Spring is here and it symbolises new beginnings, a fresh start, a renewal, or an awakening to many of us. Perhaps this is why we all give our homes a ritualistic thorough clean as soon as spring arrives to make sure our homes are perfectly clean for the start of the new season. Spring clean means decluttering, getting rid of what is no longer required, cleaning the cobwebs in untouched corners, and reorganising drawers and closets. Just like the spring clean of our physical spaces has therapeutic qualities, spring clean for our mental health can have the same effects. It is important to understand that decluttering and cleaning up your mind is just as important as a spring clean for the house. Have a read of the following articles on related topics:
a) 9 Ways to Have an Emotional Spring Clean.
b) Using Self-Hypnosis to Have an Emotional Spring Clean.
Giving the same attention to your mental health and emotional well-being as your house is equally important, if not more. It allows us to start the new season with a clean slate. So, with the weather finally warming up, let’s celebrate the arrival of many people’s favourite season by giving ourselves a psychological cleanup. Here are six simple ways you can get rid of any “mind weeds” or unnecessary stress that has been bothering you in order to help you have a spring clean for your mental health.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
“Prioritising good sleep is good self-love.” Having a good quality sleep contributes to you waking up more fresh, energetic, and with a healthier body and mind. As per the recommendations of the National Sleep Foundation, each healthy adult is advised to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours. Therefore, most people who sleep at least 7 to 8 hours generally have a more positive outlook on life and are more positive, less stressed, and in a better mood. In addition to this, sleeping well at night prevents you from feeling sluggish during the day and makes you more productive. Getting work done faster offers us the luxury to unwind, relax, and give ourselves some time to do nothing but sit back. This is a luxury not everyone enjoys.
We can utilise this extra time by either going for a walk, meditating, or taking a long bath. This time can be very therapeutic and essential for de-stressing and helps keep our mental health intact. In short, sleeping well at night saves us from feeling drowsy and dizzy during the day and makes us more efficient, which allows us to save some time for ourselves. That’s not it. Sleep has also been shown to help with improved memory retention. Sleeping well at night is very important for overall mental and emotional well-being. The research study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2018 signifies the importance of sleeping well. According to the results of the study, “a single night of sleep deprivation can cause beta-amyloid, a metabolic waste product, to accumulate in brain structures, including the amygdalae, which regulate mood, emotion, memory, and ability to learn and are implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
So, make sure you get a good night’s sleep because it can help you get that psychological clean for the mental health that you really need.
Exercising is another great way to revamp your self-care goals and give yourself the spring clean that is necessary for a fresh start. “Exercise not only changes your body, but it also changes your mind, your attitude, your mind.” in addition to more immediate benefits of exercising, which include weight management, reduced risk of health problems, stronger bones and muscles, psychological benefits of working out include lower stress and reduced risk of depression and anxiety. According to a research study conducted by Ashish Sharma and her colleagues, “Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.” Another study showed that adults who are fit experience less age-related cognitive decline as they grow older. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that working out makes people smarter. People who regularly exercise are more likely to ace their mental exams and have better memory and attention span. These studies clearly show how vital working out is for your mental health.
Exercising triggers the release of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are claimed to boost overall emotional well-being. You can also feel a rush of endorphins after a good exercise. Endorphins boost the feeling of well-being and can help uplift your food when you are down. Another benefit of exercise is that it can perk you up and give you an instantaneous shot of energy. Exercising can help you get rid of exhaustion by improving your blood flow and increasing your heart rate. Moreover, since physical activity helps you sleep better at night, it naturally raises your energy levels and keeps the feelings of sluggishness at bay.
- Practice mindfulness activities.
Practising mindfulness can help you in your quest to live more courageously. The aim of mindfulness exercises like meditation, yoga, some approaches to self-hypnosis and deep breathing exercises is to focus and live in the present moment and understand your present feelings. Mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery are scientifically proven to reduce depression and relax the body and mind. Simple mindfulness practice can make a big difference in how you see yourself and your life.
Moreover, studies have shown that meditation and breathing exercises can help you manage your stress and improve your attention span. Furthermore, research suggests that spending one-on-one time with yourself bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem. You also get to understand your thoughts and yourself better by spending some alone time with yourself, which helps you become more self-compassionate. Try meditating and other mindfulness exercises such as guided imagery to manage your stress and increase your self-awareness.
- Learn to manage stress.
