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Your 11-Step Guide to a Successful Mental & Emotional Spring Cleaning Season

There’s a reason spring feels so invigorating.

After a long winter, it’s exciting to see the first buds on trees and to experience more sunny days and clear skies. We’re much like nature — we’ve been hibernating, and now it’s time to wake up.

This is a process of moving from one mode to another. Over the colder months, you may have had more time indoors. You may have been less active and more contemplative, less proactive and more reflective. Now it’s time for inspired action, movement, and an outward focus. 

To make the most of the shifting season, it’s important to start with a thorough cleansing. You’re probably well-acquainted with spring cleaning your home, but have you considered cleaning your mental and emotional space too? The transitional time of spring is perfect for doing a complete refresh, not just of our homes, but of our entire being.

In this article, you’ll learn how to rejuvenate your emotions, identify things to get rid of, change your perspective on problems, and much more. Are you ready to start your spring off the right way? Let’s get into it!

#1: Identify Any Unfinished Business

When it comes to emotional spring cleaning, the first order of the day should be to lighten your emotional load. We all carry unfinished business around with us, whether it’s from a painful break-up, a traumatic experience, or just the day to day arguments and disappointments that are a part of life. 

Sometimes we’re able to deal with the emotional repercussions of painful experiences easily and quickly. Other times, we’re forced to suppress or repress those feelings to get back to adulting and move forward with life. Too often we push feelings aside, and that unfinished emotional business takes a toll on us, even if we’re not consciously aware of it.

Too often we push feelings aside, and that unfinished emotional business takes a toll on us, even if we’re not consciously aware of it.

So, start off by becoming present and curious about your current emotional experience. Maybe you find yourself snapping over something minor or feeling triggered by a scene from a movie. Maybe you’ve had a recurring dream. Could it be that you’ve got a few loose emotional ends to tie up? 

For example, you may have had an argument with a friend during the holidays or weren’t given a job you wanted during the fall. The first step is awareness, coupled with self-compassion. Remember that baggage is a part of life and that everyone has it. The question is, what will you do with it?

#2: Allow Yourself to Process Past Pain

There will always be ups, downs, and disappointments in life, so don’t put pressure on yourself to let everything go all at once. However, even picking one or two experiences — recent or not — can be beneficial.

To process past feelings, you might bring to mind the person, circumstance, or experience that bothered you and allow the feelings you’ve pushed aside to bubble up. To facilitate this release, consider journaling, making art, or writing a letter (which you will burn or tear up instead of sending) to channel your emotions. Fully allow yourself to acknowledge what happened and how you feel. 

Of course, if you’re working with very challenging material, such as trauma, or if you’re experiencing persistent depression or anxiety, it’s helpful to work with a licensed therapist

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#3: Be Ready to Let Go

Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel what happened, you might come up with an action step if appropriate. If you didn’t get a job you wanted, consider what training or networking event will be beneficial. If you had an argument with someone, consider reaching out to them. This will help your unconscious mind feel safe to let go of the experience.

Then, be willing to let go. You can say something like “I acknowledge and honor my feelings, and I have learned from my experience. I now choose to let go of my (emotion) about (person, circumstance, experience).” 

You can use visualization tools to assist with this. Imagine that you’ve been carrying a heavy load of rocks around in a backpack, but now you’re putting them down. Alternatively, you could imagine that you’re watching that person who hurt you fade into the distance peacefully. How does it feel to let go? Better, doesn’t it?

#4: Go on a Complaint Diet

Speaking of baggage, every time we complain about something, we are essentially telling ourselves and the world that we are victims. Yet it’s so common to complain, and, let’s face it, sometimes it feels good. While it’s normal to express unhappiness and frustration sometimes, habitual complaining is a downer for both you and your loved ones.

So, what would it be like if you went a whole day without complaining? A whole week? A month? What if you reframed your complaints to be more empowering by taking action? Maybe your significant other never takes you out to dinner anymore. Instead of complaining, try saying, “I would really like us to do more romantic things together.”

Just be careful not to be too judgemental of complaining in the long run. While it’s not healthy to constantly whine, it’s also unhealthy to expect constant positivity from yourself or others. The point of the complaint diet is to make you more aware of the habit and show you other ways to address undesirable circumstances.

#5: Find an Outlet for Mental Clutter

Our minds accumulate clutter, much like our homes, but it can feel harder to organize thoughts and ideas because they’re non-physical. It’s easier to go through a junk drawer than it is to go through our minds, in which thousands of thoughts seem to float in and out willy-nilly throughout the day. 

You’ve likely tried journaling or writing things down to clear your mind, and there’s a reason — it works. Jotting down a to-do list, writing out goals and dreams, or sorting through emotions on paper are all helpful. 

