Spring Cleaning: For Your Space, Body, and Mind

Spring is the time of fresh starts. If you’re feeling like 2019 has been especially rough to you already, take this new season to take a step back, take a deep breath, and make sure your space, body, and mind are refreshed before the quarter gets even harder.

For your space

I find that I can’t focus as well when my room is messy, but when my space is neat, the weight is lifted right off my shoulders. Have a set time each week to take out the trash, clean up your desk, and hang up the clothes that have been sitting on your chair for the last few days. If you need to, buy organizers so everything has a defined place. Practice some Marie Kondo-ing for clothes you don’t wear anymore.

I find that sticking to this rule makes my life a lot simpler: If it takes less than two minutes, do it now. For example, if it will take less than two minutes to wash a dish, do it in that moment rather than leaving it in the sink for the whole day. If it only takes two minutes to make your bed, do it right when you get up, so you’re not tempted to get back under your covers.

My final tip would be to buy plants! Succulents make a great addition to any room, and if you’re feeling like you want to bring a little spring inside, opt for some fresh flowers every once in a while.

For your body

When I’m stressed, I gravitate toward junk food like chips or chocolate in the hopes that it’ll make me feel better. While they sometimes help, I tend to feel even worse after. Opting for healthier foods, especially during midterm weeks when everyone starts getting sick, can help your immune system and your energy levels. Choose healthy foods that you actually like to eat for a higher chance of sticking with them.

Make sure you’re drinking enough water. An easy way to calculate how much water you should be drinking per day is by halving your weight, but this can differ depending  on how active you are. For example, if someone was 150 lbs, they should be drinking around 75 ounces of water a day, but if that person has a very active lifestyle, they should drink more than 75 ounces.

The last thing I would recommend is sticking to a consistent exercise schedule. You don’t have to start going to the gym every day — start slow by going three times a week, then slowly build up to four or five, if you can. If you’re like me and you hate running, try to find other ways to get your heart rate up: take a dance class, jog with a friend, or join an intramural sports team. When I lived on campus, I loved the Fit-Yoga pass because it offered me unlimited access to so many amazing classes like pilates, barre, and zumba. At only $70, it’s a great deal for students. I know exercising after a long day of class and club meetings is usually the last thing anyone wants to do, but you’ll feel so much more energized after. I’m finding that it’s a nice way to end my day.

For your mind

First, take a step back and reflect on how this year has been going for you so far. How much sleep are you getting? What is your general mood like? Do you often feel overwhelmed?

College students are notoriously stressed, and while some amount of stress is actually good since it keeps us going, too much stress can put a strain on our lives.

As you look toward the rest of this quarter, think about the things you can change. Maybe it’s reducing your class load, maybe it’s taking on less responsibility in one of your organizations, or maybe it’s simply asking for help from friends or professionals. One of the best and easiest tips I’ve heard is that when you feel stressed or anxious, listen to your breath. If it’s short and shallow, take a minute to inhale and exhale deeply.

It’s also important to remember that, sometimes, you can’t do it all yourself. We often get so lost in the bustle of school and work that we forget to check in on our own thoughts and feelings. Practice mindfulness by checking in on yourself — and don’t forget to check in with others. Remind your friends that they are not in this world alone, and get through the rest of this school year together.

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