Spring is a great time for cleaning. You can vacuum and wipe down the windows all you want, but nothing will ever make you feel as good as clearing out your soul. Getting yourself into a good mental space and learning how to stay there is something that will do you more good than a simple home cleaning ever will. Spring cleaning your soul requires a bit more dedication than changing the air filter. If you want some starting points, check out these ideas.
Create a Place for Spiritual Practice
“Spiritual” is a loose term here. It can be whatever you want. What’s important is having a quiet place to be by yourself. You can use it to pray or meditate, do yoga or simply sit and think. Crafting a space for quiet introspection gives you a moment for yourself, and self-love is vital to maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul.
Minimize Your Possessions
Going through your things on a regular basis and getting rid of clutter isn’t just helpful to your space, it’s great for your mind. Less clutter leads to less stress, which helps you feel more relaxed and at peace. This mind set is good for your soul and your ability to focus. The more cluttered and messy an area is, the harder it is for you to focus on one thing. That scatterbrained feeling leaves you with a constant undercurrent of stress. Neither of those things are good for you. Clear out your space, and you’ve got a good start to clearing out your soul.
Give Yourself Time to Respond
One problem almost everyone has is reacting instead of responding. You can break that cycle, but it takes practice. If you can manage it, take five seconds before you respond. For practice, do it when it’s easy, like in the middle of a fun conversation. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you can take that pause before you react with anger, anxiety or confusion. You’ll give yourself a chance to think and really choose how to respond. Taking that pause gives the unexpected benefit of the continuation effect. In other words, the other person is more likely to complete their thought, which can help prevent misunderstandings.
Meditation, either mental or moving, can be an amazingly effective path to practice self-care. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, meditation can be a great, med-free way to find a little mental relief. Some studies have indicated that, for certain people, meditation can be as effective as antidepressants. Even if you aren’t looking for help with those particular issues, meditation can still be helpful. Just like the quiet space you make, taking the time to be quiet is vital. It gives your brain a break and lets you relax a little.
Getting off social media can be incredibly helpful. But getting off everything can be even more so. Take a serious break. If you can’t unplug at work, and many of us can’t, then dedicate family “unplugged time.” Shut down the phones, tablets and televisions, too. It doesn’t matter if you do it for a week or a weekend, the results will make you want to do it again and again. It helps create more calm, promotes social interaction with those close to you and helps you feel more connected to your immediate environment.
Start a Journal
Writing your thoughts down has a well-known cathartic effect. Part of that comes from the fact that rehashing events, especially in writing, helps to remove their emotional effect and lets you examine events logically. Cathartic writing can be transformative after upsetting or traumatic events. For the daily boring stuff, it’s still pretty helpful. It helps your memory, communication skills, can boost your self-confidence, help you achieve goals, and remind you of what parts of your life really matter.
Try a Mental “Factory Reset”
If you’re interested in doing a more complete mental reset, try this trick. Turn off your phone, leave your computer at home and take three full days to go camping. Take a dog, family or friends, but no one should use electronics. Dr. David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah who specializes in attention, found this method incredibly effective at giving our brains a break and allowing us to reset. He calls it the three-day effect. That three-day effect has some serious benefits. It helps your body align its internal clock, making sleep easier. It helps reduce stress, which helps with impulse control, weight gain and depression.
Find a Creative Outlet
Figuring out where you can unleash your creativity is important — regardless of whether you think you are creative. It doesn’t matter what your creative outlet is, either. It can be drawing, crocheting or canoe building. The important aspect is that you take the time to practice something you enjoy. If it’s the right amount of engrossing and challenging, you can find that secret sweet spot where you get into your flow. Everyone’s experienced the flow on occasion. It’s where you get so into a project that hours can pass by without you noticing. It’s amazing and gratifying when it happens, but it’s hard to find. Finding your flow might be drawing or it might be working on complex mathematics. Either one is great!
Give Yourself, and Everyone Else, Grace
If you do nothing else, try to forgive yourself. Maybe for forgetting to put the clothes from the wash to the dryer or maybe for something much more serious. Remember that you’re only human. You’ll make mistakes. There’s nothing bad about mistakes or being wrong. You become more open to learning and slower to judge others. Spring isn’t just for your home. It’s for you, too. Take the time to find something to make you feel new again.