Image showcases white frame from Urban Road

Spring brings with it a fresh perspective and (hopefully) a whole lots of sunshine. It can be a good time to set better habits and get into a good routine. Nikola Ellis, a counselling psychotherapist, shares her top tips that will help lead to a happy mind and happy home.

1. Cleaning as therapy
Simply start your mental and home spring clean by doing just that –cleaning! Cleaning can be a therapeutic task if not viewed as a chore. The gentle, repetitive movements that go into a good clean-up have a soothing effect on the central nervous system. Many of us spend our lives in a state of overwhelm and the simple act of cleaning is both calming and provides a sense of mastery and control over our environment (in contrast to the chaos and randomness of much of our lives!).

2. Clear house, clear mind
A tidy environment really does contribute to a clearer mind. Research has shown that we’re more likely to eat healthily and generally make better choices when we’re in a clean and ordered environment. Having too much clutter can lead to anxiety, but the thought of parting with treasured items can be distressing. A great solution is to put things you don’t use, but can’t live without, into storage. Spacer is a great solution – the Airbnb of storage, it connects people who need space with local neighbours who have space (and a great way to make a bit of money on the side for the latter). By renting out spaces like your garage or attic you can make thousands of extra cash each year for minimum effort. Those seeking space can ditch the clutter but enjoy the peace of mind that comes from being able to retrieve your stuff whenever you want to.

3. Be mindful
Mindfulness is like spring-cleaning your brain. When our brains are overloaded, we become less productive, forgetful and find it hard to cope. A short daily mindfulness meditation (10 mins a day is enough to get started) cleans out the clutter of unwanted thoughts to leave your mind clear and focused.  There are plenty of apps, such as Headspace, and guides out there to help start you on a path to mindful meditation – you’ll be surprised how easily it quickly becomes part of your daily routine.

4. Let go of perfect
While spring cleaning is therapeutic and a tidy living space can contribute to a tidy mind, sweating the small stuff is counter-productive. Nobody lives in a pristine environment with a clean floor and fresh-cut flowers all the time (regardless of what Pinterest and Instagram lead us to believe). Let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter (it’s ok to leave the odd crumb on the kitchen bench and nobody cares if your crockery isn’t stacked just-so). Cut yourself some slack and enjoy some quality down-time.

5. Learn to mono-task
Have you noticed how overwhelm kicks in when there are too many things to deal with and you try to do it all at the same time? Approach your spring-cleaning methodically, tackling one job at a time. This mono-tasking approach saves energy, creates focus and leaves you with a greater sense of satisfaction as you tick each accomplishments off one by one.

Psychotherapist and Yoga Teacher Nikola Ellis owns one of Sydney’s leading yoga studios, Adore Yoga, where she and her team offer counselling, yoga therapy and yoga teacher training. She’s worked extensively in the mind-body field for over 25yrs, helping clients find calm and clarity in a busy world.

For lots of inspiration from the great outdoors, check out these brilliant gardens: