We all know that this winter has been pretty rough with the seemingly endless blizzards, ice storms and sub-zero weather. But March marks the beginning of spring -- the season of change. Mother Nature runs her course, thawing life out of the winter cold and breathing new life into spring. People seem to reflect that same change this time of year as well. Researchers have noted that spring is often a time where people step out of a stagnant and enclosed mindset into a more relaxed state of mind.
But before we can pack away our puffy coats and bring out our favorite espadrilles let's take the time to make goals for our spring. In the few weeks of cold that we still have left, I encourage you to focus on the goals you made at the beginning of the year (you remember those New Year's resolutions, right?) and the things you want to rid yourself of moving forward. Here are a few suggestions for some mental spring cleaning before we whisk away into our short shorts:
Sweep out unhealthy relationships: Can't stop thinking about the ex that wronged you? Feeling hurt by the emotional absence of someone who used to be a friend? Not enjoying the way certain people in your life make you feel? There will always be people in your life that may not be the healthiest friends or colleagues for you, whether that's in the workplace, school, or your daily life. Realizing someone is not healthy for you is a process. The actual act of cleaning them out, may involve simple habit changes. Unplugging on social media can be a great first step. Instead of unfriending or unfollowing someone specific, spend a couple of days completely off of Facebook and Twitter and simplify your life. If it feels good, unplug even more. Once you stop worrying about that person or people online you'll start to relax and forget about how they made you feel in real life. If social media isn't your thing, try to make an extra effort for the friends who do make you feel good. Plan a girls night with the ladies who have stuck by your side, invite a friend who you haven't had a ton of time for to lunch, allow yourself to enjoy the people who care about you! One of the hardest things to learn in life is how to let people go, it's hard but if you put your attention on the relationships that actually give you something, you'll feel better!
Scrub your mental space: We are so consumed by the hustle and bustle of every day life that we often allow things to not only pile up on our desk but also in our soul. Spring is a great season to clean out your mind and let positive, balanced energy in. Try a creative venture; read a new book, take 10 minutes out of your day to work on a craft or do some free writing. Or you could simply allow yourself to find inspiration from the mundane. Do you walk to work? Take a train or car? Why not use that time to listen to a new band or find a podcast that could interest you? Have you ever truly explored your own neighborhood, looked at the architecture, gone people watching? Creativity and inspiration are the best cleaning products for the soul.
Rest and tune up: It's so easy to be sucked into nervous energy throughout our daily life. Deadlines, dues, family, friends, money, health; it's needless to say we have a lot to worry about. While nervous energy can help us get things done, it can also do a number on our physical and mental health. It's crucial for our bodies and minds to rest; the No. 1 way? Sleep. Getting eight hours of sleep per night can lengthen your life expectancy and support your immune system. If sleep isn't an option, try meditation; 20 minutes of meditation per day has been shown to increase emotional and physical health as well as reduce your risk for heart disease. Seeing as the average American watches 4-5 hours of TV a day, finding 20 minutes will be a cinch! Prioritize resting your body and mind and you will wake up with more energy this spring.
There are a million ways to let spring influence your life. Let yourself breathe, rest, enjoy the people you love, and allow yourself to let go of those who make you feel insecure and unhappy. Get inspired by your world and community and enjoy the soul change this season!