Spring Cleaning for Your Mental Health

Mar 16, 2022 | Patients

by Brent Hearn • 

March is a time of transition. Spring kicks off in the latter half of the month, but depending on where you live, that may be news to the thermometer. (It can be hard to even utter the word spring unironically if you’re having to shovel snow to get to your vehicle.)

Be that as it may, there’s no mercury minimum to get the ball rolling with a little spring cleaning. And while it’s important to beat those rugs and freshen up your living area, it’s just as important to take care of your mental space. With that in mind, let’s give you some tools to sweep away those cobwebs of neglect from the dusty corners of your happy place!

Fuel Your Brain

There’s a growing body of evidence that the old adage “You are what you eat” applies not only to your belly size and cholesterol numbers. The field of nutritional psychiatry examines how the foods we consume can affect our brain health. As it turns out, the foods that are good for our bodies—fruits, vegetables, seafood, small amounts of lean red meat (just to name a few of the heavy hitters)—are also good for our minds. 

In a study published in 2017, a team of researchers compared a control group that was given social support but no dietary advice with a group taught by a dietitian to follow a Mediterranean-style diet. Depression scores in the latter group improved by a much greater degree, and they spent less money on food. (Thriftiness for the win!)

While there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done in the field, those sound like pretty good reasons to hit restart on those New Year’s “eat healthier” resolutions you’ve let lapse.

Get Moving!

At this point, this should be a no-brainer. Whether it’s inside or outside…whatever you need to do…however you need to do it…get your body moving! As weather permits, go for a walk. Dance along to a YouTube video. For added results, record yourself doing it and send it to a friend to improve their mental health. (They say laughter is the best medicine, right?) The link between movement and mental health is strong. We’ll say it one more time: Get. Moving.

Talk to Someone

If you had a pressing physical need—a broken bone, say, or a nasty stomach bug—you likely wouldn’t hesitate in seeking help from a professional. Yet for many, there’s a persistent stigma associated with consulting a professional when it comes to mental health matters. It’s vital to prioritize how you feel over worrying what others will think. Still need convincing? Check out our article on just a few of the benefits of talking to a therapist.

There’s an App for That

“Phone usage” and “mental wellness” usually aren’t mentioned in the same sentence in a positive way. But there are a variety of mobile apps dedicated to the improvement of mental health. 

Your mileage may vary, and some experts advise that mobile apps should complement traditional therapy rather than replace it. That said, an app can provide increased—and sometimes more immediate—access to an array of mental healthcare tools, including sessions with a therapist, guided meditations, and more. There are many different mental wellness apps available; here’s a list to kickstart your research. 

(IMPORTANT: If you’re suffering from a mental health crisis, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)