Photo By: Pille R. Priske from Unsplash

Spring is near, and as always, with it comes a new sense of purpose and productivity. A tradition as old as time, spring cleaning is one of the best ways to usher in the new season and to deal with some of what we may have been putting off in the winter.

Spring cleaning is so much more than just switching your fall and winter wardrobe for your spring and summer one; this change in season brings with it a change in perspective, and spring cleaning is the clearest example of this.

With clutter comes stress and other mental health issues. Whether the ‘clutter’ you want to rid your life of is unwanted things or unwanted people, the first and most important step of spring cleaning is to be present in the moment and think critically about what it is you want to clean up in your life and why you want to do it.

What often happens is that we let this clutter accumulate in our lives as a result of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD refers to a feeling of depression that is related to the change in seasons. Many people, whether they are clinically diagnosed or not, experience symptoms of SAD.

Some symptoms of SAD include feeling sad or down most days, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having low energy, sleeping too much, overeating and weight gain, and having difficulty concentrating, among others.

Diagnosed or not, the longer days, warmer temperatures, and increasing sunlight associated with spring and summer can be enough to get many people out of their seasonal depressive state. For others, it’s not so easy, but that’s where spring cleaning can help; it can be the catalyst some people need to allow their body and mind to truly usher in the warmer months.

Oftentimes, it is easy to leave cleaning or organizing to the last minute because it is something that can easily be pushed to the back burner or forgotten about. But it’s important to remember that our environment and those who we surround ourselves with have a major impact on our mental health, so the longer we put off spring cleaning, the worse its impact on our mental health.

If the idea of spring cleaning is a bit overwhelming, one of the best things you can do to get started is to make a list of what you need to do. On top of being a way to visually compartmentalize the work you need to do, it also can act as a reward for those who enjoy crossing things off their list as they do them. A list can also be a subtle way to prompt or remind yourself that these things need to be done.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to making time for the things that are important. While it may be easier said than done, prioritizing what is and isn’t important will make all the difference.

So with the season actively changing and mandates being lifted, we should all try to build on that momentum and take the opportunity to de-clutter and de-stress. Let’s all try and welcome the new season the right way.