze. This seasonal shift from winter to spring sets more in motion than blooming flowers — it’s a prime time each year to refresh as the spring season begins. Which means…

Spring cleaning.

And while cleaning up your physical space can be refreshing in its own way, what about taking a mental inventory?

In the same way we fall into messy physical habits that need to be cleaned up, we can just as easily fall into habits of thought that leave our mental well-being neglected and in need of some extra care.

The heaviness of winter can feel disabling physically and mentally. Those gray winter days can cause your mind become foggy and you lose proper perspective of yourself.

Maybe it’s the thoughts that arise when you think about bathing suit season being just around the corner. Or your self-doubt has grown over these chilly months and you don’t feel deserving of a promotion at work. Perhaps you haven’t been able to shake the feeling of loneliness you’ve had ever since the holidays.

You can unintentionally give your thoughts power by simply not refusing them. And without recognizing it, negativity can hibernate comfortably all winter long only to bloom right in step with spring.

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So it’s a perfect time to clean house. Clear your mind of those thoughts and mentalities that have been weighing you down because a new season (or any season, really) calls for refreshment.

If you’re not sure how to identify those mental cobwebs, here are three simple ways to begin:

1. Pay attention.

Sometimes we don’t realize the negativity we’ve allowed into our everyday thoughts. Have you put an unnecessary amount of it on yourself?

This can take many forms, but for most, unconscious negativity can come out through self-deprecating “jokes.” If you’ve taught yourself to laugh off such mental commentary at your own expense, first acknowledge it. To recognize when you’re falling into negative patterns better enables you to reshape those thoughts into positive ones. Root out any toxic words that may have seeped into your daily thoughts and be proactive about moving forward in kindness toward yourself, learning from any mistakes.

2. Put pen to paper.

Being able to write out feelings through the best and worst times of your life allows you to notice what habits have and haven’t worked well for you. You can notice trends in how you’ve responded to different life events, which can help you better understand your emotional needs. One of the many benefits to journaling is that it can help you slow down and process at the end of a long day or even season.

Do you struggle with journaling? Try writing to yourself. Write yourself the reassurance you would give to a friend experiencing the same pessimism.

3. Find something new.

Maybe one of the issues you’re having is a feeling of stagnation in life. It’s easy to get stuck in bad or even just familiar patterns that keep yourself from growing. If that’s the case, then it’s time to get moving. Whether it’s traveling (even around your hometown), picking up a new hobby or tackling a career change, focus on finding what helps you wake up and feel alive mentally.

Every season of life brings change and often we don’t realize how much we’ve been affected — for good and for bad — until we stop to check in with ourselves. Learn to regularly say “hey” to your inner self in order to avoid internal clutter.

Spring officially begins on March 20th. What helps you shift gears at the start of a new season?

Images via Nick Glover

Leslie likes to consider herself a walking SNL encyclopedia. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, has crushes on used bookstores, drinks a lot of tea, and dreams of being a writer. She wants to laugh a lot and do what she can to help people in need.

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