As people around the world find themselves indoors and with a bit more time on their hands, some of us may experience a strong desire for some change and some spring cleaning. When things in our environment feel out of our control, it’s helpful to develop healthy self-soothing practices, and improving the livability of our space is an effective coping strategy.
Simply by maintaining a well-organized space we can benefit from an improved sense of clarity and calm. After all, Marie Kondo’s approach of asking oneself “Does this spark joy?” helped millions of people shed mounds of clutter that was weighing them down.
But what about the clutter taking up space in our minds? Necessary self-isolation means we’re not able to maintain normal interactions with our support systems. Many of us have family, health, job or financial worries which leads to increased anxiety, stress, depression, and loneliness. Maybe we’re also dealing with grief because a loved one has been affected by the virus.
Below are some practical tips you can implement to clear the unnecessary and unhelpful clutter from your mind.
1. Start with 1% for your spring cleaning
The important thing is to not get overwhelmed and attempt to change everything at once; that’s where people often fail. Start with the least daunting activity and begin putting everything into perspective. Fifteen minutes is only 1% of your day, so reframe it in your mind like you are only taking 1% of your day to make a significant improvement to your overall health.
Each morning is a brand new start and a whole new beginning. Don’t take the past with you today; wake up with a clean slate.
Slowly start to implement this 1% into your regular routine and you’ll begin to see (and feel) improvements in your life:
In the Morning: Each morning is a brand new start and a whole new beginning. Don’t take the past with you today; wake up with a clean slate.
Use your morning to honor and connect with a shared sense of humanity. Shift your mindset by sending loving compassion to each person you pass on your drive or walk. Sending loving energy to others can quickly shift your consciousness from the negative to the positive, and shift your mind away from anxiety you were feeling.
In the Evening: Each evening, cleanse your mind and prepare yourself for sleep. Don’t drag mental baggage from the day around with you into bed, especially as you wind down.
For those of us who are working or staying exclusively at home, we no longer have this physical separation of work and home. Try to implement your own physical reset. If you can, leave your home and simply walk once around the block. Once you pass the threshold or your front door or building, commit to leaving your stress, anxiety, worry or sadness at the door.
Meditation, yoga, physical fitness, reading, and/or cooking are all great spring cleaning activities that can help bridge the gap between your daily activities to winding down at home. Instead of answering emails all day and evening, set yourself a time to officially unplug, just as you would when you turn off your computer for the night and head home.
Meditation, yoga, physical fitness, reading, and/or cooking are all great spring cleaning activities that can help bridge the gap between your daily activities to winding down at home.
2. Designate time to reflect
Have you ever noticed the more you try to avoid a negative feeling, the more powerful it seems to become? When negative emotions like sadness, anxiety, depression, grief or worry become overwhelming we can reduce their impact by leaning in.
You can combat this by setting aside a few moments a day to let yourself acknowledge and be curious about your negative emotions. Are you resentful because you haven’t communicated your needs? Are you holding onto past heartbreak? Are you projecting your fear onto others and imagining a dark future?
Physical space allows room for mental space, so decluttering your personal space can serve as a symbolic way to rid your mind of negative thoughts.
Get curious about your feelings, validate them, and see how there are solutions available to you. Once your designated reflection time is up, commit to moving through your day with the positive energy of increased insight into the things that bring down your mood.
Paradoxically, you may find that by experiencing and appreciating your negative emotions instead of trying to escape them or drown in them, you start to feel wiser and stronger.
3. Adopt powerful mantras
Personal mantras are an excellent way to refocus and reaffirm relaxing, positive emotions. Some favorites are “Life starts now”, “Now is the only moment that matters”, “Life flows through me in this moment, and in each moment”, and “Everything I need already exists within me”. Pick a focus affirmation that resonates and feels most natural to you.
Whatever combination of words that feels right and good is your mantra. Your mantra can evolve over time to best suit you in any given moment or circumstance.
Personal mantras are an excellent way to refocus and reaffirm relaxing, positive emotions.
4. Organize & declutter
Physical space allows room for mental space, so decluttering your personal space can serve as a symbolic way to rid your mind of negative thoughts. Pick one corner of the room or one drawer and begin to declutter or organize. The goal is to eliminate what no longer serves you.
Try the Marie Kondo approach and ask yourself honestly: “Does this Spark Joy?” If it doesn’t then thank it for serving its purpose, retire it, and allow yourself to let it go. Your newly cleansed and transformed physical space can help you feel lighter, calmer and more at ease.
Decluttering your personal space can serve as a symbolic way to rid your mind of negative thoughts.
5. Give back to the universe during spring cleaning
Once you’ve decluttered and organized your space you may have some things to pass on that are still in good condition. By donating something, buying something or investing in something related to your own wellbeing you’re promoting the flow of money or things throughout the universe.
Why cling to something that you don’t need when it could flow through and potentially improve someone else’s life? Your conscientious donation aligns with and maintains the ever changing flow of the universe.
Your Turn: How do you like to spring clean your mindset? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below.