By Kirin Singh, MA
Welcome to Spring! With the weather finally warming up, spring is the perfect time to revamp all of those self-care goals you set for yourself in the New Year. Each season lends itself to a “fresh start” or a chance to revisit your priorities and change your routine accordingly. Self-care has been a bit of a buzzword lately, and for good reason: having elements of your daily routine that focus on resting, relaxing, and recharging will result in much better overall mental health. It’s necessary to build habits to naturally counteract stress, anxiety, and fatigue in your daily life. We know it can often feel like yet another chore to build habits around self-care, so here are five simple ideas to help you get started. Remember, there’s no “right way” to engage in self-care, and you don’t need a significant chunk of free time in your schedule to do these activities.
Springtime is perfect for "cleaning out" any unnecessary stress or mental clutter.
1. Take a Mindful Walk.
With warmer weather approaching (hopefully!), plan to take a mindful, device-free walk, and open yourself to your senses while doing so. Focus on all five senses, and you’ll notice so many beautiful details you’d never experience if you were lost in your thoughts or buried in your phone. Focus on seeing, hearing, and feeling the environment around you. Maybe you can hear birds chirping or you can smell the natural earthy scents. Take a closer look at your surroundings and you’ll be witnessing the life that is being experienced all around you.
2. Engage in Spring Cleaning.
Creating space for new energy in your home can be extremely therapeutic. Since our homes are often an extension of who we are, why not focus on the future by saying goodbye to the pieces of clothing that no longer represent your best self? Select some clothing or household items to donate to someone who would be happy to have them, while you make room for something new. By allowing yourself to “let go” of past baggage, you are providing greater clarity in your mind, and opening yourself to positive change.
3. Start a Journal.
Do you ever feel like there are too many thoughts running through your head? Starting a journal can be a therapeutic way to put those thoughts down on paper, rather than having them constantly in your mind. Allow yourself to write your thoughts freely, without judgment, and maybe you’ll notice feeling as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Journaling can help decrease feelings of anxiety by organizing events in your mind, or reflecting on situations in a way that makes sense of them. The act of writing down your thoughts and processing your feelings can free up mental energy and improve memory and focus. It can help you let go of the past and leave you feeling refreshed.
4. Open your Windows.
Research has shown that spending time outside can help improve mood, concentration, and stress. While there may be times where you need to stay in and work when weather is warm, opening windows can help you feel so much better. Opening your windows in your home not only allows fresh air to circulate, but gives you the opportunity to enjoy some of the beautiful weather.
5. Engage in Mindful Breathing.
As a form of meditation, breathing can be very beneficial in regulating emotions and having a more positive outlook on your day. Instead of looking through your phone in the morning to see the latest news, try connecting with your body to see how you’re feeling, and allow yourself the opportunity to engage in mindful breathing. Not sure how to start? Try listening to a brief guided breathing meditation like this one. There are many resources available to assist in practicing mindfulness with breathing (YouTube, Spotify), and the best part is that they’re free!
Overall, the word “self-care” is so vague and can become intimidating when you don’t know where to start, but hopefully these tips can be basic tools to utilize when considering incorporating self-care into your daily routine. It’s okay to start slow. While life can be stressful, remember to show compassion to yourself.
Happy Spring Cleaning!