I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but we had a few really gorgeous days in Chicago this week. For some reason, I’m always surprised by the lift in my mood and energy levels when it starts to get warm out.
This year, I thought I would try to capitalize on that upswing and do a little spring cleaning. As I may have mentioned, I’ve been pretty depressed lately, and I got it into my head that I would magically be fixed if I could just get my apartment sparkly clean. That probably goes back to my need to control my depression. Don’t get me wrong, a clean and organized space can do wonders for your mental health, but ultimately, the best way to improve my mental health is to go straight to the source.
This year, instead of focusing all of my (somewhat limited) energy on cleaning my apartment, I’m going to focus some of that good, productive energy toward a little mental health spring cleaning. So without further ado, here’s my Mental Health Spring Cleaning List:
- Get rid of toxic relationships. Examine your relationships, both romantically and otherwise, and ask yourself some questions: does having this person in my life make me happy? Is this person a positive influence in my life? Does this person encourage me to be the best version of myself? If you answered no to any of those questions, it might be time to reexamine your relationship. If you come to the conclusion that it’s a toxic relationship, cut them out of your life. You don’t need to apologize or explain yourself, you just need to move on and find people who make you happy and build you up.
- Clean up your social media. We all have those friends whose posts drive us crazy, but we’ve never bothered to do anything about it. Now’s your chance! Unfriend, unfollow, or block the people whose posts don’t make you happy. No need to feel guilty — your main goal here is making your social media experience as enjoyable as possible. Bonus: find some folks (especially on Instagram or Twitter) that inspire you and make you happy and follow them (you can even start with Finding the Way to Well)!
- Fix your self-talk. Start paying attention to the way you talk to yourself throughout the day. If you catch yourself in negative self-talk, ask yourself this: would I talk to my best friend like that? If you struggle with depression or low self-esteem, odds are good that the answer to that will be a resounding “hell no.” Change your inner monologue and start treating yourself with the same compassion with which you’d treat your best friend. You’re worth it!
- Make your self-care a priority. Whether you’re someone who struggles with mental illness or not, self-care is the single most important thing you can do for your mental health. Read this post about establishing a self-care routine, and then do it! If you have a routine but you’ve let it slide lately, work harder to stick to it. If you have a plan and you’re sticking to it, yay you! Try to find little things you can do to make your self-care even better, like journaling or meditating.
- Change one bad habit. No matter how good you’ve gotten at self-care, we all have bad habits that can harm our mental health. It could be that you consistently stay up too late or hit the snooze fifty times, that you apologize constantly when you don’t need to, or that you say yes to everything because you feel guilty for saying no. Whatever your bad habit is, decide to change it and stick to that decision. Make your mental health a priority! And on the flip side of that…
- Establish one new good habit. What’s one thing you’ve wanted to start doing, but you’ve never taken the time to do it? Daily yoga? Daily meditation? Journaling? Find something that will improve your mental health and make it a daily habit! If deciding to do something every single day is too daunting, set smaller goals. Aim to practice your habit three or four days a week to start out. Once you see the positive effects of your brand new habit, you just might be motivated to start doing it more often.
- Start focusing on the positive. You know those frustrating little things throughout the day that make you shake your head and ask “why me?!” Well, take the time to find the positive in life’s little annoyances. You might be surprised what a difference it makes to actively look for the positive. If you’re feeling ambitious, check out the Positive 30 Challenge that I did and give it a try!
It doesn’t matter if you do one thing or do all seven, just make the choice to make your mental health a priority this spring! As lovely as it is to have a clean house (and it probably wouldn’t hurt to do a little spring cleaning there too), doing a little mental health spring cleaning will be way more helpful in the long run.