Spring cleaning is just around the corner! Some of you may have watched "Tidying up with Marie Kondo "on Netflix. This post will explore ways to de-clutter not only the things around us, but also looking intuitively to understand why we feel cluttered. If you are becoming inspired to de-clutter or would like some healthy tips as ways to spark your joy (as Marie would say), keep reading!
Why do we associate Spring with de-cluttering? After thinking about your new year’s resolutions, spring is a brand new season, and for many, it is a fresh start to embark on new habits. How will you make THIS season different? See if you could create a vision of what you would like you and your space to feel like.
We can start with our environment and the people we surround ourselves with. Do the people around you love you unconditionally, encourage you to be the best version of yourself? Are you excited when you spend time with them? Do you feel content after making memories with them? You are worthy of this kind of love even when you are still learning to love yourself.
Ask yourself: How am I feeling? What am I needing? What can I do to meet my needs?
Notice what your work environment looks like. Maybe adding a plant, a diffuser, or even changing your desktop background to an image of a safe space could help spark some joy. A clean surface could also bring about a content feeling.
As Brené Brown puts it, boundaries can be defined as what is okay to you and what is not okay. Boundaries are the key to self-compassion but it can be tricky.
Be careful of over-scheduling and burnout: saying no to things that don’t spark your joy. A key trick is to listen to your heart and your gut on this one. They say we have 3 brains: the head, heart and gut. We are often listening and believing what our mind tells us. But the mind can be complicated when thoughts are mostly around ‘what-ifs’ scenarios. When something doesn’t feel quite right, your heart and your gut will be the first to let you know.
Here are some ways to say ‘no’:
“I can’t take this on right now.”
“That doesn’t work on my end, thanks for thinking of me.”
“That’s not within my budget, but thanks for the invite.”
“That sounds like fun, but I am going to pass this time”
“Not today, thank you.”
Feel free to find creative ways that fit with how you would like to get across your boundaries!
If you are feeling cluttered, reflect on how you best recharge or reset. Do you allow me-time in the day or the week? Take yourself out on that walk, or take a minute to transition between rooms—by stepping outside after a meeting even for a minute to get some fresh air.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”—Aristotle
Are you setting routines in your day? What would you like your school/work, self-care, morning or night routines to look like? Practicing structure through a routine can help us feel more in control and organized.
It’s not a race.
Slow down! There’s no need to do everything on high speed. Notice your pace, even the way you walk. Are you rushing through those escalator stairs to catch the next train? Answer truthfully to yourself: do you drive within the speed limit? Doing tasks and living our life at high speed or the need to maintain a high degree of ‘productivity’ can often lead to higher stress levels and even more mistakes.
Many open tabs and screen time.
How many tabs do you have open on your internet? Count them. How does this number make you feel? Having a lot of tabs open or having a cluttered computer screen can overstimulate our brain, making it hard to focus on our tasks.
How much time do you spend behind your screen? With the feature on our phones telling us how much time we have dedicated to being on our screens, you may be surprised by the number.
Are you following accounts that do not spark self-compassion, or joy? You are in control of what you want to see on your feed so be selective of your social media consumption. Organize it by scrolling down your feed and looking out for particular ones that do not promote values that you find to be important. Unfollowing those accounts can help you feel more congruent with yourself.
Now we are going to go inward, expanding our mindfulness on how we are feeling. Think of your emotions like the weather pattern. What is the emotion or internal weather that is visiting you at this moment? See if you can notice it without reacting to it in a judgemental way (e.g. anger is not good). In Hellenistic philosophy, it was believed that emotions visit us. See if you can recognize that the emotion, like anger, as visiting you right now. Like weather patterns, emotions come and they go. What is the underlying message of the emotion and what can we do with that message?
Celebrate yourself, all that you have went through. What does resiliency look like from your experiences? Make as many gratitude lists and affirmations as you want. Affirmations do not always need to start with “I can” and “I am” before the statement. If you have feeling like this is a huge expectation and seems daunting, see if you can start off by adding “I am learning to…” or “I am learning that…” in the beginning of the statement. Find ways to create affirmations or develop mantras that you resonate with—ones that are most genuine to you! Repeat it and learn to believe it.
“The root of joy is gratefulness...It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”— Brother David Steindl-Rast
Practicing gratitude helps to invite and ‘spark' joy into our lives. Think about it: How do you thank your hardworking mind and body? If you don't usually do this, what are ways you can start by becoming more aware of things you do have, or strengths you embody already?
On the contrary, become more aware of where stress and worry stores in your body. Practice doing body scans, even if it is only for a minute or two. There are many types of body scans you could do, but the progressive muscle relaxation is a good one, by tensing up areas in my body, holding it for a few seconds and letting go. This exercise could help you notice what tension feels like versus how relaxation feels in your body.
What does your de-cluttering checklist look like?
We named elements that are important to us on our de-cluttering checklist, but what are some things we might have missed? Leave a comment down below, we would love to hear from you!
Resources and further reading:
Search up Brené Brown and go down that rabbit hole to cultivate self-growth and setting boundaries!
Read this article on open tabs and how it can impact on your level of focus!
Thank you for reading!
Linda Lin MCP-AT RCC CCC