But remember that we all have different learning and thinking styles. Some people are more logically minded, so lists make sense. For more creative, non-linear thinkers, a mind map might work best. Or, if you’re highly visual, you can try creating images to organize information, as bullet journalers do. 

Another trick to clear out mental clutter is to write down a list of unfinished tasks and make an effort to eliminate them. Never set up that new app you were excited about because it was too complicated? Make the effort to finish set-up or uninstall it so you don’t have unfinished business hanging over your head.

#6: Change Your Perspective

We all carry around limiting beliefs that guide our behaviors, whether consciously or not. The fresh energy of spring is the ideal time to focus on shifting some of your limiting beliefs to more empowering ones. To determine which beliefs to work on, look at some of the recurring negative experiences in your life. What belief is at the root of them?

Maybe you continuously find yourself in bad relationships. What beliefs are fueling this? Do you have a limiting belief around what kind of person you can attract or about your worthiness to attract a certain type of mate? 

Once you’ve identified these beliefs, you can turn them around using positive affirmations, visualization, or by simply questioning their validity. Ask yourself, is this really true, or do I have evidence that this isn’t true? Where have I had experiences that contradict this belief? As always, if you find yourself in tough emotional territory, get help from a therapist or a coach

#7: Do an Inventory of Your Priorities

Our time and attention are valuable — they’re our most important resources. So, if you really want to have a lighter load and be more effective at reaching your goals, it’s time to look at your priorities.

You don’t have time for everything. So what can you pare back? It will all depend on what’s truly meaningful for you, not what you think should be meaningful. Maybe you truly value your time with family more than your career, which means you’ll need to work a bit less. If you’re cutting down on work, maybe you’ll need to make some adjustments to your budget.

Or maybe you “never have time” for your creative passions, yet you find yourself binging Netflix or doom scrolling. Be honest — you do have time.

#8: Set Boundaries with Negative Friends and Loved Ones

As you start a new chapter in life, you want to be mindful of the energies of the people around you. Just like pruning a plant, you want to prune out behaviors that you find unacceptable or that are having a negative influence on you.

This doesn’t mean you have to cut a bunch of people out of your life, but it does mean you might need to set some boundaries. If a coworker is always calling to gossip about people and you find this to be a negative influence, you might gently change the subject or let her know as soon as you answer her call that you only have ten minutes to talk.

This doesn’t mean you have to cut a bunch of people out of your life, but it does mean you might need to set some boundaries.

Boundaries are a complicated subject, so it’s important to do some homework on them. Good boundary-setting skills are useful in all areas of your life, so it’s worth mastering them.

#9: Support Your Inner Spring Cleaning with Physical Self-Care

You are a whole being. Your mental and emotional states affect your physical state and vice versa. So, as you go about making internal changes, support yourself by leaning into physical self-care practices.

Drink lots of water to support the release and cleansing of emotional baggage. Get your blood pumping to sweat out stress hormones that may have been accumulating all winter. Eat light, and maybe even consider a cleanse. Get enough rest as you digest the changes that are percolating within.

#10: Do a Style Refresh

Now for the really fun part — self-expression as your new self. Changing up your style, whether it’s decor, clothes, or just the way you present yourself, can help make intangible changes tangible and visible. Also, letting go of old clothes, accessories, or furniture can also energetically give us a feeling of lightness and freshness. 

Maybe you’ve leveled up in terms of your empowerment during the winter season. How can you express this? Maybe it’s time to go for a more mature style. Maybe you’ve realized creativity is your number one priority, and you’d like to do away with the old blazers you never wear to work anymore and that just don’t fit who you are. Likewise, you can adjust your decor style to reflect the new you, like amping up your home office space so you feel posh within it.

#11: Clean Your Home with Intention

When you do get around to spring cleaning your physical space, remember that intention is everything. 

You can elevate the simple act of sweeping to a meditative practice by imagining you’re sweeping away old worries. You can prioritize certain areas of your life by tending to their physical dwelling, like putting a vase of fresh flowers on the dining table where you spend time with your partner.

Be creative as you do this, and have fun with it! As you clear out leftovers languishing in the back of the fridge, imagine that you’re clearing out space for more abundance to come in. As you open the windows and let fresh air in, imagine that you’re letting fresh air into your mind. Put on some fun music and celebrate the chance to have a fresh start that we get every year.

Get Ready for a Fresh Start

Our minds and emotions need just as much of a fresh start as our homes. So don’t just spring clean your home this year — spring clean every part of you! The first step is to be aware of what needs to be updated or tossed out. It could be an old experience that’s still haunting you, a belief that doesn’t serve your highest good, or a habit of wasting time with low-priority activities.

Maybe you just have too much on your mind, or you’re bombarded with negativity from a loved one. Whatever it is, commit to releasing it in the ways that feel best to you. Don’t forget to support your growth through physical self-care, and make spring cleaning your home meaningful through intention. Here’s to a new season of greatness!

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