It's official: spring has sprung. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and it's time to clean out that box of junk in the back of your closet. Regardless of whether or not you ascribe to the notion of spring cleaning, spring is in a way a fresh start. We once again have survived winter and now we can move happily towards the summer time and all that encompasses.
As we begin to think about spring cleaning, I encourage you to broaden your definition of spring cleaning. Not only should we be organizing our house, we should also be organizing our thoughts, goals and desires. Take this time to clean your house, but recognize it as a fresh start in many aspects of your life.
For many of us, we are finishing up a school year. Deadlines and expectations can weigh you down in ways that you don't expect. As part of your spring cleaning, do a self-check. How are you feeling mentally, physically, emotionally? This is a time to start over and seek happiness.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to understand the importance of self-care. Work, school and other obligations are important, but remember to take care of yourself as well.
Fans of the show Parks and Rec will be familiar with the phrase “Treat Yo Self.” Two of the show’s main characters have a day each year in which they treat themselves to things that make them happy. For these characters, that is shopping. While you don't have to set aside a personal holiday, it is important to occasionally do something just because it makes you happy. Maybe after a hard week at school or work, you can take yourself out to a nice dinner or buy yourself that new video game you have been wanting. This practice can and will improve your mental wellbeing.
I encourage you to reflect on other ways you can have a fresh start this spring. Maybe adding exercise to your weekly routine could improve your mood and self-esteem. Or maybe you could join a book club if reading more would make you happier. Think of ways to take care of yourself as you move into a busy time of your life. Small changes and practices can make a huge difference in your daily attitude.
Spring cleaning is important for your house and your belongings. I would argue that it is even more important for your wellbeing. It's time to clear out the crud - whether that be the trash under your couch or the stress caused by neglecting to take breaks. Winter is over, spring is here, and with it comes opportunity.