Spring Clean Your Life
UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, says that doing a little spring cleaning of our own lives can make room for more of the things that bring us joy, health, and overall well-being.
"Letting go of all the 'stuff' in our life that no longer serves us is a liberating act," Mirgain says. "Spring is a natural time to take stock of our emotional, mental, and physical well-being so that we can devote more time and energy to the activities and thoughts that actually add value to our days."
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed this spring, Mirgain suggests using the following brief checklist to help lighten the load.
- De-clutter your days: Take inventory of all the activities that occupy your time and decide which ones are worth keeping and which ones are better left behind. Ask yourself: what do I want this time in my life to be about? Then, pursue the things that serve those goals. Being mindful of how you spend your time creates opportunities for new, rewarding experiences.
- Discard negative thoughts: Negative thoughts not only generate stress that can impact our lives in destructive ways, but they can sometimes even create or exacerbate chronic health conditions. Ask yourself: Will the problem I'm so worried about today matter in a year? Then, practice letting go of those negative thoughts and replacing them with thoughts that bring you joy and a sense of peace.
- Throw out your bad habits: It's easy to become sedentary during the long winter months, but now is the time to get your health back on track. Use the warmer weather as a motivation to get outside, be more active, eat healthier, meditate, or maybe even jump-start those New Year's resolutions that you abandoned or never quite got off the ground.
- Create room for positive relationships: Reevaluate and redefine the role that certain people play in your life.
Now is the time to make sure you are spending quality time with the people who make your life better and minimizing the time you give to those who don't.
By focusing on the positive and healthy areas of life, Mirgain says we can cultivate the optimal conditions for personal growth.
"Clearing out the clutter is the first step in creating space for what really matters, whether it's in our home or in our lives." Mirgain says. "Giving ourselves the room to grow might be the most important chore we do all year."
Date Published: 04/16/2014