The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.
It’s about that time again…
The clock has sprung forward.
The ice is melting. (Maybe? Eventually…?)
The floral prints and pastel candies are everywhere.
And for many of us, that means it’s also time for spring cleaning.
But, as good as it feels to clear our homes of clutter and excess, clearing our lives of emotional junk can feel even better.
So, as long as you’re rounding up items around the house to donate, here’s a roundup of 5 areas of your life that might benefit from a little (emotional) spring cleaning:
1) Spring cleaning your goals
Remember all those goals you set at the start of the year?
How’s it going so far?
Chances are, you’ve been able to remain consistent with one or more changes you’ve made.
But if you’ve struggled to make progress toward some of the other goals you set for yourself… don’t be too hard on yourself.
Not only is this totally normal. It also could be a signal that you need to change things up a bit.
- Review the goal itself. Is it clearly defined?
- Break it down. Do you have everything you need to start working towards this goal? Is it broken down into manageable pieces? Is there a clear first step to take?
- Assess your “why”. If you mindfully set this goal in the first place, you likely tied it to a strong purpose (or “why”). Does this “why” still fit the goal, or have things changed?
- Be honest with yourself. It may be that this particular goal simply doesn’t align with your values anymore. That’s not a failure; it’s natural growth. Relax and give yourself permission to let this one go.
- Ask for help if you need it. Working with a therapist can help you clarify your goals and get on track to making lasting changes.
2) Spring cleaning your habits
(And perhaps there’s an unhealthy habit or two that keep getting in your way.)
With so much to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
So, when it comes to assessing your habits this spring, it might help to think in categories.
- What are my sleep habits? How can I alter my routine so I start each day feeling more rested?
- What are my financial habits? What is one change I can make to bring more peace and consistency to my finances?
- What are my work habits? What is one shift I can make to reduce stress and increase my enjoyment?
- What are my physical activity habits? Is there a new type of movement I want to try?
3) Spring cleaning your self-care
No matter who you are, self-care is an essential component of emotional wellness.
Self-care reduces stress.
It restores and re-energizes.
It enables us to show up as our best selves for our loved ones, our work, and everything else, too.
Think of the oxygen mask on an airplane as a metaphor for self-care:
Only when your own mask is secured can you assist those around you.
- Pull up your calendar. Are self-care activities represented there, along with your other responsibilities? They should be.
- Go with the flow. Consistent self-care is key, so don’t overthink this. If a certain strategy is working well for you, keep it up!
- Challenge yourself. Balance out your favorites with some new-to-you strategies.
- Outsource as needed. If you could use some help creating a self-care plan you love, consider consulting with a therapist for support.
- Pass it on. Feeling the effects of a solid self-care game? Share it with the people around you, so they can enjoy the benefits, too!
4) Spring cleaning your relationships
For better or worse, we’re profoundly influenced by the company we keep.
Depending on your current circumstances, this might be welcome news…
…or a wake-up call.
Relationships are complex, no doubt, and there are countless reasons we may maintain ties that no longer serve us.
Taking honest stock of your relationships may not be easy.
But, when it comes to your emotional wellness, life’s too short not to.
- Think of the people you spend the most time with.
- Do they represent the relationships that you value most?
- How do you feel when you’re with them?
- Review each “friend” and “follower” on the social media platforms you use.
- Is this someone you do/would spend time with in real life?
- What value does this connection bring to your life?
- How do you feel when they appear in your feed?
- Make the necessary changes.
- Are you unhappy or unsafe in a relationship? Consider (and seek help if needed) making arrangements to leave.
- Is there a relationship you wish to grow or deepen? Initiate contact and make it a priority.
5) Spring cleaning your time
Author Bob Goff writes that “the battle for our hearts is fought on the pages of our calendar.”
When you look at your calendar (or your To Do list, or your Google search history…)
…what do you see?
- Be mindful of the ways you spend your time.
- Set healthy limits (e.g., with loved ones, at holidays, when asked for favors) around your energy.
- Think broadly about the demands on your time.
- What grudges or resentments can you let go of?
- What past mistakes or hurts need forgiveness?
- What unfair expectations are you holding yourself or others to?
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Ready to connect with a therapist to help jump-start your emotional spring cleaning?