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Give your head a good Spring clean

Cleaning and decluttering are so ingrained in us at this time of year. The clouds part, the suns out, and it's time to wash the windows and clean the rugs. But the concept isn't limited to your home. Now is a really great time to rid your mind of all that weighs it down.

Photograph: iStock

Text: Lyndsay Jensen

After living in Denmark for 13 years, I've had time to pick my favourite season. For me personally, Spring wins hands down. After a long dark winter (with periodic flurries of snow), it starts to take its toll. Growing up in South Africa, I miss my sunshine, and nothing makes me smile like sunny days and the myriad of greens in the foliage, and Spring sure puts on a show!

So here are my top 8 tips for Springing (yes, a mom joke) into March!

Social media detox

Social media can be a distraction. They take away precious bandwidth in your brain. The average person spends a quarter of their day browsing social networks that have nothing to do with work. It's time to get that time and your mental focus back. Sometimes it's good to shut off.

Avoid checking your email first thing in the morning

If the first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning is to grab your phone. Resist. Plug in the phone somewhere else other than your bedroom. Give yourself a breather, even if it's just the 15 minutes, it might take to go to the bathroom, wash your face, and brush your teeth.

Shut off from the news - it's not going anywhere

Listen to uplifting podcasts and singing along to energising music. Stop yourself switching on the TV. Can you change the latest infection levels in Denmark? No. So, stick with things that are more in your control, including music or personalities you like best.

Step up your zzzzzzz's

If you want to literally spring-clean your brain, get your z's. Deep sleep helps clear toxins from the brain. Sleep is critical to the function of the brain's waste removal system, and experts agree that deep sleep is better.

Stop listening to the voice in your head

Irrational negative thoughts keep us fearful, stagnant, anxious and depressed. But a little cognitive behavioural therapy can help. The best ways to do this is by challenging negative thoughts with powerful phrases like: "No, it isn't" and "It doesn't matter."

Walk it out

Even a leisurely 10-minute walk is good for the brain. Walking helps different parts of the brain to communicate better with each other. It also helps with focus and memory and even increases blood flow to the brain.

Food for the brain

Exercise and food go hand in hand. Brain food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are a sure-fire winner. Foods like salmon, eggs, blueberries, nuts, and treats like coffee, green tea, and dark chocolate.

Cleaning – yes, I'm serious!

I know this is all supposed to be about your brain. But hear me out here: Studies show that filth and clutter are associated with negative thoughts, depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Cleaning, decluttering and reorganising your space actually helps clear your mind. So, get dusting!

The vaccine rollout is finally picking up speed in Denmark. Things are slowly opening up again after a very long lockdown, and Spring is finally here! Enjoy, spend time with your family, and take care of yourself.

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