I’ve been spending a lot of time with myself recently, as I’m sure many others have. It’s easy to pass the time mindlessly, scrolling idly on Instagram or Twitter. Wasting my own time, however, is a massive disservice to myself, and I realized that pretty quickly. So, in honor of spring officially being sprung (as of March 19th), I’ve embarked on an ongoing journey to spring clean my mind and soul. It hasn’t been easy, and, to be honest, I think I’m always on a journey to be more in-tune with myself. However, it has been the best decision I’ve made in the past few weeks. Through my self-improvement mission, I’ve learned more about me and have become better acquainted with how I can find happiness on my own. And now, I’m happy to report, so can you! I promise, you definitely have the time.
Clean Space, Happy Place
The first step I took in the self-improvement department on my soul-restoring journey was literal spring cleaning. My room, quite frankly, was a mess upon entering springtime. Considering I had been spending much of my time motionless on my bed, I had no incentive to clean my space, and clothing, papers, everything, et cetera, piled up accordingly. So I cleaned my space.
And not just some wimpy, move-piled-clothes-to-a-different-pile kind of cleaning. No. It’s got to be a full-scale, relocate-furniture-to-remove-dust-bunnies-from-under-the-bed type of deep clean. I wanted to create a haven for myself—a place I can exist in without hating the mess. I moved my bed, my desk, and capitalized on natural lighting. If you have the means to do so, reorganizing your room and creating a beautiful, clean, well-lit space to live in is an absolute must. There’s nothing better or more important than enjoying the space you spend most of your day in, so as much as you can, I recommend you clean your living space. Make it a place you’re happy to exist in.
Reconnect (by Disconnecting)
The advice of “unplugging” from your phone or social media is, at this point, so cliched. So I’m not going to tell you to completely cut yourself off from the Internet or social media, because I know I couldn’t do it completely (especially at a time like this). However, I am going to recommend you limit yourself.
To allow myself space to breathe away from my life online, however, I’ve been urging myself to set my timer for a short period of time, maybe 10-15 minutes, and just, be without my phone for that long. This has been one of the hardest things for me. I’m a teenager: I’ve built a life online. But there’s something so satisfying and simple about being away from it, by choice, for a little while. There’s so much life beyond the digital sphere, and I’ve been trying to make the most of it.
Pursuing hobbies of a younger age, like reading or playing board games, has been an alternative way for me to spend my time. I think there’s something easy and gratifying about using my abundance of time to check out a book I’ve been meaning to read for forever or to play a game of Monopoly with my sister. I’m more content with myself at the end of the day when I can spend more time off of my phone. I urge you, even just for 10 minutes, to spend your time elsewhere in the world. Read a book, watch TV, talk to your family, cook something for yourself, listen to the radio, anything to distance yourself from the place we’d spend much of our time otherwise.
🎵: take a quick break to listen to a song you like please
— here's your reminder (@tinycarebot) April 4, 2020
The most difficult part of this endeavor has been actually getting to know me. I’ve lived with the same brain for 17 years and I still feel like a stranger to myself sometimes. I’ve spent much of my time ruminating on who I am and what I want and like to do. I’m taking the time to align myself with my goals in quarantine.
As cheesy as it sounds, meditating is something I’ve found solace in. Guided meditation videos on YouTube have brought me so much peace and solidarity throughout my spring cleaning. I find that when I can set aside time from my day to be present with my mind and focus, I instantly reduce my stress level. I know meditation isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve never tried it or if it’s been a while, I highly recommend meditating. Finding a quiet place to be calm and breathe is the antidote to stress and unfamiliarity in this time.
Another activity I’ve enjoyed is journaling. Journaling offers both a task to kill time and an avenue to better know and understand myself and feelings. I love to sit down at the end of the day and write a couple of sentences about how I felt, the lessons I learned, or the events of the prior 24 hours. The peace and reflection boasted by journaling is another spring cleaning favorite I recommend. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or eloquent; in fact, an effective journal is one that’s kept with personality.
Giving yourself the time to breathe and reflect on yourself in the process of spring cleaning is vital. If you can’t be introspective in the time you spend with yourself, you can never truly know who you are. It’s difficult to sit down and meditate or journal if you’ve never done it before, I know. The counterpoint I offer you is that there’s never been a better time to try something new. Especially if that something can help to decrease stress and familiarize you with your feelings.
The Bottom Line
We’re in a difficult time right now. Globally, everyone knows that. If it’s possible for you, in any way, I urge you to spring clean. Get back in touch with yourself. It’s okay to be stressed or overwhelmed, I’m positive you know that. What’s important is that we’re taking care of ourselves and each other. Knowing yoHeurself, enjoying the time spent with yourself, those are important steps to normalcy. If we can learn to love ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, we’ll find a semblance of regular life. Even just for a little while.