It’s almost spring again. I personally love spring cleaning, but that’s because I’m a super organized neat freak who loves cleaning regardless of the season.

However, this blog is about a different type of spring cleaning. It’s for your mind. We get bogged down so easily, especially with the winter blahs; plus why not free some mental space while preparing for the beginning of green grass and warmer weather? It’s time to stop carrying the mental clutter around like a heavy winter sweater!

I think taking the time to reflect on your life is a pretty important task to take on. It’s crucial to be self-aware of where you have come from in order to determine which direction you want to head into.

I’m a Virgo, so I’m analytical all year long but I really do think there is value to pondering your life choices here and there. I understand that the act of reflecting on our lives is not always an easy or pleasant feat, but it is also what drives us to make positive changes. And sometimes making changes, as positive as they may be, are downright hard, scary, and time-consuming. But this is your life and isn’t it worth the extra effort to know that you are living according to your values, according to your hopes and dreams?

Here are some questions to consider when doing a mental spring cleaning session:

  • Are the people in my life helping me or bringing me down? Which relationships do I want to cultivate instead?
  • What do I want to accomplish this season?
  • Are my thoughts serving me?
  • What has gone well this winter? How did I contribute to making these good things happen?
  • If I could only do one activity every day, what would it be? Can I find some time to work it into my busy schedule?
  • How am I coping with life’s ups and downs? What can I do that would help me relax more?
  • How can I keep on top of everything that needs to get done?
  • What positive emotions do I want to elicit this spring and what do I need to put in place in order to feel good?

Most of the questions are pretty straight forward aside from, ‘Are my thoughts serving me?’, so let me give you an example.

This past winter I realized that I hold the belief that there is something wrong with me because I don’t have a big group of girlfriends. Ultimately it leaves me feeling lonely and ashamed.

So the question is: how is this thought serving me?

Well, it’s certainly not making me feel good about myself (in fact, I feel rather inadequate at times) and it’s not making me try harder to make friends because my thought is that “everyone already has their own group of friends”.

I think we can all agree that this thought is not serving me! The question becomes then, what thought will serve me?

It’s not easy and sometimes not feasible to just simply replace a negative belief, but if I can figure out what I can tell myself that won’t keep me in this loop of feeling down then I have an opportunity in front of me to change. It’s realizing that if I keep holding on to these negative thoughts I will continue to circle and get nowhere. I’m not saying that I can magically be happy with my relationships but I can at least recognize that actually, I do have a couple of solid friends, my family members are all amazing friends too, and this reflection has encouraged me to sign up for a new hobby that might mean new connections.

(By the way, the thought that is serving me is reminding myself of the wonderful people I do have in my life and how the number of friends I have does not have anything to do with my adequacy as a person.)

Your turn! It’s time to get out the broom and sweep away this mental clutter!

About the Author

Tara Richardson is a Peer Support Specialist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Ontario. Her own personal journey through mental illness has led her to be a passionate and dedicated advocate for mental health recovery. Tara is an aspiring author who is in the (long) process of writing and editing her memoir compiled from journal entries beginning at age 11. Tara has a B.A. in Psychology, a diploma in Social Service Work, and a certificate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Tara can be contacted at: tara_richardson913@hotmail.com Non-creepy fan mail gladly welcomed.