Welcome to an unusual time of the year. It seems that many of us are in limbo waiting for the plants to bloom, weather to change, the next big holiday to roll around and the surprises they bring. After the new year has begun Spring is a wonderful a time of year when we are constantly being reminded of renewal of new life by the plants and trees and how hope can be restored once again.
Spring is a time when we can begin to see the world reviving itself with beautiful flowers in bloom, baby animals being born, and the world renewing itself.
It is inspirational, watching the colors and beauty blooming all around us after the long, cold winter. Bright colors from beautiful trees, rich green grass, and exquisitely designed, colorful flowers all around. It is truly inspiring.
In saying this, it can be assumed this is where the concept, “Spring Cleaning,” comes from. It can be a time for each person to renew, spring up new vibrant colors from all the hard work over the dark, cold days of winter months. Now, many spring cleaning may be seen as a chore that reminds one of the chaos that can be problematic in our lives, or it can be viewed as a therapeutic endeavor to take on in the current moment. Consider a spin on the traditional sense of “Spring Cleaning” and think about some self-care ideas tied around spring cleaning.
In past articles, we have discussed the importance of writing things down, figuring out the emotions tied to our feelings and recording it on a piece of paper, your computer, a journal, or a notebook. Let’s push it a little further, with some more self-care to consider.
Writing with Purpose.
Find a journal with questions or use some online prompts, take 2 minutes, and just write whatever the prompt is asking you to share about. Do not think, just write. The significance of this is to write without stopping, do not worry about grammar and spelling, just write. Try researching “self-care journal prompts” to find some options to get started on writing these prompts.
The important thing to keep in mind here is to give yourself a minimum of two-minutes on a timer. If you find this to be too short of a time, for your daily prompt, add another minute. However, keep in mind your daily schedule and try to do this around the same time every day.
Find a planner/write down what you do all day for one day—if you feel ambitious, try writing what you do during an entire workweek. If this is tedious, you can start with one day during the week, a day you go into work, and write down all the things you do accomplish. If you feel ambitious, maybe you can do this every day during the work week. At the end of said working week, look back at the day(s) in which you wrote everything down that you accomplished.
Do you notice anything? This exercise is to help take a temperature of your everyday life.
Work is important but are you doing anything for yourself during the day. Now this self-care does not have to be grandiose, but it needs to be intentional and something for yourself.
When you are feeling burnt out, are you taking a walk around the building, finding some human interaction, stepping away from the screen.
This can do two things: it gives you an opportunity for a mental and physical break/timeout. It can also help when you are finding yourself in a mundane routine where you are feeling stuck.
Take yourself out on a date, no not really, but really, go out to your favorite restaurants, see a movie, go for a walk in a nice park, get a massage, or get your nails done. It does not have to be expensive—but as in the words of a “Parks and Recreation” character, “TREAT YOSELF!”
This activity can be done alone or with a group of people, it is up to you how you find your rest. Be mindful that group activities although could be fun, they can also be exhausting. Whatever you do, it should be something that brings you joy or takes you out of your comfort zone.
Choose something that is intentionally outside of your routine. Moments where you just rest and can find an escape from all the worry and noise going on. Literally take a break, as best as you can, and just rest in the moments of peace. Some ideas for embracing moments are:
Find a project you are interested in, or an organization you would like to give back to. Figure out what they are looking for, do they need help, do they need clothes, canned foods, fundraisers, or other specific needs? Then figure out what you can do to help/donate. This is a great way to find new homes when you are Spring cleaning and providing items that others may need.
Find Your Passion.
It can be easy for us to get wrapped up in our jobs and lives because it is what we must do. That can mean our passion and reason for doing what we do can lost its spark. Spring can be a great time to reflect and make choices that can rekindle our passions.
Passion is a driving force for humans, it is what helps us get up in the mornings and reminds us of the purpose we serve.
Find time to be pursue your passion. If you have a job where you do a lot of sitting, find something you enjoy doing that is active—yoga, cycling, walking, boot camp, whatever you prefer, as long as it is something that has your entire body working.
Physical activity will do two things, it requires you to use your brain and your body, this combination can release a lot of stress and tension built up over time. The counter to this is that if you have a physically demanding job where you are active all day, find something less physically demanding that you can do, like yoga, or stretching, or reading. Whichever your job requires try and find the balance in your “out of work” activities to help balance what you are missing in your self-care.
These self-care suggestions are just that, suggestions. It is truly up to what you decide to do for yourself. It could be as simple as watching a movie you have been meaning to watch, or it could be discovering a new passion that you have just unlocked. Whatever you do for yourself remember it is up to you to make it your own. You can always find a plan to follow, but you might not find one that suits you, and it does not have to be something regimented.
It really is up to you to find what is helpful and productive in your self-care. If you are a person who needs a schedule, finding a class that you can take the same time every week can be helpful. Some people do not need or want that, perhaps it is something you can do once a month for yourself.
Spring is an exciting time to see all the newness, regeneration of the world, it is also a wonderful time to remind yourself that you too are still blooming, you need a time for renewing, refreshing, and finding time for your self-care.
If you are struggling with finding time or ways to embrace self-care, our therapists would love to help with this. To find our more, please see https://upstaterestorativecounseling.com/life-transitions/