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Monday, May 27
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COLUMN: Rethinking spring cleaning

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For many, spring cleaning is an annual tradition of clearing out your mind, body and physical space for a new season of warmth. If you are not usually a participant in this practice, I encourage you to implement some form of spring cleaning into your life — in whatever way makes sense for you. Declutter things or ideas that are dragging down your overall energy and focus on implementing healthy and attainable habits as you move forward. 

Declutter 

Open your drawers and pull out any pieces of clothing you never wear. Maybe something isn’t your size anymore, maybe the color doesn’t flatter you or maybe a sweater is too itchy for your liking. Think about giving these pieces to friends, selling them on an app like Poshmark or Depop, donating to a local thrift store or even upcycling them into something new.  

Decluttering is not just about physical spaces. Consider decluttering your social media — something which people ages 16-24 spend an average of over 5 hours on each day. Unfollow anyone whose posts trigger negative feelings for you. If you feel you cannot unfollow someone for social reasons, try muting their posts. Clearing these people or posts from your feed can help remove unnecessary negative clutter from your mind. 

It’s also important to take things slow rather than making yourself tackle everything at once. Perhaps you have thousands of pictures in your camera roll that are overwhelming you. Every day, pick one month of photos to go through and clear out the ones you do not need. When you check your email inbox each day, take a minute to unsubscribe from a few companies at a time.  

Related: [COLUMN: Creative ways to reuse everyday items]

Lighten your mental load 

Set aside a day or just a couple of hours to do all those little tasks you’ve been putting off. You know the ones. Schedule your doctor’s appointment, clean your makeup brushes, clear off “the chair” or organize your junk drawer. Addressing any of those small and usually simple tasks that sit at the back of your mind and make you feel like you constantly have more on your to-do list can do wonders for your stress level and allow you to focus on schoolwork or other things you feel more excited about. 

Healthy habits 

Think of some habits you may want to implement or break, but do not force yourself into anything you know will not bring you joy or that simply is not sustainable for your lifestyle. There is no need to force yourself to wake up for a heavy lifting workout at 5 a.m. if you find it much easier to attend an 8 p.m. yoga class. If you want to eat healthier but hate salads, just try adding some different vegetables to one of your favorite recipes.  

Think of ways to improve your health and wellbeing without punishing yourself or getting upset when you are unmotivated to practice certain habits. Emphasize aiming to meet goals that fit into your lifestyle while being gentle with yourself and acknowledging your preexisting habits or tendencies. Implement new habits that make you feel excitement, not dread. 

Related: [COLUMN: How upcycling helped fix my body dysmorphia]

Reenergize yourself  

Focus on making time for activities, practices and habits in your life that spark joy, creativity and security. Consider trying a new hobby or sport if you’ve been thinking about it. Improv classes? Recreational soccer? Knitting club? The world is your oyster, especially here at IU.  

As I have recently written in a previous column, relish in the outdoors this spring and take the time to “play outside” when you can. Surrounding yourself with warmth, light and the life of the outdoors can be healing and energizing, inspiring you to jump into this spring more confident and ready to take on what is to come. 

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