Professor Ewan Gillon, chartered psychologist and clinical director of First Psychology Aberdeen, discusses the benefits of de-cluttering your life to boost mental health.
With the heavy snow and weather warning alerts we’ve been having recently it can feel as though winter will never end.
However, spring is right around the corner and we’ve brought you some tips on how to de-clutter your life and improve your mental wellbeing as we move towards warmer weather and lighter nights.
Spring is traditionally a time for de-cluttering and making more space in our home.
Have you ever heard the phrase “a tidy home leads to a tidy mind”? Our surroundings can greatly affect our mood.
How many times have you opened that dreaded cupboard for its contents to fall out around you, leaving you feeling annoyed? Clutter and mess around us can distract us and make us feel stressed.
By throwing old items away we are also symbolically breaking the link between past and present which can have a powerful effect on our mental wellbeing.
Although it can be difficult to get rid of things we associate with particular people or times in our life, by doing so, we are telling ourselves it’s now time to move on.
Whether it’s a gift from a previous partner or a letter from a friend you don’t speak to anymore, throwing away old mementos can result in positive feelings of lightness and relief, as well as helping us let go of the past.
De-cluttering can also boost your self-esteem. Those clothes in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn for years because they’re too small?
It’s time to get rid of them! Being reminded of the past every time you open your wardrobe can have a huge effect on your self-esteem. So, get rid of those old clothes and focus on the present.
Tips on boosting your mental health this spring:
Make a plan
Create a list of rooms or areas you want to de-clutter or clean. This makes starting the process easier and gives you a sense of achievement as you make your way through your to-do list.
Relationships can become stifled through the winter months as we spend too much time cooped up indoors.
Springtime encourages us to get some fresh air and spend more time outdoors. Go for long walks – did you know connecting with nature is known to have a highly positive effect on how we feel?
Also, why not find a new hobby or start doing something you love in your spare time? This will help develop confidence and improve well-being.
Re-evaluate your life
Think about the things you appreciate in your life, as well as things that perhaps you would like to change.
Now is the time to set yourself new career goals or start saving for that dream holiday.
One of the most common reasons we fail to accomplish things is that we set ourselves unrealistic targets, and this can invoke unpleasant feelings of failure and guilt.
So, start small and work your way up. However, by also reminding ourselves of the positives in our lives, we can improve our long-term happiness.
Activities such as keeping an ‘appreciation diary’ can boost our mental health due to the connections that it creates within the brain.
We’re less likely to keep up with our exercise regimes in the winter as we eat more comfort food and spend more time at home.
With the warmer weather and lighter nights, spring is the perfect time to start exercising more and eating better. Exercise releases endorphins that can help us feel more energised and happy.
So, this spring it’s time to shake off those cobwebs and breathe new life into things that can make you feel good to give your mental health a well-deserved boost.