Hi readers and fellow mental health enthusiasts! Taking time to focus on ourselves is a healthy way to begin a new phase in our lives. And considering this is my first week at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates, I thought I might just do that, too selfish? Well, I am a firm believer that no matter what end of the couch you are sitting on in therapy, it’s important to practice what you preach. I thought I might dedicate my first blog to something I need to apply and replicate for myself. With that said, it’s time for a little bit of “spring cleaning.”
It’s easy for me to get bogged down by my work, family life, and dealing with everyday life stressors. But now is as good a time as any to clean out some of the mental distractions lingering around in our heads. Spring is a time for regrowth and renewal. Just as you would clean out those cobwebs, let’s take a moment to declutter and revitalize our mental health.
Physical Space: Ever heard of, “…clean house, clear head?” When we have a garage or dedicated space full of unused stuff, or dare I say it, junk – things tend to actually take up our mental space. More stuff means more things to take care of. Eventually, we find ourselves in a constate state of having to get stuff done for our stuff, rather than having any free time to do what we really want to do. Make a list of areas in your home and start with the easiest space. Ask yourself, “Do I use it? Why have I kept it?” If you find yourself feeling stuck or unsure, I might suggest dedicating a “maybe” box for your belongings and review the box again in a few months.
Negative thoughts: It is never a good time to hold onto self-deprecating thoughts and self-doubt. Often times, our own potential for greatness and possibility for achievement is ruined by our own thoughts. Make a conscious effort to cut out the negative language. Becoming aware of how you respond to others and your own inner dialogue will go a long way in changing your thought patterns. Start with yourself; don’t allow any self-criticism for an entire day. Too daunting? Give yourself permission to make a mistake, seize the moment as an opportunity for growth and learning. Now let’s start again; don’t allow any self-criticism for the remainder of this blog.
Gratitude: While getting rid of all those negative thoughts, let’s refocus on things that make us feel grateful. It can be our pets for being a reliable companion, the great weather or celebrating sobriety. Although I condone journaling, there are many ways to express gratitude. Take a moment to reflect to improve your mental health.
Mindfulness: We can also invest in our mental state this season by reflecting and being aware of our thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness allows us to be better prepared to handle any life stresses and be more in tune with ourselves by simply paying attention. It’s helpful to plan a time and space to practice regular meditation and stick with that plan. Make a commitment that feels manageable. Take notice if you’re driving yourself too hard or selling yourself short. Let go of these thoughts.
Physical Health: Uh oh, remember that weight loss new year resolution? Let’s check in because I am sure you have heard it a thousand times by now. The key to better mental health resides in maintaining good physical health. Small actions, such as taking a walk on a sunny day, using the stairs at work instead of the elevator or replacing a sugary beverage by drinking more water all contribute to a healthier version of you!
While none of these ideas may be groundbreaking or maybe you learned something fresh; it should always be a priority to enhance your well-being. Spring cleaning is just as much about sprucing up our physical surroundings as it is as our mind, body and spirit.
Lindsay Enright, MS, LCMFT provides individual, couple, and family therapy in our downtown Bethesda office. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation with Lindsay.