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Step into Spring

Published on: May 11, 2020

By Jess Bowers, Young People’s Practitioner for Compass REACH

As we step into spring, we may naturally start preparing to undertake our cleansing rituals for the season ahead. I have certainly heard the term ‘spring cleaning’ being used frequently of late. Something about the sun that awakens the desire to get things sorted and cleansed in spring. The rituals take shape in many forms and across all locations in our life.

In our gardens, we start clearing away the remains of last year’s plants and turn the soil, ready for re-growth. Planting new seeds and nurturing them, soon to bloom. We may get chance to finally cut the grass and hang our washing out in the garden to dry, a satisfying feeling for most. Spring symbolises a time of regrowth and regeneration. Evidence of new life begins to transpire, baby lambs are born and we notice the arrival of bird song, as winter passes and gives way to spring.

Our focus shifts to the inside of our houses, undertaking a ‘spring clean’. We may wish to open the windows to let fresh air in, cleanse our wardrobes in preparation for some slightly warmer weather (packing away the winter goods, for now), re-arranging furniture, changing decor and freshening up our rooms that create our now refreshed, comfortable and safe space.

Another aspect we may wish to consider when ‘spring cleaning’ is cleansing, sorting and decluttering our mental wardrobe. What do I mean by that? Basically, cleaning up our minds. Could we give ourselves the same cleansing treatment that we give our home? How can we do this? A great place to start is by setting your intentions for the following season. What do you need to close down and let go of from winter? What are your aims for spring? What would you like to focus on, attempt and achieve? Perhaps you want to look at reviewing past goals and intentions and establish and re-affirm your goals for the coming months, perhaps documenting these in a diary or journal to track your journey.

Ideas of goals:

Focusing on boundary setting, letting go of things that no longer serve you, and practising being kind to yourself, as you would others, in line Mental Heath Awareness Week topic of kindness. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Introduce or re-introduce a fitness routine or try a new fitness class, venturing out on bike rides and walks and scheduling when you can do this. There are lots of free workouts available online including the Body Coach Monday to Friday at 9am, which can be accessed at any time on YouTube.

Set aside time each day to check in with our bodies to identify any needs it may have; tension from stress, headaches from dehydration, fatigue from lack of sleep. Identifying what we can we do to address those needs, and highlight what adjustments we can make to prevent further concerns.

Keeping our body fueled, with food, water, sleep and introducing routines to do so.

Introducing time for self care, such as a morning cup of tea in the garden, 15 minutes outdoors at lunch, making time to read a book, morning or evening stretches and/or have a nice warm bubble bath. The Blurt Foundation Self Care Starter Kit offers a good place to start. https://www.blurtitout.org/resource/self-care-info/

Starting a new project you’ve been putting off due to the winter weather.

Perhaps clear out old belongings and donate unwanted items to charity?

Digital goals: Clearing out our email inboxes, turning off notifications of apps to allow us to decide when we access them instead of being distracted by the contact ping of uninvited messages, to claw back some of the time we spend scrolling and using it for other helpful things that benefit us.

Checking in with friends and family via video or telephone call, keeping us connected, and setting aside time keep connected with others.

One of the great things about seasonal changes is the fact they bring about changes not only visually, but in terms of what we feel. Flowers start to bloom, bringing colour and attracting wildlife, the cold frosty breeze moves to gentle warm air. We naturally become more ‘mindful’ and pay attention to these changes. We have been very fortunate with the spring weather to date, which we are all grateful for, I am sure.

Due to longer periods of light, we may establish a new routine to meet changing seasons. With day light time increasing, we begin to spend more time outdoors for some well needed vitamin D and taking in all the season has to offer. This is our season for growth and our chance to re-bloom.

We are only in the early stages of the season and we have experienced some unusual changes, and with this can bring about uncertainty and the unknown. We are being encouraged to stay in and spend more time at home, which can give us an unexpected break to commence these cleansing rituals. But this time may also bring some difficulties for people.

The NHS offer some helpful tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home, including; finding out about your employment benefits and rights, thinking about where to stay, planning practical things, staying connected with others, talking about your worries, looking after your body, staying on top of difficult feelings, use of news and considering the time we spend looking at news outlets, continuing to do the things you enjoy, taking time to relax, thinking about and sticking to daily routines, looking after your sleep and keeping your mind active. These are all important and practical tips to promote a promising foundation for good mental health and wellbeing. Find out more – NHS Every Mind Matters: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

Action for Happiness offer us a Coping Calendar, which reminds us to keep calm, stay wise and be kind. Action for Happiness also offer monthly calendars that can provide a great source of motivation and inspiration. Find the Coping Calendar and the Meaningful May calendar below. https://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars

Take care of yourselves and others, and let’s try to embrace all that spring has to offer.