Spring Cleaning Your Mind, Body and Soul After the Long Winter Season


Art Courtesy of Gwen Bowdish

Rebecca Schumacher, Staff Writer

During long winters, especially in Minnesota, organizational habits and health, both mental and physical, tend to stagnate. However, with the arrival of April, spring is (theoretically) upon us, and with it comes spring cleaning. It’s time for us to emerge from our winter hibernations and do some spring cleaning for the mind, body and soul.

Mental health is one of the essential elements of life, and yet it’s often woefully neglected, especially during winter. To remedy this, Asa Barnard, ‘19, recommends that MHS students should “take walks outside and really appreciate what you see. Appreciate the budding of the plants, the sun, the air, the birds. It can be a great way to ground yourself.”

In addition to that, MHS counselor Todd Poepard recommends humor as a remedy for poor mental health.

He said, “Life’s tough enough, and the way I combat physical and mental health is by laughing… I challenge students to look for the humor each day and look for things that make them laugh.”

Poepard also warned against use of depressants like alcohol and marijuana, saying, “They slow your system down and can be very, very impactful on mood. If students are feeling down or have anxiety, probably the worst thing they can do is add a depressant into their body, so I think being careful with drug and alcohol use.”

Finally, especially as the pace of school picks up and AP and IB exams loom on the horizon, it’s important to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. In the words of Bryce Rega, ‘21, “Spring is the toughest part of the school year. Exams and last minute content crammed in by teachers are the most stressful part of the school year. People should keep in mind that so very soon, summer break will be upon us. Worries and stress will then be washed away by the waves on a beach.”

On top of mental health, physical health is also hard to maintain in the winter. To revive it this spring, MHS students recommend finding fun ways to stay active.

Allie Pettis, ‘18, recommends “going to workout classes with a friend. They’re fun and keep you motivated with someone else.”

Tessa Lundheim, ‘21, also stays active by “jump[ing] on [her] trampoline and go[ing] on walks outside around Purgatory Creek.”

Physical health is especially important because it’s so strongly connected to mental health.

According to Poepard, “I think that if people are dealing with anxiety or depression or panic, one of the best things they can do is work out… Physical health, and being healthy with food choices, and being healthy with a workout regimen will be a huge, huge way to reduce things like inner mental health issues. Physical health often leads to better mental health.”

Finally, as we polish our mental and physical health this spring, it’s also important to stay organized. Trying to tackle everything at once can be overwhelming, so it’s important to divide and conquer.

In the words of Erika Van Wagenen, ‘18, “Do everything in chunks. Don’t take on everything all at once. Do purely homework for a set amount of time, then look at social media and then go back to homework.”

In order to really break it down, use Pettis’ method: “every day, try to get rid of one unnecessary item in your room until you feel it’s downsized enough.”

Avoiding phones can also help. Maureen Michels, ‘19, recommends,“If you ever have extra time, don’t go straight to your phone; pick up some things around your room.”

Spring cleaning can be a nuisance, but it’s worth it in the end. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.