Spring Forward: How To Spring Clean 4 Major Life Areas This Month

It’s time for a spring clean, but not just in your home

Photo by Lisa Fotios / Pexels

Spring calls for fresh starts and new beginnings. Whilst many attempt to put a change to their lives come the beginning of the year, the reality is we are all way too exhausted after the festive season to actually stick to anything. As a result, this leaves us feeling guilty and unaccomplished.

But fear not my friends, as the year is still young! With brighter days ahead comes more energy and motivation, which means there really is no better time to spring-clean your life. That’s right, I’m talking about the whole shebang. From clearing your space and mind to reevaluating your relationships and putting a pause on your digital profile, it’s time we start prioritising our wellbeing this spring. 

Before we break it down, it’s important to recognise that cleaning your physical space can help in figuring out what’s taking up your mind space. Clutter is very chaotic by nature and if we allow it to pile up, it can have a serious effect on our mental health. “When your space is full it can be hard to focus on what needs to be done. Even if you aren’t paying much attention to it your brain subconsciously registers all of those misplaced items as unfinished business, creating an undercurrent of stress,” explains professional organisers Kim and Lyn from A Sorted Affair. “Clutter can increase stress levels, make it difficult to focus, take a toll on relationships and in some cases bring a level of shame.” 

So, when you are decluttering, you are in fact problem-solving. In turn, your brain will even reward you by giving you a dopamine boost, giving you more energy and driving you to tackle more of your to-do list. Just like the space we surround ourselves in, our mind can also affect our environment. “When we feel more in control of our mental wellbeing and health it gives us the confidence and clarity to take more control of other aspects of our life,” adds Erica McKinney, Psychotherapist and Life Coach. So yes, in order to tackle one aspect of our life, we must be able to tackle another, as when we change one it generally has a positive effect on the other. 

Your Space

Clearing out your space is probably the most obvious place to start when it comes to spring cleaning and let’s face it, we all have some level of clutter in our homes that we’ve allowed to build up over the weeks, months and even years. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of! Clutter is inevitable, especially the busier we get. The important thing to remember here is little changes go a long way, so start small. That way, you’re giving yourself a fighting chance to get a hold of it all!

Kim and Lyn are all too familiar with the dread that comes with clearing your space. Thankfully, they’ve shared some simple tips and tricks to help people get started on their decluttering journey. Firstly, when it comes to your wardrobe, they suggest implementing the 1 in 2 out rule. “If you treat yourself to something new then let something similar go to charity.” If your kitchen is chaotic, tackle one press at a time. “Choose spices, mugs, and cutlery and slowly declutter before you look at what products you might want to introduce,” they advise.

Can’t quite get into the zone? Stick on a podcast and set a small challenge for yourself. “Tackle that underwear drawer for instance and we guarantee every time you open it you will get a great sense of accomplishment and it will spur you on to do more,” they add. “Be realistic about what you can accomplish within a given timeframe this will keep you motivated and build momentum on your organising journey.”

Your Mind

To enhance our mental health and wellbeing, we need to spring-clean our brains. It’s important that we invest in our mind daily, notes Erica. An easy way to encourage a positive mindset is by creating simple routines. Erica suggests starting every day by reminding yourself of one thing you are grateful for. “Consider journaling for ten minutes each evening to unload any of the days’ stresses or emotional build-up.”  When it comes to having a clever mind, getting fresh air daily is vital. A quick ten-minute walk can make all the difference and is a great cleansing treatment. Erica also urges us to recognise the connection between our thoughts and emotions.

“Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings drive our behaviour.  If you are not feeling good, ask yourself what thoughts were going through my head before I started to feel that way. Then ask yourself, are they true? Do I 100% know they are true?  What would be a more helpful thought right now?”. Finally, recognise the power of your breath. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, spend three minutes focusing on breathing in and out. “Watching the breath coming into your body and feeling it release out of your body as you do this,” explains Erica. “It is amazing the positive impact just three minutes can have.”

Your Phone

Just as you declutter your home during a spring-clean, unplugging from your phone and social media can also be a good way to cleanse your mind and start fresh. Maybe it’s fear of missing out, maybe it’s curiosity, or maybe it’s a way of feeling less alone. Whatever the reason, it’s important that we set boundaries with our phones and give our minds space to breathe. This could be done by cutting out social media usage for a set period of time or just limiting your usage to a few hours a day.

Speaking of social media, if there’s an account you are following that’s no longer serving your wellbeing, hit that unfollow button! If you wouldn’t engage with these people in your day-to-day lives, what’s the point of following them online? While you’re at it, delete those apps that are taking up unnecessary storage on your phone. Haven’t used them in the last month? Give them the chuck. Do the same with your photos and videos.

There are probably hundreds of screenshots that are crying out to be let go. However, if you really can’t part ways with them, backup your photos onto your computer or a drive. That way ​you can move forward knowing that anything you delete by accident or change your mind about still exists somewhere. We spend so much time on our phones that it’s important to do a clear out there too. 

Your Relationships

Finally, it’s time to be open and honest. Whether romantic or a friendship, brand new or long-standing, any relationship can benefit from a fresh look. Just like your old clothes in the wardrobe, we have relationships that we only keep because it’s easier than letting them go. But just like the way we feel lighter and happier when we do that wardrobe clear out, getting rid of those relationships that aren’t serving us can also make us feel better.

Before we start, Erica asks us to not only be honest with the other person but to be honest with ourselves and how we feel. “It may feel risky but you’re worth it. If you need to, talk to a professional, to help you get clear on your own feelings and thoughts,” she adds. Now, it’s time to assess. What kinds of relationships have you been letting into your life? Are they draining? Do they make you happy? Are you holding onto a partner or a friend out of obligation and loyalty? Once you’ve evaluated your relationships, it’s time to communicate with the people in them.

A clean conscience makes room for relationships to grow and prosper. After having these chats, you might be lucky and get a heartfelt conversation or it might go to the other end of the scale, giving you clarity that it’s time to end things. At the end of the day, trust what your gut is telling you. Just because you are cleaning out relationships that are no longer beneficial to you or your counterpart, it doesn’t mean you can’t be open to new ones. So, don’t be afraid to take a step back, put yourself out there and find what’s right for you.

If it all sounds a bit overwhelming start small with simple tasks before jumping into the larger ones, and observe how decluttering makes you feel. Before you know it you’ll be totally embracing a spring refresh!

This article originally appeared in the March/April issue of STELLAR