Clear Your Mental Cache
Apart from just taking the Marie Kondo approach to clearing out your office space and home for the new year, take time to make space for what’s important.
For many of us, Chinese New Year signals that time of the year again — spring cleaning. But apart from cleaning out your home or workspace, why not take this time to declutter your mental and emotional space? Here’s a checklist to help you be more intentional this year:
While Kondo-ism can be boiled down to asking if something brings you joy, sometimes life’s emotions aren’t so straightforward. We think that it’s okay to hold on to things that are poignant (like a handwritten note from your grandmother), that inspire some wistful longing (all those plane ticket stubs), or that remind you of how far you’ve come (an old rejection letter), but get rid of things that only bring back painful memories that you don’t want to keep resurfacing each time you go through your stash.
For those who may not have the luxury of a home office to work from, one common problem we face is a lack of separation between work and personal life. Take this opportunity to make your home more conducive: while a major overhaul might not be possible, smells, sounds, and sights can help you to set the right mood and demarcate a small space. Adding a few plants to your dining table/work desk can breathe some life into the area, while a scented candle, low light, and gentle music in the bathroom or bedroom can help you to disconnect from work.
- Now that the decluttering is done, it’s good to stay on track. Instead of a once-a-year cleanup, choose to be more conscious in what you do buy: ask yourself if something you’re eyeing is truly a need or a want, and if you decide to buy something, invest in quality clothes and products, and look towards more sustainable sources as well.
Review what you view. ‘Doomscrolling’ became an actual thing in 2020, fueling further stress and anxiety in an already tense period. The algorithms on many social media platforms are designed to give you more and more of the content you consistently engage with, which is why it isn’t surprising to unwittingly find yourself stuck in an echo chamber of negativity. If this is you, we’d recommend actively unfollowing or hiding content on your feed that doesn’t uplift, inspire, or help you. It isn’t about being ignorant about what’s happening in the world—think about consuming the news only on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
For a more decisive approach, consider a social media detox. Imagine it as a digital juice cleanse: resetting your mind and helping you to reconnect with the real world and real relationships.
Go through your phone and delete apps that you no longer use, or which you feel you shouldn’t be spending so much time on: whether it’s an app you downloaded to get a discount, or a mobile game that you haven’t logged into for months.
Your own social media accounts act as an archive of memories, experiences, and emotions. Similar to throwing out items that no longer ‘spark joy’, it might be healthy to archive or delete old photos or posts from times that you don’t want to be constantly reminded of.
Clear up your desktop and create a digital space that you actually like coming to: consider using a photo from your favourite holiday as your wallpaper, or an inspirational quote on your phone or computer.
We’ve all got a lot on our minds. Sometimes the weight of trying to remember everything that we need to juggle is a burden in itself, so we find it useful to create a system to lighten the memory load on your mind. It could be as simple as a personal calendar: not only for keeping track of all the appointments you have, but also for an overview of the coming weeks and months so you can schedule in some time for yourself as well.
Take time to be thankful. In the past year of cancelled plans and a multitude of changes, it can be easy to forget the good things that have happened, no matter how big or small. Set aside time to pen down these moments, remember what you have, and what you can look forward to.
While self-affirmations can seem cheesy, they’re especially useful for days when your emotional well-being isn’t at its best. Create a list of all the things you’ve accomplished and keep adding on to it throughout the year—whether someone complimented your work, or if you managed to hit the gym three days in a row. We’d suggest sticking it up where you brush your teeth in the morning, or slotting it into the back of your notebook, for easy reference when you’re just having one of those days.
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