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Emotional Spring Cleaning
Every once in a while I go through these cleaning fits. I clean out closets, rearrange furniture, get rid of books and other things I've held on far too long. Maybe it's the season. And maybe it's my way of dealing with hard things. So with all this cleaning, I start to wonder about "emotional" spring cleaning. What resentments am I storing up? What's nagging at me? What issues have I been ignoring? And, what’s the impact of all that emotional clutter on my psyche and my health?
You may wonder, how does one go about emotional spring cleaning? It’s not magic. And, just like spring cleaning, it’s not necessarily fun. Though, I have to say, I feel so good getting rid of things I don't need! Consider this your reminder to stop procrastinating and handle the little, and maybe some of the big things in your life.
Four Ways to Do Emotional Spring Cleaning
- Make a list of the things you've meaning to do but keep putting off. For me, I have a minor car repair that will probably turn into a major one if I don't handle it at some point! In the time management world these things are called energy detractors. They constantly nag at us but aren't necessarily “urgent.” After you've made the list then...wait for it...get them done as quickly as possible! I know I always do.
- Make a list of the relationships in your life (friends, family, spouse, children, coworkers) that are bothering you in some way. It could be a friend you've been meaning to reach out to or maybe you need to confront a coworker about a problematic behavior. You might be putting off an important conversation with your spouse or you've completely given up on trying to improve things with your mother. Divide them into a list Easy, Medium and Hard. Tackle the easy ones quickly and commit to handling one “medium. “ For the hard conversations, imagine it in your mind then role play it with someone you trust. If you're ready to have the conversation, do it! If not, revisit your list in a month and see if things have improved or gotten worse. Reconsider the “medium” and “hard” conversations.
- Handle your health issues. Make doctors and dentist appointments; schedule massages, acupuncture or reiki. Do whatever it takes to make your body (and soul) feel better.
- Considering scheduling an appointment with a therapist for help with bigger emotional issues like trauma, depression, anxiety or ongoing relationship struggles. For the most part, these issues tend to get worse over time, not better (despite our wishful thinking). There are a lot of wonderful strategies out there for improving our lives. Use them!