Wendy Hawkins, LCSW

Empower! Educate! Evolve!

Clear the Clutter, Clear the Mind

Clear the Clutter, Clear the Mind


Out with the Old and In with the New

is commonly associated with ringing in the New Year.  It’s sentiments can be strongly felt shortly after the holiday season, when stress, anxiety and depression can be higher than usual.  Before these feelings explode, work through them by starting with your surroundings; Clear the Clutter, Clear the Mind.

Spring cleaning is not quite the same as clearing the clutter, but would serve the same purpose.  However, don’t put off ’til  tomorrow, what you can do today to change your physical surroundings right now.  While also airing out the cobwebs of any mental clutter lingering in the back of your mind.

Turn on your favorite song, and turn it up!

We’ve had the holiday parties and sung carols.  We may have even been forced to listen to repeat holiday tunes.  Break out of that funk!  Sing, dance and start to get the vibe.  Then you can release tension thru keeping your beat!

Physical activity and music stimulate the brain. By putting a new perspective on your living room, or even office space, you may find it easier to muddle through an uneasy task.  Your outlook may change towards a task you weren’t looking forward to doing, or even make that coffee meeting with a new contract client you’ve been aspiring to get a more positive moment.

We have more than physical clutter, but what to do when you have sentimental items versus functional items?

Taking down the tree immediately after the New Year, or sooner will allow the space to be reoccupied or redecorated.  Show off a new item or clean up an existing furniture piece to put in it’s place.  The result will freshen your perspective, your day, and uplift your spirits.

What about any broken or non-working knick-knacks that don’t match with the rest of your space?  They’re hard to throw out when having a memory or promise to take good care of that item attached to it. Take a picture and make a collage or upload them to a digital frame. You keep the memories but reduce the clutter!

You may need to reason, did your great aunts’ sister-in-laws friend hand craft the scarf collecting dust under that stack of books and CDs; if so what is more important, cleaning the dust or the integrity of the scarf?  Let’s state the fact that maybe the stack of books hasn’t been read, and now there is enough dust to plant a tree.

Books and music are online and digital now.  This doesn’t dun the importance of the book.  Donating to your local library can save space and others can also benefit from your generosity.  Leaving the scarf to find a new home under your favorite crystal bowl, or tucked into the memory trunk to save for the next generation will clear the dust and spruce up the space.

That’s just one small step to mental health success.

Maybe, while focusing on the scarf, your mind received a boost of endorphin, lifting your emotions to a more positive state sparking inspiration and creativity in other areas of your life, or even just in that room.  Imagine how it will feel to enjoy that room after clearing out what was not functional, and finding a new home in your space for the sentimental?  My favorite sentimental items are photos, and even those can overtake a space.  I’ve begun scanning into digital images, and returning originals of distant family members to their next of kin; what a joy it brings to them, as a result, I find joy in it as well.

Doing this may provide positive stimulation in your mind, thus allowing you to have a renewed perspective in problem-solving or life difficulties.  When you start to feel in control of the clutter surrounding yourself, you can jump on the wagon and take control in other areas of your mental health that you might have dead-ended on before.

Don’t stop with the living room!  Make your office or cubicle space into a more inviting area and promote your productivity.

Depending on the situation, this may not be the best place to jam your tunes.  Try wireless earbuds if you have them; or play your favorite song in your mind.  You can be your own personal concert.  Focusing to remember the words, or tapping your heart to the beat.  There’s a concert in you that no one can lower the volume to!

Start with post-its; they cover up other clutter that may be hiding on the back corner of your desk.  Organizing your work duties with a calendar or spiral notebook is great.  However, go digital when you can.  You’ll have one less thing to clutter your corner of the office floor.  Oh, and of course, empty out that inbox!

There are many things to look forward to in the new year,

and little things like a different spin on an old space can help you take a deep breath and tackle whatever issues you may be facing in life by changing the space where you spend most of your time.

Kudos for a job well done.  Here’s to the New Year, and New Approach with Holistic Mental Health.  Let us together EDUCATE each other, EMPOWER one another, and EVOLVE together!

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