By Janet Fontana
Spring Cleaning for Body & Mind April 2012
Dear Fellow Nurse,
When my friend Jean was going through a difficult time, Barbara, a mutual friend said to her, “Just as a few spring showers and warm days bring the grass and flowers back to life after winter, with a bit of care and attention to your needs it won’t be long before you’re in a brighter place.”
I love the metaphor that Barbara shared to inspire Jean! Springtime brings a sense of renewal – a fresh start. It is a perfect opportunity to evaluate how well we have been taking care of ourselves and make changes where needed.
Perhaps it’s time to do some “spring cleaning” on a physical, mental, emotional and environmental level. Eating healthy foods lightens the load on our detoxification system and supports healing. By freeing mental clutter, we release the physical constriction that thoughts create in our bodies, and we improve our creativity and focus. As we organize and clean our home and work spaces, we free the hold that “stuff” has on our energy.
We hope you will share the strategies and resources in this newsletter to plant and nourish seeds of positive change and better health. Enjoy this beautiful season of fresh beginnings!
Janet Fontana, RN, MA
Clear Mental Clutter
We would never intentionally eat toxic foods. Yet, on average 75% of our thoughts are negative. This barrage of toxic, unhealthy self-talk has a detrimental effect on our physical health, productivity, creativity, sense of humor and happiness.
How to clear mental clutter:
1. Say “Stop” – out loud or in silence
2. Breathe – as soon as you are aware of your breath, you have stopped the cycle of stressful thinking.
3. Reflect – are these the thoughts you want running through your mind?
4. Choose – reframe negative thoughts to something neutral or positive
Did you know that excessive clutter can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health? Researchers found that disorganization affects orbitofrontal cortex function, the area of the brain responsible for decision-making and cognitive processing. A study conducted by David Tolin, founder of America’s Anxiety Center in Hartford, states that clutter impacts our stress levels “to the max.”
Maintaining a tidy living and work space helps relieve stress and increase mental clarity. It also promotes optimum health by reducing allergens and germs in our environment. For practical tips on how you can de-clutter and stay organized, professional organizer, Francesca Verri offers these helpful strategies.
In recent years, detox diets have become increasingly popular. While they certainly get a lot of hype, there’s no real evidence to prove that they work. Many doctors actually warn against detox diets since they deprive the body of vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals.
As Dr. Andrew Weil says, “The best way to detoxify is to stop putting toxic things into the body and depend upon its own mechanisms.” To support your body’s natural detoxification systems enjoy cleansing foods such as apples, beets, blueberries, cabbage, celery, garlic, grapefruit, kale, lemons, and watercress. This way, you can detox the ol’ natural, safe way!
Linda Varone, RN shares an architectural psychology assessment you can use to improve communication, personal privacy, and contact with nature in your home.
To learn more about the dynamics of environmental pyschology and discover simple changes you can make in healthcare settings and in your home to improve communication, lower stress, and promote healing, check out her nursing CE webinar, “Environmental Psychology: Creating Comfortable, Caring Spaces.”
Before you throw unwanted belongings in the trash, research organizations in your area that will take used items and give them a second life. Many goodwill establishments welcome everything from second-hand clothes to old furniture.
Donating not only helps someone less fortunate and is better for the environment, it’s tax deductible!