Spring clean your mental health with these top tips for improved psychological wellbeing
Plenty of us will give our homes a deep clean this springtime, but not so many of us will give the same time and attention to our own mental health – psychotherapist Noel McDermott explains why it’s time for this to change.
With springtime comes a renewed sense of hope – the warmer weather, more hours of daylight, colourful buds bursting forth from previously bare ground and branches and new life seemingly everywhere.
It’s a season in which we feel invigorated with new life ourselves – often translating this into a revamp of our homes with the annual ‘spring clean’. Decluttering, reorganising and revitalising our surroundings helps us to feel ready to tackle whatever the year ahead has in store for us.
But how many of us also dedicate the same care, time and attention to reinvigorating our headspace? The areas in which our thoughts and feelings live?
Not so many of us, right? But hopefully not for much longer. Because we’ve dropped our friend – psychotherapist Noel McDermott – a quick line to ask him why spring cleaning our psychological space is so important to our overall feelings of wellbeing, and he’s kindly offered to share a few tips with us to help us all feel happy and healthy this springtime and always.
Take it away, Noel!
Mental Health spring cleaning checklist
Before you begin any spring clean, it’s important to take stock of your current spaces – and our mental health is no different. So, before doing anything else, ask yourself the following questions:
- 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 – practices we do 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 wellbeing is largely about preventing problems rather than solving them, we ideally want to be psychologically fit in the same way we aim to be physically fit. Regular wellbeing habits form the foundation of our psychological fitness and allow us to create more detailed actions plans to ensure we meet specific 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
One of the key features of psychological distress is what we call a ‘lack of insight’. That people don’t know they are ill, that they are depressed or anxious, etc. Because of this lack of insight, people can delay getting help and actually 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, means we can drop this habit into others easily and with little effort.
Give yourself a general psychological wellbeing 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 to how you can improve your psychological wellbeing, by targeting any areas in which you feel you are deficient.
Regular check-ins with a mental health professional to have an ‘MOT’ on your psychological state can also be really beneficial. It’s not an assessment for services or a referral for psychological therapy – it should simply be linked to your everyday functioning.
Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care and education. He has created unique mental health services in the independent sector.
Noel’s company offer at-home mental health care and will source, identify and co-ordinate personalised care teams for the individual. They have recently launched a range of online therapy resources to help clients access help without leaving home.
Visit Noel’s website here.