Spring cleaning is a part of many cultural and religious practices and there is a good reason for this.
Apart from the idea that spring cleaning helps us declutter our home and create a cleaner home environment, spring cleaning is a good opportunity to purge your mind and body of unwanted baggage that makes us feel sluggish, tired or low in mood.
This post outlines some simple and effective ways we can all take to declutter our minds and body and inject a new lease of life.
1. Get a good night sleep
We have all experienced the morning after a terrible night's sleep; it can put us in a foul mood and make our thinking foggy. Sleep disruption causes many issues with our health and wellbeing, especially if it turns from the occasional night's disturbance to sleep deprivation.
The benefits of a good night are well documented, but they include: improving memory enhancement, concentration, and aiding energy. Sleep can also help with decluttering, if you put in place a routine that allows time to empty your thoughts and resting our minds before bed.
To create your sleep routine, outline what helps you relax or helps to shed some of the stresses of the day. Here are some examples: taking a warm shower, having a hot drink, reading, meditation, or journaling, and avoiding screens at least 2 hours before bed, excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine.
So how to practice one of these techniques?
Journalling practice - set aside 15-30 minutes every night to do a brain dump and set your intentions for the next day. To formalise this process, place a journal or notebook next to your bed so it's handy and easily accessible.
2. Get an early start
In the UK, we know Spring is upon us as daylight gets longer and sunrise gets earlier. So why not make the most of this by getting up half an hour earlier. Dawn is a beautiful time, birds are singing, the air is still, and that extra half hour can help set your agenda for the day ahead.
Source: Getty Images
If you have managed to install a successful sleep routine, you should be able to implement this. If you struggle with getting up earlier, strangely either going to bed earlier or the act of waking up earlier will ease you into an earlier wake-up pattern. You may need to set an alarm initially, but you will notice within a week your body clock will adjust.
So how do you use the earlier morning rise to aid decluttering of mind and body?
Morning Meditation – use mediation to aid calm and ease you into the day ahead. The process of mediation may also aid focus or provide clarity to challenges or actions.
Setting daily intentions - get yourself a notebook, journal, or writing tool and outline what you want to achieve that day. What is also key is to determine how you intend to do these tasks and how long they will take you. Be focused, realistic, honest with yourself, and do what is possible today and review again tomorrow.
These approaches will help reduce stress and improve a sense of achievement at the end of the day. In addition, you will notice less clutter in your mind and feel better. This exercise can also be applied at the end of the day to review what has happened, set your agenda for the next day and declutter your mind before bed.
3. Go Outside
I cannot express enough the importance of enjoying what nature has to offer, especially for mental and physical wellbeing. Countless studies indicate the value of outdoor engagement in helping with stress and other emotional issues.
Using the outdoor environment to help us spring clean or declutter our minds is a powerful and effective tool. Source: Adobe Stock
Being outside can aid a sense of freedom and renewal, what may feel so overwhelming and cluttered in our mind while we are stuck inside or in front of a computer can be quickly dispersed when we take time to breathe in outdoor air.
So if you need to stop the noise and the swirling of thoughts;
Grounding exercise - try the 54321 exercise, making a conscious effort to notice five things with your eyes, touch four things, listen for three things, smell two things, and taste one thing.
'Just be' practice - simply find a park bench or sit under a tree and watch the world go by. This doesn’t have to be complex. The idea is to take the focus from within to external observation, when we find we are stuck in our heads, it is nice from time to time to stop the thoughts.
4. Seek out time for self-reflection.
Spring cleaning our minds also needs time for us to reflect on what is currently going well for us and what we can make changes to.
This can be done in several ways, simply by asking yourself what is good and what isn’t working as well. If you are looking for a more structured approach you may want to consider the Wellness Link Wellbeing Wheel tool.
Wellbeing Wheel (Wellness Link tool) – offers you the opportunity to reflect on the eight key dimensions of your wellbeing (Relationships, Self, Health, Relaxation, Career, Intellectual / Financial, Environment, Spirituality).
The assessment tool enables you to reflect on your wellbeing and helps you to identify what areas in your life need decluttering. Looking closely at what is creating dissatisfaction in our life in that current time.
For more information please read my other post - https://www.wellnesslink.co.uk/post/an-integrated-look-at-wellness
5. Declutter your thoughts
We all engage in self-talk, and this can either make us feel good about ourselves or not.
The assessment tool enables you to reflect on your wellbeing and helps identify what areas in your life need decluttering. Looking closely at what is creating dissatisfaction in our life in that current time.
There are some simple exercises we can deploy;
Journaling is agile and adaptable, we can use it to help us focus, reflect and observe themes in our thoughts. So observe your thoughts over a week or a few days, then review them. Do you notice any themes about what you think about yourself and how you expect the world to be like?
Source: Freepik - jcomp
Challenging your thoughts – whenever you notice a thought that is making you feel low in mood and bad about yourself, ask yourself ‘how helpful is this thought at achieving my goal’.
Be your own best friend – talk to yourself how you would a good friend. You would be supportive, understanding, and compassionate – so apply this to yourself.
6. Get moving (preferably outside)
Yes, exercise is on my list! I am a big advocate for moving around, be it walking, dancing, biking, climbing, skipping, boxing or swimming. Whatever it is you enjoy doing to get those endorphins flowing, set aside time for 20-30 minutes at least, 3-4 times a week.
It doesn’t have to be high intensity, as long as it helping to free the mind and body from stress and clutter. I recently joined a friend on her dawn early morning walk, for those who know me, I would rather pound the pavements running than go for a walk, but on this occasion while we paced leisurely through the park and by the river, I was able to be mindful of life, as nature blossomed in the fresh glow of the morning. I felt more connected with the world around me.
Now, aside from going running in the morning, I go for one early morning walk. I am back home calm and refreshed and ready to face the day ahead.
Berto, R. (2014). The role of nature in coping with psycho-physiological stress: a literature review on restorativeness. Behavioural Science, Oct 21;4(4):394-409. doi: 10.3390/bs4040394
Brown, S. (2020).The social benefits of Blue Space: a systematic review. The Environment Agency
Fadero, K. (2019). An integrated look at wellness. https://www.wellnesslink.co.uk/post/an-integrated-look-at-wellness
Pearson, D. G., & Craig, T. (2014). The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 1178. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01178
Kemi Fadero is a Wellbeing Consultant, Counsellor, and Coach based in Cambridge, UK. Kemi works with individuals seeking to achieve balance in their lives. Her interest in wellbeing and coaching came after taking steps herself to improve her wellbeing and reduce the strain of juggling life as a corporate executive and running a household filled with three lively children. She noticed the increased demands of modern life on herself, her family, colleagues, and friends. She decided to seek balance for herself and in the process found a love for helping others through Counselling, and her passion for holistic wellbeing. From her Cambridge, UK studio, she offers virtual and in-person coaching and counselling services, helping individuals seeking to overcome emotional distress and wellbeing challenges.