Stress can take a total on your mental health and can drain you of all your energy, and can leave you both mentally and physically exhausted. So, discovering effective strategies that help you cope with the stress that works for you can actually be the key to reinvigorating your headspace. There are a number of ways you can manage your stress. These range from consumption of a healthy diet to practising mindfulness.
In order to cope with stress, try incorporating essential nutrients into your diet; when you experience prolonged stress, your body losses out on essential nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B. While magnesium aids in calming your nerves, vitamin B allows you to cope with stress. Try eating foods that are rich in magnesium since it helps make cortisol- stress hormone in your body. Dietitian Courtney Barth says, “Magnesium is hugely beneficial when it comes to reducing inflammation, metabolizing cortisol and relaxing the body and mind.” You can add more magnesium to your diet by eating avocados, broccoli, dark chocolate, and spinach. Adding these foods to your diet can definitely make you feel much less stressed. Nutritionist Joy McCarthy says incorporating vitamin C into your diet can also help you combat stress. According to her, “Your body also uses up a lot of vitamin C when you’re stressed because vitamin C helps to make cortisol.” Although foods rich in vitamin B, C, and protein all help to lower the level of stress, Barth says her “first-line of treatment” when it comes to de-stressing with food is magnesium-rich foods. So, if you want a fresh start this spring, eat foods rich in these essential nutrients, especially magnesium.
In order to manage your stress, you can also practice relaxation techniques. You can try meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxing exercises if you are trying to unwind.
Make physical activity a part of your daily routine. You may take up running, jogging, biking, or whatever aligns with your interests. Physical activity not only helps you stay active and fit but it also offers a plethora of mental health benefits. Daily exercising produces stress-relieving hormones in your body that have a positive effect on your mental well-being. Another way you can manage your stress is by trying to identify the source of your stress. Major stress contributors are money problems, traumatic events, relationship problems, and academic pressures. Acknowledging these stressors is the first step in trying to manage them. In order to control your stress, try asking yourself what you are afraid of. Discovering the things that cause you stress can help you in managing it by taking power from those things.
If you feel like you cannot manage stress on your own, don’t hesitate while seek help from your friends and family or from professional doctors. A high level of stress can take a toll on your overall well-being, and therefore, effective stress managing strategies are essential to optimise your mental health.
- Spend time in nature.
Spending time in nature is a good way to declutter and reorganise our headspace. The main motive behind being surrounded by nature is to feel the vastness and experience something greater than yourself. A surprising benefit of spending time in nature is its impact on immunity. Studies show that people who spend time outdoors are less likely to develop respiratory allergies. Going on a weekend camping trip can also help you connect with nature. Acknowledge and absorb the vastness and relax. The setting of the sun, a sky full of stars, and dancing aurora lights all offer you an opportunity to forget about all your worries and be amazed by the beauty nature has to offer. Moreover, spring is the perfect time to visit the wild and enjoy blossoming flowers. Ecotherapy validates the mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy, includes a set of practices that use nature to boost growth and healing. When surrounded by nature, try to be mindful of your environment. Focus on seeing, hearing, and feeling the things you might otherwise be too ignorant to notice. Feel the sand beneath your feet or hear the birds chirping. Live in the moment and give yourself a mental detox. Spending some quality time in nature can go a long way in bringing feelings of serenity, peace, and calm into your life. So, if you are looking for an internal spring clean, plan a day trip to a beach or just go for a hike.
- Start writing down your thoughts.
Using a diary to write down things is an effective practice when dealing with emotions or even when trying to manage the day to day life. Writing down your thoughts on paper is a good practice for organizing your thoughts and for getting rid of all the noise in your mind. Writing down how you feel can help you process your emotions more effectively, while listing down all the chores you have to do on a to-do list is a good practice for becoming more organized. Moreover, writing down things may help free up some mental space and improve your memory and focus.
Taking a psychological spring clean is a way to incorporate self-care into your life. Life can be very challenging and stressful, and sometimes a fresh start is exactly what we need. If you are feeling overwhelmed with life, try out the six tips we have shared in this article to spring clean your mental health; in our experience practising mindfulness exercises, learning how to manage stress, and exercising work best when you wish to create more mental clarity. So, this spring, try these six simple ways to help your mental health journey. After all, spring is the time for a change. Instead of a complete overhaul, take baby steps and carefully and consistently start building up your habits. Remember, everyone is different, and one fits all may not apply here. It is very well possible that the strategy that works for your friend doesn’t help you in your quest to optimize your mental health. Try out all these strategies and choose one or more that work for you and then make them a part of your daily routine.
Happy spring cleaning, everyone!!
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