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Hi there! If you’re reading this, you’ve found your way to the third post in our five-week Spring Cleaning From The Inside Out series. I’m so happy you’re here! As you may already know, in this series we apply the concept of “spring cleaning” to different areas of our lives each week to assess what is, keep what we want, let go of what we don’t and explore it all through the lens of gentle curiosity. If you haven’t already, you may want to catch up with the past two posts on emotional and physical spring cleaning on the blog

For this week, we’re focusing on spring cleaning when it comes to our relationships. As humans, we’re relational beings and often form many connections over the course of our lifetimes. These can look like romantic partnerships, deep friendships, family relationships, platonic co-workers, etc. And each of these connections involve different levels of emotional investment and impact us in different ways. In general, research indicates that having strong personal relationships has positive impacts on overall mental and physical health. 

It can seem harsh taking an evaluative eye to your relationships, but ultimately it’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself and those involved! We have a finite amount of energy, so recognizing that and being intentional in how you spend it on your relationships permits you to show up authentically and honestly for those that you care about. 

When certain relationships feel more draining than life-giving, that’s not always a sign to double down and try to fix it – it’s a sign to tune in and listen to what your emotions are telling you. Is a boundary of yours being consistently crossed? Have you grown apart in ways that your values are now mis-aligned? Do you leave feeling poorly about yourself? Or not like the way you act around that person? Do you feel the issues could be addressed with a honest conversation, or is there something deeper at work here? Some relationships are made to last just for a season or specific reason – and letting go of them does not mean you’re a bad person. It’s an act of self-care and makes more space for growth. 

If you’re interested in further exploring your relationships with a renewed focus this season, the following journal prompts are a good start: 

  • In this season of life, what relationships are important to me? How will I prioritize them?
  • Are there any relationships that feel draining in this season? Why is that the case? 
  • What are some characteristics that are important to me to have in a relationship? 

As you get to know yourself and what’s important to you, you are able to develop and nurture relationships that add color, joy and significant value to your life. Time spent doing this work is never time wasted. As always, I hope these practices and prompts are helpful in your personal springtime transition and check back next week as we’ll explore spring cleaning when it comes to our work-life!

By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Therapy for Eating Disorders and Body Image