The long, cold, dark nights of winter can leave us feeling drained, tired and, for some, depressed. Studies have shown that when we're less exposed to daylight, our levels of serotonin drop, which can affect our mood and trigger symptoms of depression. The more daylight we are exposed to, the more serotonin we produce. So, it’s not surprising that the moment we start to see signs of spring, we instantly begin to feel in a better mood, with many of us getting the urge to spring clean our homes.
But springtime is also a great time to focus on our mental and emotional wellbeing, and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, or general melancholy. Find out how in our tips for spring cleaning your mind, below.
A healthy diet packed with seasonal fruit and vegetables, and plenty of water, can work wonders not just for our physical health but also out mental health. A healthy diet can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Soak up all that wonderful vitamin D which can regulate your mood and help fight depression. Replace a short trip in the car with a short walk, park your car further away from the shops, or get off the bus early to maximise the benefits.
Get into good sleeping habits
Too much or too little sleep can play havoc with our energy levels and mental wellbeing, so try and get into a routine of early nights and early mornings having between seven and nine hours’ sleep a night.
Deal with negative thoughts
Whether it’s a recent argument with a friend or work anxiety that’s playing on your mind, a good way to free your mind of worry is to write down anything that’s bothering you and make a list of possible solutions. Try to understand if it’s something you can let go or if you need to take action. It might seem daunting at first but once you start to tackle anything that’s taking up head space, you’ll feel a huge weight lifted.
Sometimes we can hurt ourselves as much as others do, so try to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for any past mistakes. Perhaps try repeating positive, daily affirmations such as “I am not perfect, but I am a good person”, or “I am in charge of my own happiness and today I’m going to have a good day”.
Exercising will not only improve your physical health, it’s also great for your mental health as it releases all those lovely endorphins (feel good chemicals). If the thought of exerting yourself terrifies you, just start off slowly with a few stretches each day or a short walk and build up gradually. Don't be tempted to take on too much, add one session into your week at a time and make it a habit before you add more.
Meditation is a great way to clear the mind of negativity and make way for happier and more positive thoughts. You might find it difficult at first to control your thoughts, but you’ll get better with practice and soon start to feel much more in control of what enters your mind.
This is a fabulous way to train and manage your thought processes as it can help you appreciate even the smallest of pleasures that might otherwise go unnoticed. The more we appreciate the positive aspects of our life, the less time we spend dwelling on anything negative.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not Mozart or Van Gogh but doing something creative such as art, music, or dancing can be a great stress reliever. You don’t have to share your creative attempts with anyone else, unless of course you’ve found a new skill that you want to flaunt to your friends or family! Creative activities can help slow down your heart rate and focus your thoughts.
Enjoy 'you' time
Take time to do something you love, whether it’s a long relaxing bath with candles and music or reading your favourite book. It’s easy to neglect ourselves especially when we lead busy lives so it’s vital to feel pampered even if it’s only for 15 minutes each day.