How to Spring Clean Your Mind

Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day, the beginning of March is making us dream about spring break, pastel wardrobes, and — you guessed it — spring cleaning. While we often associate the warmer weather with a physical decluttering, it’s worth taking a page from the mindfulness book to declutter your brain too. Taking care of your mental health is so important, and spring is a great cue from nature to pause for some self-care. Experts from Mindsail — a wellness app that offers on-demand programs from experts in the mental health field — have some tips to encourage our mental spring cleaning.

1. Get rid of “toxic waste.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell when a relationship (platonic or romantic) is causing you stress — and other times, it’s perfectly obvious. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, Dr. Jill Weber recommends taking a moment to think critically about the relationships in your life. Her measuring stick for toxic relationships? Fulfillment. “Many people feel stuck in an unfulfilling relationship,” she said. “But sometimes, it can be hard to see the signs when you’re right in the middle of it.” If a relationship isn’t making you feel fulfilled — or if it’s actually taking away from your feelings of fulfillment — consider taking a step back to focus on other people in your life. In this way, your mental spring cleaning mirrors your physical spring cleaning; you’re simply removing parts of your life that no longer benefit you.

2. Allow yourself to physically declutter. “We collect things for a number of reasons: Maybe we think we’ll need to use it later, it has sentimental value, or we spent good money on it so we feel we need to keep it — even if we haven’t touched it in weeks, months, or years,” says Mindsail expert Lauren Wallack. “But oftentimes clutter in the eyes leads to clutter in the mind.” Utilize physical spring cleaning in order to feel less overwhelmed by your space. A great way to start is to start small: You don’t need to clean your whole home or apartment from top to bottom in order to feel decluttered. Instead, tackle one room or space at a time. Begin with your coat closet, for instance — or take a weekend and focus solely on your makeup drawer. When you devote energy toward making your living space as livable and happy as possible, your brain will feel the positive effects.

3. Overcome your emotional attachments to clutter. One way to physically and mentally declutter is to consider your emotional attachments to your stuff. “Whether you’re letting go of an old pair of jeans you’ve been saving until you lose the weight, or an ugly sweater your friend bought you for your birthday, it’s important to assess the true value of that item,” Mindsail expert Aimee Falchuk suggests. “How much enjoyment is it really bringing you? If those pants are just reminding you of your self-consciousness or you’re holding onto that sweater just to please your friend, it’s time to chuck them.” By letting go of the physical reminders of emotional turmoil, you’ll feel mentally refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of 2018.

As seen on Brit + Co