Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to: Emotional Spring Cleaning

While spring hasn't actually really sprung here in Chicago, it is almost April, which means it's time for some spring cleaning. And while I'm not partial to the literal kind of cleaning, I can do the emotional kind. I think it's important to always be conscious of how you feel, and the start of a new season is a great time to put in the effort.

Take Stock of Your Goals
Everyone's got goals, whether it's a goal for next week or a goal for ten years down the road. And while it's awesome to have them, it's easy to lose sight of them when you're crazy busy with everyday life. Do yourself a favor and physically write them down. Make a few categories: goals for the end of the month, goals for the end of this semester/season, goals for the rest of 2014, goals for the next 5 years, ten years, etc. Once you have them written down, it's a lot easier to figure out smaller steps to actually get you there. Even if something is five years down the road, there's still probably some small thing you can do now that will help you achieve it.

Phase out Toxic Relationships
Whether it's a manipulative boyfriend or the girl at work who's famous for backhanded compliments, take care of yourself by ending things. With a romantic relationship there has to be an actual break-up, but it's sometimes trickier to end things with a friend. If you're looking to avoid a huge conflict, you can attempt to slowly phase them out by hanging out with them less and less. You might feel bad about it now, but toxic relationships do nothing but bring you down.

Do Something for Yourself
With the drudge of daily tasks it's easy to forget to do things that make you happy. This spring, as the depressing winter lifts, lift your mood by treating yourself. Get a manicure, go on a day trip with friends, or read a book. You're bound to have a more positive outlook on the months to come when you're feeling emotionally cared for. Bonus points if you try something new that you've been meaning to, whether it's a workout class or a new running path.

Talk Yourself Up
"Positive self talk" may seem like therapy talk, but it really works. Being mindful about the way you perceive yourself can do wonders for your mood. Rather than beating yourself up for bombing a test or missing a workout, cut yourself some slack. Treat yourself the way you'd want others to treat you- with kindness and respect. If you don't appreciate and believe in yourself, it'll be a lot harder for other people to do so.

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