Spring is here, and for several of us in the northern regions we are excited for the warmer weather, longer days, and happier moods. Many like to take time in the Spring and do a little cleaning up around the home, but have you thought about taking the time to clean up your mind? As we go about our lives, we tend to bring in, and hold onto, a lot of unnecessary “clutter”. Let’s take a refresh, and purge some of that, so we can make room for what’s more important. Below are five tips that will help us accomplish this goal.
It’s been said time and time again that exercise is not only good for the body, but it is also good for the mind (2). Some experience an endorphin rush while going on a run and others throwing around weights. Some may experience clarity going on a hike or practicing yoga. We are all so different, and what works for you may not work for others. You might even need to break out of your fitness rut to get that clarity you are looking for. Into yoga? Try swimming. Into running? Take a hike. Into group fitness? Try taking a long walk solo, and just let your mind wander. Switching it up is a healthy practice.
Nourishing your body with foods it needs does a lot, not only for the body, but for the mind. If we fuel ourselves with food that doesn’t promote a well-balanced body, we are going to feel it; brain fog, sluggishness, poor memory, depression, to name a few (3). Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have our favorite treats, or that we need to live our life primarily on a chicken breast, rice and broccoli diet. It means we need to find a balance that works for each of us. Remember the exercise tip? Take a couple of weeks to really check-in to how you feel before, during, and after you eat. Keep a food diary, and log what you ate, how you felt, and how you slept. See if any patterns arise. Maybe having spinach in your salad is not good for your belly, so try a romaine instead. Or, having that bowl of ice cream causes brain fog, maybe try dairy free to see if that helps. Your body will thank you.
Taking time to meditate may help clear the mind of the clutter that has been building up (4). Start with 1 minute of meditation daily, then work up from there. Don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders, just acknowledge that your mind wandered, and return to your practice. Take time and focus on your breath and what you have to be thankful for. Finding gratitude, and looking for the good in things often brings good into our lives. If nothing else it brings our awareness to seeing good in our lives.
For most adults, the recommended time we should be sleeping is 7-8 hours (5). Some may need more, and there are the rare few who may need less. Try setting up a nighttime routine that helps you wind down, one that doesn’t include electronics. Something such as drinking a cup of chamomile tea, reading, or taking a bath. The more rested you are, the better you will be when you are awake. If you find yourself laying there awake, get up and do a non-stimulating activity. That will help train your brain that the bed is for sleeping, not worrying about the world’s problems.
If you do some or all the above, hopefully your stress is naturally reduced. But that may not be enough. Is your day jam packed with countless activities that don’t bring enjoyment to your life? Are you filling every waking minute with yet another volunteer opportunity? Carpooling the kids to an activity that, let’s face it, isn’t even something they enjoy? Are you continuing to say yes to tasks that really someone else is better suited for? What can you eliminate? What can you say no to? Don’t be quick to say yes every time. Allow others the opportunities to step in. Then, when you really want to do something, you have the energy and desire to do it to the best of your ability. Everybody wins.
Spring cleaning your mind may be a tough, even emotional, task, but it is well worth it. Especially when we can start saying yes to things that bring enjoyment to our lives and others.
- Ways to Spring Clean Your Brain | www.verywellmind.com
- Regular Physical Activity Can Improve Energy to Tackle Daily Chores | www.mayoclinic.org
- What Are the Benefits of Eating Healthy? – Improved Memory | www.medicalnewstoday.com
- Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress | www.mayoclinic.org
- Get Enough Sleep | health.gov