Every year, the Earth comes back from its wintry dead, the days lengthen, crocuses burst out of the soil, and people are inspired to spring clean their homes. Because we're part of nature, we're wired to work with its rhythms, so it's no wonder that we're inspired to make some changes when the warm weather rolls around again and everything starts to grow back.
But as we know, change starts from both the outside and the inside, and the body and mind work together. So as you're spring cleaning your home, you might be wondering how to do a little spring cleaning of your soul.
Here are 7 ways to ready your mind for spring:
1. Set aside time to unplug
The Internet is great. It allows us to connect with others and to access unlimited information. But it also can be immensely exhausting and draining. Your social life won't suffer if you take a few hours away from your phone and laptop, we promise, and the world will keep spinning on without you whether or not you check the latest election results. The Internet is incredibly addictive, so doing intentional social media cleanses for a few weeks at a time can also help.
2. Do some creative work
We're all in the middle of creative projects that we keep saying we'll finish someday, but why not make today that day? And when was the last time you sat down and created simply for the joy of the work, without any finished product in mind? This spring, perhaps coinciding with your social media break, set aside some time each day or week depending on your schedule to just let your creative energies flow.
Meditation is hard. For some of us, it's almost impossible to quiet down our thoughts, and sitting still can also be a challenge. Fortunately, there are lots of different ways to meditate. You can try meditating while lying down, or do a walking meditation or use a guided meditation, or pick a mantra or idea to focus on while you're meditating. Starting with just a few minutes every other day is a great way to begin forming a new habit that devotees swear will benefit you in the long run.
4. Make a list
If you feel like your mind is full of endless thoughts and projects that are incessantly buzzing in your ears, it can help to take time to write them all out. Avoid messy to-do lists, though; instead, try writing out everything in one journal and then organize them into a cohesive list. There are a million ways to organize your to-dos, but an easy strategy is to separate them into "must-dos" for the day, "must-dos" for the week, and then "can-do" short tasks that you can cross off, and finally, a section for "someday" projects.
In general, journaling is a great habit to be in. Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" suggests writing five pages of morning thoughts every morning, but you could also simply spend an afternoon writing out all your messy, chaotic, disorganized thoughts, spilling them onto the page so you can begin the next day with a blank slate.
5. Leave behind self-doubt and self pity
Self-pity can take up a huge space in our brains, and though letting go of old negative thought patterns is easier said than done, the springtime is the perfect place to release weighty, guilty feelings and to understand that though you can't change the past, you can learn from your mistakes and grow in the future.
6. Treat your body right
Sometimes, change can happen from the outside-in, and the way you treat your body obviously makes a huge difference in how your mind feels. Treat yourself to your favorite kind of exercise, sleep, grab some berries from the supermarket, moisturize, pop some vitamins, and try to set yourself up so that these things are just part of your life. It can help to pay attention to how your body and mind feel during these activities instead of focusing on their outcome or your shortcomings in these matters.
7. Try therapy
Therapy can be so helpful, especially if you have thoughts that you need to get out. There are all different kinds of therapists and therapies, and it can take a while to find one that's right for you, but think about it—what's the point in investing in expensive vacations and the like if you're not also investing in your own mental health?