Do you know that viral Real Housewives of New Jersey clip of a very stressed Gia Giudice singing about her frustrations in between sobs? Well – I do wake up in the morning thinking about so many things (and Twitter has told me that lots of you do, too). But now that spring has sprung, I’m trying to change that and bring some much needed clarity to this time in my life. Yes, lovely readers: now is as great a time as ever to check in with yourself and evaluate what’s serving you and what isn’t – whether that’s a relationship, a habit or a product that you just can’t seem to incorporate into your daily life. Follow these tips to start this season off in the right headspace and achieve mental clarity.
Get rid of unused possessions
I know, I know…your lockdown diet hasn’t been the best and the jeans don’t fit. That t-shirt? You’ll probably never wear it again. And girl, you know that eyeshadow pallet you got in your Christmas stocking was never really going to work for you. In the ups and downs of this new normal brought on by the pandemic, it can be hard to notice – or even care – that you might’ve been accumulating more items than you actually need, and before you know it, you’re living amongst clutter.
Studies have shown that clutter can lead to poorer mental health, less efficient visual processing and less efficient thinking- and on top of that, we’re already so vulnerable to a negative news cycle and the anxiety of social isolation due to the pandemic.
So take some time to look at the items around you. Decide what you actually need (keep the ‘just in case’s to a minimum,) and either discard, donate or find a different use for those that you don’t. Not only will this leave you with a less stuffy space, but the act of cleaning and organizing can help to reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
Reorganize, rearrange or redecorate your space
For those of us whose bedrooms have doubled as work from home offices or classrooms, it can almost seem impossible to keep everything in its own space while staying productive; it’s much easier now for the lines between work and leisure to become blurred. Now would be a good time to go through any old documents or miscellaneous items that have found their way onto your desk, under your furniture or stuffed into drawers.
When it comes to your workspace, changing layouts periodically can actually help to improve your productivity. Maybe move your desk to an area where you get a little more natural light, or switch out that faded poster for a new wall hanging with quotes or affirmations that motivate you. Whatever it is, make sure that your space works for you, that it’s a joy to be in, and that it inspires you to be at your best. After all, this is where you’re spending the majority of your time these days.
Evaluate your relationships
In this new world where almost everything happens virtually, our relationships look a little different, and not everyone has adapted to that change very well. At times, I’ve found myself incapable and even unwilling to engage with friends because of how overwhelming the past year has been. Still, I’ve come to realise that a lot of the feelings I’ve experienced are shared by those around me.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself: who are the people that you’ve still been in contact with despite distance? Who have you grown apart from? What can you do to make sure that you’re putting in the effort to maintain certain relationships?
Use your judgement to decide which relationships are compatible with where you are in your life at this point, and reevaluate who is worthy of your time. Remember that not everyone is going to grow with you, and that’s all a part of life.
Do a digital declutter
Remember the decluttering and reorganizing we spoke about earlier? It applies to your digital space as well. The amount of time we spend on our phones and other digital devices is much greater these days, so we want to make sure the experiences we have while using them are positive. Uninstall those apps you don’t use, delete the random screenshots or memes that are hogging your internal storage, and sort through your email inbox. Change the wallpaper on your desktop for a new look, and rearrange the icons and widgets on your home screen so that you have easy access to whatever you use the most. Make it so that everytime you pick up your phone, you do so intentionally.
Reflect on the progress you’ve made with your intentions for the year
If you set goals or intentions for yourself at the beginning of this year, you may want to review the progress that you’ve made with them. Did you promise yourself that you were going to be more mindful? Read more? Spend less time scrolling on social media? Exercise? You might realise that somewhere along the line you missed the mark, and you know what? That’s completely okay. Sit down with a warm beverage, put a soothing record on, and write down what you think is preventing you from fulfilling these intentions. Be willing to acknowledge that you haven’t failed; you just discovered what won’t work, and you can make changes to your habits where necessary.
Throughout all of these practices, the most important thing to remember is this: we can’t welcome new things, people or experiences into our lives if we’re holding on to the old ones. It’s not enough to ask for and work towards what you want – you have to make room for it. Seasons change, and it’s only natural, and healthy, that we do too.