It’s a new year, and that can be a time to reflect on what you want and need going forward. The beginning of the year is a built-in space for “spring cleaning” even when it is done internally.
You may want to make subtle shifts or major changes, depending on what you learned about yourself. Self-investment isn’t just for finances, though it can be that too, it’s making choices every day that help you become the best version of yourself.
Asking yourself about who you are and what you want to become can be the first step to your most authentic self. As you reflect on your year, note what you want to get rid of and what you want to bring with you to the next year.
Investing in yourself can start with the simple task of an internal spring clean. Just like you would do when cleaning a space; you can toss, keep, and donate internally in the new year too.
Clutter: Physical clutter can be a manifestation of internal clutter. When you feel out of sorts internally, it is easy to see a mess build around you. Clutter can be equivalent to the check engine light in your car. It’s an indicator that something might be off.
When you see piles of things build up around you, ask yourself if things feel overwhelming or depressing. It’s okay to admit that things feel hard right now because that feeling doesn’t have to last forever.
To remove clutter; consider tidying a corner each day. There are tiny spaces all over your house that you can declutter like one drawer, one stack of papers, and one floor. You may be surprised at how much momentum you gain once you get started, but the promise to yourself only has to be tidying one tiny space.
Social Media Accounts: We have all been there. You may be following social media accounts that are actually making you feel worse about yourself. Each time you look at one of the accounts; you feel that pang of jealousy, criticism, depletion, or shame. You may be stuck in the cycle of looking at accounts that make you feel bad because it feels familiar. But if you have that residue every time you leave a page, it may not be worth it.
Going through the accounts you follow and reflecting on how you feel with each of them could save you mental space in the future. Once you mute or unfollow, you may be surprised at how much time you were investing in other’s stories instead of taking time to create your own. A social media refresh is a way to self-invest.
Relationships:This doesn’t mean get rid of everyone in your life. It means take time to reflect on what relationships are valuable to you and which ones no longer serve you. It’s okay to let go of people who aren’t growing alongside you.
If you feel empty or upset every time you share a space with a person, this may mean that you need to move forward without them. A good rule of thumb is if you feel lonelier with the person than you do alone, keep your own company instead.
This can be tough when these relationships are family members.
If you don’t feel comfortable with removing someone, that is okay. You can limit time spent with them. You get to decide who you value as a friend and choose who you make your family. As we grow, our priorities change and you can let relationships end naturally to match that.
Movement: You may have made movement a priority in your life or you may not do it much. No matter what, it is something to keep around. Movement can help you clear your head and heart when things feel tough. The physical experience of putting one foot in front of the other and taking one step at a time can help you to tackle tasks in your life too.
When you feel heaviest, movement can help you to feel light again. It is a coping skill that can be used when feeling anxiety, depression, or unidentifiable feelings that are stuck and confusing.
Taking a walk, lifting weights, or doing a freestyle dance session can help release tension or stress stored in your body. Keeping movement is a way to maintain health and wellness both mentally and physically.
Gratitude: You have probably heard it many times this year. Sometimes, we can have complicated feelings around gratitude, but no matter what, it is something to keep around.
Gratitude can help teach you how to prioritize what’s important to you. If you find yourself grateful for the flexibility you have now, think about ways you can maintain that.
If you are incredibly busy and are grateful for reflection time, continue to build that into your routine. Faith is fear that learns to trust itself, so finding and reflecting on what makes you grateful can lead to investing in yourself long term.
Self-Reflection: The new year is a perfect time to evaluate what went well and how you would like to change for this new season of your life. Investing in yourself can mean setting goals or making resolutions. Goals can be placed in any category like; financial, wellness, career, etc.
You may have been busy, resting, or somewhere in between in the past year. Doing an inventory is a way to evaluate your intentions, goals, and actions. This helps to understand your overall worth.
You do matter, and you can continue to make plans for yourself no matter what the world has in store. Self-reflection is a process to keep around in the new year.
Time: Donating time to your favorite causes is an act of service that can help you center and ground yourself in what matters most to you. This is also a place to practice boundaries. Free time doesn’t mean spare time. You get to carve out a schedule that empowers you. You have the option to donate time back to yourself if you have had output and not much input.
If you have been only focused on others, you can donate time to yourself by reading a book, meditating, practicing movement, journaling, drinking a cup of coffee or tea.
If you have been focused on yourself, you can donate time to others by volunteering, having coffee with a friend, or taking a walk to donate books to Little Free Libraries. Start with what feels natural to you and go from there.
There are a lot of volunteer opportunities throughout Colorado.
Energy: Though time and energy often get paired together, there is a discernible difference in that we can spend energy in places that we don’t spend time.
This is a new year, and you don’t have to continue to ruminate on things in the past. It is okay to grieve relationships, losses, events that never happened, and transformations.
In fact, honoring the grief in those shifts is important to continue to move forward. But getting stuck with thoughts about past relationships that no longer serve you or on what should have happened with a situation can drain your energy.
Donate that energy to learning a new skill on Craftsy, getting into nature, tidying a corner of your house, taking a break from your phone, and walking outdoors with a friend. You can build new connections instead of spending energy on things that you cannot change.
Donating energy to things that bring you pleasure can lead to a more satisfying life.
Skills: You have an abundance of skills that can be shared with others. The simplest gestures can go a long way for people in your life. If you identify with having technical skills, you can host a Zoom get together with your friends.
There is possibility in using your skills, and you never know who you will meet or what can happen. If that feels overwhelming, start smaller. You can donate your listening skills to a friend or yourself.
Donating skills helps you to practice and develop them, so you don’t have to be afraid to mess up. That is part of the process. No one needs perfection, just a willingness to share some of your strengths.
An internal “spring clean” is a way to get a fresh start with the new year when things may be feeling stale. It can help you invest in yourself and identify what you want to prioritize going forward.
Plans can be flexible and sticking to your goals can be a way to build self-discipline no matter what happens around you.
Evaluating what you want to toss, keep, and donate can help you to make shifts with old habits and patterns that no longer serve you. If nothing else, loving yourself through the internal spring clean process could be just the refresh you need.
Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support for teens, adults, parents, and families. We help people with their internal spring cleaning when they get stuck or want additional support.
Click on the links below for more information:
Young Adult Counseling
Support for Therapists
Help For Depression
Substance Use and Recovery Support
Trauma Therapy and EMDR