Mind Matters – time for a psychological spring clean

Spring cleaning for psychological wellbeing and your relationships

Having marked the first day of spring, with positive news on the vaccine rollout and with COVID restrictions set to ease further on the 29th March, now is an ideal time for a spring clean both in the traditional way but also for psychological wellbeing and our relationships.

Irrespective of how your winter has been the transition into spring is a great time to reflect on where you are with things in life and to come up with some good intentions for the new season. The great thing about a change in the seasons is that we change our behaviours and in doing so we think about new and different things that often shine a light on some things in our lives that are not so great whilst also awakening new possibilities.

Winter is often the season when we are least active and sociable however this winter has of course brought restrictions that most people have never experienced before. Thinking about life can be overwhelming so you might find that a spring tidy up is the perfect way for you to get going in positive ways.

The great thing about a spring clean is that it provides us with a bit of time travel, we constantly move in our thoughts between the present, the past and the future and this helps us to find our way everyday, and it is in this movement of thinking that we also tend to reflect on other aspects of life – our relationships, health, security, interests and spirituality.

For example, having a wardrobe sort out, where you move clothes around triggering memories and thoughts about life is a great way to think about what you would like to be better. This is a particularly good time to put focus on relationships because the transition into spring and the lifting of restrictions is a shared experience, so starting conversations can feel more natural.

That said, starting conversations can often feel daunting and the more daunting the feeling then the greater the likelihood that a conversation might not go according to plan. The reason for this is simple, if we feel nervous about having a conversation then the person who we are speaking to will sense your nervousness – heightened emotions on both sides greatly increases the potential for misunderstandings. Also we tend not to have these types of conversations very often and so for they can naturally feel awkward.

Of course the last year has applied an unprecedented pressure on our lives and this naturally impacts on some if not all of our relationships in different ways and so again this fact can provide a good reason for starting a conversation.

The best way to go about this is to be clear about what you want to happen so that you can start the conversation feeling as relaxed as possible. Then there are some simple rules that can help:

Do:

Start by making a request – for example, “I’d really like us to find a way to spend more time together – can we talk about that?”.

Talk about why it matters to you – for example, “during the winter there were times when I felt distant from you, I missed you and wanted to feel more connected”.

Offer a solution that you think might work for your relationship – for example, “can we find time each weekend to go for a walk?”

Allow the other person time to think about what you has said

Don’t:

Blame the other person – for example, “you have upset me”

Criticise or make judgements – for example – “you aren’t any good talking about things”

Bring up old problems – for example – “you are always late”

Push / apply pressure – for example – “why aren’t you saying anything?”

Nicholas Rose
Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor and Coach

UKCP registrant, MBACP (accred), UKRCP
PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

Nicholas Rose & Associates
Counselling, psychotherapy and coaching for children, adults, couples and families.

nicholas-rose.co.uk

Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the next one – Mind Matters – Fear of Re-entry

Read the previous one – Mind Matters – Looking out for young people

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

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