Did you know that in the early Roman calendar the month of March was designated the start of the new year, I quite like the idea of this being a fresh start, but is this possible in these uncertain times?
For a lot of us it has been a long, wet and quite frankly a miserable winter and for various different reasons, whether it is individual problems or wider world concerns included Covid-19 we are looking for something to focus on, make us feel better and less weighed down.
From March we are promised longer, lighter days and more sunshine as the clocks go forward. We notice that our surroundings are changing, trees and flowers start to bloom and as with nature we feel more energetic, springtime can undoubtably improve overall moods and energies which can only be a good thing.
So it seems that spring and hope seem to be intertwined, and with the advent of spring we seem to start to feel better about ourself and the possibility of change. If you feel motivated to change, what will that change be? Could it be action for your physical health, reconnecting with family and friends (remotely!) or even working on your mental health.
Here are my suggestions for spring cleaning your mental health
Spring cleaning… Quite topical and if your social isolating a great starting point! This is synonymous with the onset of spring, and dates back hundreds of years with its roots in many cultural and religious traditions. It may seem like a laborious task but at a fundamental level it just makes sense! For some tidying your living space will make your home and mind feel clearer, and as you attempt to make your home cleaner, clearing the clutter will also help you clear your mind and help you to check things of your mental check list. It has been said that women specifically have shown to have chronic levels of cortisol, a stress hormone if they perceive there home to be cluttered! ( J Fader 2015)
Go green, as in vegetables…While this may seem random it really isn’t. With all the new growth in nature how about changing up your food. Eat lighter meals and include a range of colours – this will invigorate your body and feed your mind and is also helpful for your immune system. If you have green fingers get in your garden and plant some fresh vegetables of your own.
Get outdoors… Now that the weather is better and the evenings are brighter it might be easier to start to exercise again. As I have said before it is a fact that our mood is lifted by getting more sunshine and natural light. Try and spend some time outside every day. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out but by exposing yourself to natural light you will naturally boost your Serotonin levels which will have a big effect on your mood. This one is obvious as exercise causes the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain.
Be mindful… This is my personal favourite as it gives you time to ‘just be’. Consider a quiet activity on which you can focus your mind, or an activity that relaxes you and gives you a chance to connect with ‘now’ away from what is going on in the world. I enjoy mindful walking and the spring months are a wonderful time to do this.
Reconnect with others… Now that our winter hibernation is over, you could make time to re-connect with others. With what is going on in the world this maybe tricky but perhaps you could call a friend, go for a walk with a neighbour or have a walk out with your family to enjoy the fresh air. Time away from the screens and the news will do you the world of good. But remember do what you want to do, what makes you feel happy, you can say no!
As with every change sometimes things can feel overwhelming, spring just gives you a small opportunity to make some changes to move towards a new mindset and a fresh start. Just try to embrace it, and do something for you.
If you are finding you are suffering with anxiety around the Covid -19 virus please read my blog here.