You’ve purged your closet, organized that stack of mail sitting on your counter, and have already swept the floors in every room—what else can you do to complete your spring cleaning mission? What about your mental state, have you taken a moment to clear your head and get ready for the rest of your year? It’s easy to get bogged down by work, family life, and other outside stressors, and right now is a great time to clean out some of the mental distractions that are hanging around like cobwebs in your head.
First things first: make a conscious effort to cut out the negative language we use in our everyday lives. Reducing how often you respond negatively to a question or suggestion will help you feel empowered instead of overwhelmed or resentful of decisions you have to make. This task might seem impossible at first, but being aware of how you respond to others and your own inner dialogue will go a long way in changing your thought patterns. Start with yourself; don’t allow any self-criticism for an entire day. Did you forget to change an appointment or turn in a project at work? It’s ok, mistakes happen, and they’re not unforgivable. Before you make amends with your friends or boss, make one with yourself. Give yourself the chance to recognize your mistake so you can move forward and change your behavior accordingly.
Have you been feeling like your morning routine isn’t getting you energized for your big day ahead? It’s easy to feel drained all day when you haven’t taken steps to mentally get ready before heading out to work. Try setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than normal and use your extra time to quietly prepare for your day. There’s nothing calmer than sitting with a cup of coffee and reflecting on all of the tasks that you have to accomplish—it’s much easier to feel prepared if you’re not frantically running through a mental checklist while struggling to get out of the door on time. If you’re looking for a physical boost, try setting your alarm back a half an hour so you can go on a brisk walk before getting ready for your day. You don’t have to put in a full, sweaty exercise to reap the benefits of this health boost.
Finally, as your day winds down, make it a point to set firm boundaries on your smart phone, email, Facebook habits before bedtime. With how much information is available at our fingertips these days, it’s too easy to become sucked into an endless feed of pictures, status updates, and trivial news. It might seem as if you have to immediately respond to the emails collecting in your inbox (and yes, sometimes you do!) but try to ask yourself: do I really have to get back to this person right now? If not, it might be beneficial to let your response wait until morning. A great way to disengage yourself from your mindless online browsing is to charge your phone in any room except your bedroom. If you use your phone as an alarm, you can buy an inexpensive alarm clock and use that instead. Without the constant buzzing as a distraction, you’ll be able to unwind with your partner or read a book in bed. These actions will help you fall asleep quickly and soundly.
Don’t be afraid to spring clean some of your pesky mental health habits this year. Breaking up with your routine can inspire positive change, and you’ll feel just as sunny as the weather if you take our tips as your guide.