Sunnier days, rising temperatures, and greener grass leave us yearning to feel renewed. For many, a sense of accomplishment and rebirth comes with spring cleaning, where you open the windows, scrub the floors, empty drawers, and unpack closets to begin anew.

Emotional renewal and rebirth can be just as fulfilling and potentially more rewarding, which is why the spring cleaning of the mind and soul is necessary.

There are two significant ways to sweep away the winter doldrums and cultivate positive thoughts — declutter and rejuvenate.

How do you declutter your mind?

Start with a question or observation. What are the most important things I can do for my mental health? My physical health? My family’s health?

The answers can be as varied as having breakfast with a friend to taking a drive in the country. It may involve deleting photos and apps from your phone or taking a Sunday afternoon to listen to baseball on the radio while grilling dinner for everyone.

Next, make a to-do list and check at least one off each day.

It may be a project around the house or the need to reconnect with a family member or friend. Anything that has weighed on your mind and hasn’t been accomplished should go on the list. Write the list on a piece of paper. Do not make it a mental list. The physical aspect of crossing a completed item off the list will have a positive mental impact.

Be clear on the tasks you can get done in a day or in short order and which ones are longer term projects. By identifying the expectation it will allow you to focus and avoid a mad rush to finish jobs. Writing them down helps provide a clearer picture of how to tackle each project.

Explore your habits.

Is making a cup of coffee your first priority every morning? Do you hit the snooze button three or four times? Do you sit in the same spot to watch TV? Do you wear the same clothes on the same days each week? Do you refuse to change?

Identify which of your habits impact your mental health in a negative way and work toward eliminating them. Replace it with a healthier habit.

Instead of making a cup of coffee, go for a short walk. Instead of hitting the snooze button, spend those 10 or 15 minutes stretching. Change your view by sitting in a different room or reading a book or having a conversation.

Find what makes you happy and do more of it.

If sitting on a river bank while fishing allows you to clear your mind, make time to do that each week. If cooking enables you to forget the day’s issues, try a new recipe. If listening to music makes you smile, explore recent releases from your favorite band or tune in to a genre you’re not familiar with.

How do you rejuvenate your life?

You have to examine what makes you happy, what makes you feel good about yourself, who you enjoy spending time with each day.

Put this in writing. Make a list of the things you want to enjoy each day and who you want to do them with because it will give you a reference point when stress hit.

Start with meditation, prayer or some sort of deep breathing exercise. Anything you can do to release negative energy and restart your soul is beneficial. The idea of unwinding at the end of the day doesn’t have to be held for the end of the day.

Do this in the morning, at lunch or anytime of the day when you need to re-center yourself.

Tell yourself and those around you how you feel. It’s perfectly all right to tell someone “I love you” or “I appreciate you” or “Thank you.” Take joy in personal accomplishments. Be a fan of yourself, not your worst critic. Enjoy each moment, not just the major ones.

Acknowledge when you give your all to something and can walk away saying, “I did my best.” Take the positive approach to tasks, even those you don’t finish. Pat yourself on the back. It’s OK to be proud of your hard work.

Explore your creativity. Paint, write, cook, garden, sing, dance, do anything that allows your mind to be creative. Push your boundaries. Test your limits. Give yourself the opportunity to be unique. Plant your ideas and watch them grow.

Spring is about growth, but also realize you never outgrow the joy of life.

Run through a field of flowers, play catch, watch a cartoon, go for a ride at an amusement park, play a game, put together a puzzle. When you act like a kid by doing kid activities, your spirit stays young and free.


A clear vision of an individual’s mental health is vital to living a comfortable life. At Cornerstone Foundations for Families, we believe that everyone deserves to have access to mental health resources, especially when traumatic issues impact our lives.

Our mission is to help people meet life’s challenges by providing the skills, support and hope needed for effective, fulfilling lives. Our professional staff offers mental health counseling and therapy services to ensure individuals receive the support they need to achieve their goals. Request an appointment online or call (217) 222-8254 today.

We are here to help.