This piece was written by Uzy Igweatu and originally appeared on Shine.
After many months spent indoors, surrounded by all of our stuff, spring offers us a chance to let go of the old and start fresh. It also signals that it’s time for spring cleaning, which we’ve traditionally defined as a deep cleaning for our houses or apartments.
But why not try something new this year, like expanding our spring cleaning beyond just our homes? Instead, let’s include every part of our lives — like our minds, bodies, relationships, as well as our homes and offices. How’s that for self-care?
Research has shown the positive effects of decluttering both physically and mentally. One study showed that clearing clutter makes us more creative and productive and less irritable and distracted. Let’s not forget about our mental clutter as well, like those destructive and distressing thoughts, feelings, and memories that we tend to carry around with us. Researchers also found that replacing those negative thoughts with positive ones immediately opens us up to see more possibilities for ourselves, and equips us to better plan for the future.
So if you're truly ready for something new, here’s what you can do to make the most of your spring cleaning this year.
1. Create Space For New Energy
Our homes are often extensions of ourselves, and the primary places for stale, old energy to become trapped. Target these specific spots to release the bad vibes and make room for something new.
Say goodbye once and for all to those pieces of clothing that no longer reflect who you are today. Donate them to someone who would be happy to have and use them, like a relative, your neighbors, or a local charity.
Rid your fridge and your cabinets (and your secret snack drawer) of the stuff that doesn’t make you feel like your best self. Create room to stock up on what fills you and fuels you.
Embrace your trash bin as a tool to let go of what’s blocking you, like those mounting piles of paper. Instead, go digital. File your documents in an online storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Use your newly-cleared desk to showcase things that calm you, inspire you and keep you motivated.
2. Clear Your Head
Leave old baggage behind, in favor of increased clarity, greater possibilities, and a more positive outlook overall.
Start a journal.
Write down your thoughts and reflections, so that you don’t have to carry them around in your head. Try Evernote for note-taking on the go, which means you won’t have to carry around paper or pens either.
Release mental clutter for good through meditation, using an app like Calm to guide you through. Or try other forms of energy work, such as reiki or chakra healing. Go with what works for you.
Quiet the noise.
We all love our phones, but the constant buzzing, beeping, and ringing can add unnecessary chatter to our already crowded thoughts. Uninstall the apps that you never really cared for, leaving only the ones that you enjoy and use the most. At the very least, turn off those annoying notifications.
Refresh your inbox.
Take back control of your inbox by unsubscribing from the many email lists that you’re on, but can’t remember why or how. Use Unroll.me for easy and painless unsubscribing and categorizing of your subscriptions, so that the messages you see are the ones you actually care about.
3. Reset Your Routines
Give yourself a fresh start when it comes to your time and commitments.
Maximize your time.
Rework your morning ritual to boost your energy and help you conquer your most important goals each day. Create a nighttime routine that includes ample time to unwind, rest, and set yourself up for a success the following morning.
Put you first.
Let go of outdated obligations, goals, and habits. Replace them with new intentions that match who you are now and where you are headed. Then try an app like Any.do to help you stay on track.
4. Reconnect To What You Love
As an act of self-care, create space for the people and things that light you up and keep you moving forward.
Prioritize the positive figures in your life, by making time to nurture and grow those relationships. That said, take back your time and energy from those relationships that are no longer serving you.
Schedule some time to get lost in an activity that you love and enjoy. Set boundaries for work, and grant yourself time to play as well.
This piece originally appeared on Shine.
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