It’s that time of year again. Fall. Time to de-junk your trunk and here’s why.
Seasonal changes can prompt psychological effects that may impact people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or seasonal affective disorder. The end of summer typically prompts a return to more structured routines, increased time indoors, and less time engaged in enjoyable activities. This can trigger feelings of stress and disconnectedness. Fall also kicks off the beginning of many impending holidays which may not be anticipated as joyfully by some as by others. Holidays can be a time of pressure and comparison resulting in overspending, overindulgence, loneliness or other challenges. Transitioning from Summer to Fall brings many changes that can impact each person differently. De-junking your trunk is a way to re-center and find clarity for yourself amidst the changes.
Here are a few ways to de-junk:
Dedicate time to yourself by engaging in regular self-care activities that include daily movement for at least 30 minutes a day, eating plenty of healthy whole foods, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep.
Get outside as much as possible to increase your exposure to natural light and vitamin D. The decrease in daylight decreases access to vitamin D, which we absorb from sunlight. Adequate vitamin D intake is important for many basic bodily processes, and vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to depression, decreased energy, changes in appetite and sleep. Meditate and practice mindfulness daily to clear out the emotional clutter and create internal space and gratitude.
Choose to invest your time and energy in areas that are meaningful and uplifting for you.
Accept invitations to events that you are excited about, with people who are important to you. Plan activities that will move you into alignment with what you value rather than packing your calendar with empty busyness. This will free up both your time and energy; and leave you feeling less stressed and mentally cluttered. Whether you are a techie who keeps track of your commitments digitally, or you prefer to keep it old school with a paper planner, enter your obligations and events on a calendar to keep track and avoid overcommitting. Designate weekends that are just for you to chill out with a good book in equal parts to glam party weekends.
Clear out your physical space.
Studies have shown that a clean and comfortable living environment reduces stress and increases health and happiness. If your living space is cluttered, unorganized and dirty, you have no place to relax, regroup, and replenish which can release cortisol, a hormonal response resulting in unease and agitation. This impacts you both emotionally and physically. Take time to de-clutter, throw out old papers and items that no longer serve you; clean out your closet and discard or donate what no longer brings you joy. Look in your fridge and pantry, consider throwing out junk food and overly processed foods which are high in sugar and artificial ingredients and have been linked to depression and anxiety.
Review all your bills and have a solid understanding of your financial standing. Not knowing how much money you have coming in, how much you owe, how much you spend, and not having a financial plan directly impacts your level of stress and anxiety. Establish a budget and stick to it. Tie your spending to your goals. If you are saving up to buy a car, a house, or take a fun vacation, bring this goal into your awareness when you get the urge to hit up Starbucks for a mocha latte. Pause, remind yourself that you can make just as delicious a coffee at home, and put that money towards what actually matters to you.
The process of de-junking your life may seem overwhelming, but taking time to create a peaceful internal and external space for yourself improves more than just your aesthetic—it could also improve your overall sense of fulfillment and well-being.
Written by Tina Kaminski, MA, MSW, LISW-CP