Most people associate Spring with cleaning.
That beautiful act of cracking open windows that have been sealed against the winter’s brutal cold, relishing in the fresh (if a tad bit too crisp, yet) air while wielding dusting supplies and grand ideas about reorganizing and simplifying their home. I am not immune to this wonder even considering my love-hate relationship with housework. It’s just so satisfying knowing that your house is clean. Like, ridiculously clean.
As someone who values the connection between my mind and my physical health, in the last few years I’ve also made a habit of cleaning out the cobwebs in my emotional and mental homes. Spring cleaning for your soul is just as important as re-alphabetizing your DVD’s. (What?! You don’t do that?? Craziness, I tell you!)
Clearing out the clutter, throwing away the drama and breathing in that fresh air is vitally important to staying sane. Each day we plug into our friends, co-workers and acquaintances via social media or texting. And each day we take in their drama, stress and garbage.
Take a minute or two and think about it. You log in to check your messages and instantly you’re flooded with “trash”. Joe Blow has done such-and-such thing to so-and-so and aren’t we all just so very pissed at him? Jane Doe is having a crumby day and her world is falling apart and can’t we feel sorry for her? Your fourth cousin twice removed is mad at his ex for this and that and wants the world to know it.
Without thinking, we take this all in, digest it and file it into our little Rolodex minds while letting the emotions attached swirl around us. And how many of these people that are affecting us are necessary in our lives? One out of every five, maybe. Unnecessary, and yet, their drama has just become part of our mood.
So how do we fix this, you ask?
Take five minutes and clear out the “friends” on your social networking sites that aren’t necessary for one reason or another. If it’s that one girl you worked with three years ago that you never socialize with, you can probably delete her. And if it’s someone that you can’t delete (maybe it’s a relative or someone that would take it personally and cause more drama than it’s worth), most sites have a way for you to modify your news feed so that certain people’s updates don’t flood your screen.
Sometimes it’s a little tougher than that, though. Take the “friend” who only calls or texts when they have a crisis. That’s when you have to make a decision. Do you keep forsaking your mental well-being just to be a good friend…or do you stand up for yourself and put up some boundaries with this person?
Since revamping my life to live with chronic illness, I’ve struggled with keeping on top of my mental and emotional housekeeping nearly as much as I’ve struggled with my household chores. It takes energy to turn inward and evaluate whether my relationships are where I want them to be.
This Spring I’m trying to be brutally honest with myself. I know some of my relationships aren’t where I would like them to be. Mostly, I know there are some that are really unhealthy for me and I need to just let them go. I very much dislike confrontation, however, and so I’ve been dragging my feet. All the while knowing that each day, week, month I don’t stand up for myself and say something is just making the inevitable that much more difficult.
But I’m on a path of healing, and I knew when I started that some parts of this path wouldn’t be easy.
Guess it’s time to put on my big girl panties and do some cleaning…
**This post is revamped from a post on a previous blog of mine.