If you were to ask any of my past or present roommates how they would rate me from 1-5 (1 being the sloppiest, 5 being the cleanest), my guess would be that I stand somewhere between a 4 and a 5. I make my bed on most days and always try to tidy up my room and restroom before going to sleep every night.
However, I recently discovered that there are weeks where my cleaning habits become unrecognizable and my living area reflects someone totally opposite of who I am. This usually occurs when I’m feeling really stressed out or going through a rough patch in life. I tend to lose all energy to make any type of effort to clean up my life or myself. I slowly begin to sink myself into this messy hole, bills go unpaid, clothes begins to pile up all over my room and as more days go by and my emotions become worse, so does my mess, followed by poor hygiene and bad eating habits. I’ll leave my bed unmade for weeks and leave tracks of everything I’ve eaten or clothes I’ve put on.
Leaving behind a trail of messiness makes a kind of logical sense in hindsight: through all the chaos going on in my life or in my mind, it makes me feel as though I’m in control of something while everything else in my world is falling apart. When you feel hurt and don’t want to pick up after yourself, you say, ‘Fine, then don’t.’ You let it go willingly and feel a small sense of empowerment with your ability to just say ‘No.’ However, once you go down this route, it takes time to get out of that mindset and start over again.
I’ve noticed that the only way I can manage to lift myself up and get back on track, is by organizing myself and everything visible that surrounds me. Here’s how to spring clean your thoughts for a fresh start.
1. Begin with the tasks that are more challenging and that will take up more time: organizing your bills, clearing out closet, making your bed, and even taking your car for a good wash.
Making a list is key: I jot down a list of things that need to get done, take a few deep breaths, and without hesitation (and a cup of coffee in my hand, or course) I don’t stop until it’s all done. Stick to the list and stay focused, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly things start to look “normal.”
2. Take inventory of your thoughts. How much time a day do you spend thinking about what? Often, what’s playing in our heads is just the same idea, repeating over and over again–without any fresh insight or usefulness to your growth or happiness. Worries and anxieties about the future, feeling of being victimized, resentment, or loneliness…These feelings are not necessarily inherently bad, but replaying them constantly isn’t accomplishing anything. Acknowledge them, write them down if necessary, and let them go: move on to find another perspective.
3. Embrace “clean slate” state of mind. Sometimes, when we let go of the repetitive clutter in our heads, we feel empty. There is a void in the space that used to hold emotions (like missing your ex, for instance, or being angry at yourself) and you may feel afraid of that emptiness. Realize that it’s okay to feel empty once in a while so you can fill with positive thoughts and emotions. Embrace that quiet as much as you can.
4. Nourish your new mindset. Cleansing your thoughts is a difficult task: do activities that calm and relaxes your mind. Read a good book, a mani/pedi, a glass of wine and of course, chocolate.
Obviously, it’s easier said than done and takes a lot of effort to do this. However, I have to remind myself that life goes on and I have to keep up with it, like it or not. Once I’ve completed all my tasks, I feel refreshed, relieved, and ready to deal with anything life has to offer me.
Also by Cristina: Natural Beauty – How to Grow Your Hair Out Faster
Related: Journaling for Abundance
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read via Flickr; mewot via Flickr