Springtime! The flowers are in bloom and new green leaves are sprouting.
As we awaken from our winter semi-hibernation, it’s time for the traditional spring cleaning and clearing out of closets to make space for warm weather clothing. It’s all part of welcoming the new spring season.
But we can take it further than that: It’s also a good time for a more thorough reset of your life physically, emotionally and mentally. Much like cleaning the house, it’s about organizing yourself so you can be present for the people, places and experiences you want in your life.
Begin by decluttering your home, a little at a time. You can go room by room, organizing and filing things, creating a place to drop the mail and keys, and developing other systems that will help simplify your life.
Digital spaces need decluttering, too. Is your phone sending you messages that you’re running out of space? Is your laptop doing the same? Time to go through your digital devices, deleting unnecessary items, duplicates and videos/podcasts that are space hogs.
Now that we’ve begun to tackle some of the physical/organizational parts of the challenge, let’s move on.
Think about habits you want to cultivate — and those you want to drop that don’t bring you joy (doomscrolling, anyone?).
Good habits help us achieve our goals and stay healthy in the process. A daily routine helps you to stay on track. Little by little, those small changes create larger ones and help you feel happier and become more productive.
Take the time to reflect on how to bring more balance to your life. Think about the stresses you encounter and how you might adjust your mindset or behavior to lighten the burden.
Make time for relaxation and self-care, prioritizing modalities you find most helpful. Try new things, too: whether it’s exercise, getting outdoors, meditation or massage, there’s a long list of things to try. You may discover something entirely new that you enjoy.
Make sure to prioritize your relationships; they are key to well-being. Connections to friends, family and community enrich our lives. Are your connections fulfilling or do you need to make some adjustments, pare back commitments or even distance yourself from people who are having a negative influence on your life? Having more time for enjoying — or building — meaningful relationships will create positive ripple effects throughout your days.
Planning ahead: the mental reset
Think about ways to plan ahead and simplify your life as a way to reduce overall stress. Whether it’s a dedicated laundry day or cooking your meals for the week, you can maximize the ease of your life by thinking ahead and planning in ways that make sense for you.
Embrace your natural tendencies, so you’re not making change harder on yourself: If you’re a morning person, do your organizing/planning then; likewise, if evening is a better time, make sure to take advantage of that. Go with the forms of exercise you most enjoy, the healthy food you appreciate and the books you love.
Organize your social life with friends and family; put date nights on your calendar, discover free and low-cost things to do in your community.
Like the rest of humanity, you most likely can’t have it all — but if you prioritize what is most important, you will reap the rewards. Decide what’s crucial and high value and let some of the lower-value tasks fall to the wayside.
Set boundaries and say no to tasks you don’t have the time or energy for; delegate where possible and spread your mental load over more time to avoid burnout. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out for support to trusted friends or seek professional help. The union’s Member Assistance Program is available to offer counseling and support at MAPinfo@uft.org or by calling 212-701-9620 to speak with a licensed clinician.