Many of us give our homes a deep clean in the Spring, but not many provide the same time and attention to their psychological health. Here, Psychotherapist Noel McDermott offers his top tips for your mental health Spring cleaning. Decluttering your brain is just as important, if not more so, than organising your home.
If you’re looking to improve your well-being, then take some time to look at your emotional and mental space. With Spring comes a renewed sense of hope with warmer weather, increased daylight, and the joy that nature brings us at this time of year.
Spring cleaning checklist:
- How is your sleep?
- Have you seen any significant changes in appetite?
- How is your weight?
- What are general energy levels like?
- How do you feel about yourself?
- Do you have trouble relaxing, and do you feel on edge?
- Are you experiencing a generalised sense of fear or doom?
- Do you feel worried about the future?
- Are you dealing with feelings of hopelessness or of being a failure?
Developing healthy habits
The key to a healthy lifestyle is developing healthy habits, which are done automatically. One of the best examples of this is an everyday habit. It’s simply part of our routine, and the more we can turn healthy decisions into routine lifestyle habits, the better.
As psychological health and well-being is mainly about preventing problems rather than solving them, we want ideally to be psychologically fit in the same way we aim to be physically fit.
Again, thinking about our teeth, we don’t want to wait until we need a filling; we want to avoid filling in the first place. Spring is the season of hope, and these regular general well-being habits form the foundation of your psychological fitness giving you more detailed action plans to put in place to ensure you meet psychological needs and reduce the risk of becoming debilitated by unhealthy psychological functioning.
Top tips for positive psychological health
- Keeping good sleep hygiene
- Eating regularly and healthily
- Hydrating properly
- Keeping your work schedule
- Socialising with loved ones and with friends
- Keeping your alcohol consumption down
- Exercising regularly
- Getting into nature, your local park regularly?
Psychotherapist Noel McDermott comments: ‘One of the key features of psychological distress is what we in the trade call ‘lack insight’. That people don’t know they are ill, depressed, anxious etc. Because of the lack of insight, people can delay getting help and make their condition more complex and chronic.’
‘Regular mental health check-ups in the same way as regular physical health check-ups are a great way of dealing with this issue and help prevent serious and avoidable problems. Linking these check-ups to times of the year that we traditionally use for resets, such as Spring cleaning, means we can easily drop this habit into others and with little effort.’
Give yourself a general psychological well-being check and ask:
- How much satisfaction do you feel from your life?
- Do you have a strong support network?
- How is your physical health?
- Are you active and fit?
- What regular social activities do you engage with?
- What hobbies and interests do you have?
- How is work?
- What is your view and feelings about your future?
- Are you achieving in the way you wish, are your goals clear to you and are you meeting them?
- Do you feel loved by others, and can you express your love to others?
- Are you financially sound?
As well as providing a checklist, these questions can also provide an action plan as psychological well-being can be improved by meeting any deficits indicated. Regular check-ins with a mental health professional to have an MOT on your psychological state can benefit you. It’s not an assessment for services or a referral for psychological therapy, and it should be linked to your everyday functioning.
Noel McDermott is a psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience in health, social care, and education.