Waking up in the dark and travelling home after sunset can sometimes make it seem like we’ll never see the sun again. Now we’re waking up to brighter mornings and enjoying lighter nights, it’s the perfect time to leave any winter gloom behind.

We can all make subtle changes that make a big difference and with the annual spring clean just around the corner, we should consider whether our mental health could use some attention too. But what are some of the easy changes we can make to help ourselves feel better?

Exercise more

We all know the physical benefits of regular exercise, but we often fail to think of it as one of the most effective ways to improve our mental health.

Whether it’s lifting weights or running through a park, you can use this time to refocus your mind and get away from any negative thoughts. Not only does exercise provide a welcome distraction, it also releases endorphins in your brain helping you to feel better about yourself.

When exercising, the brain also changes to encourage neural growth and new activity patterns to promote feelings of calm and well-being. Cool huh?

Those who exercise regularly may also benefit from stress-busting physical attributes throughout the day — more energy, better sleep and a more positive outlook all contribute to helping you maintain a more relaxed, healthier lifestyle.

Watch your diet

We’re all guilty of not watching what we eat in the office from time to time. Hectic days can often lead to an unhealthy meal or scoffing junk food at our desk so that we can quickly get back to the never-ending pile of work. Eating habits are something we commonly link to our physical health, but getting the right nutrition isn’t just good for our bodies, it’s good for our brains.

Eating healthier foods such as fresh fruit every day report less mental health problems than those who opt for more unhealthy foods such as crisps, chocolate and chips.

Not eating regularly enough can cause drops in our blood sugar levels and with these lows can come feelings of irritability, tiredness and depression. By preparing healthy foods to take to work with us, or avoiding the chippy for a healthier option, our mind and body can be nurtured to reach better physical and mental wellbeing.

The annual spring clean is the perfect opportunity to look at our kitchen cupboards and eating habits to see where we could positively improve our lifestyles. When it comes to stress, the little things can sometimes make the biggest impact.

Clean up your mind

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Make the most of the lighter mornings and evenings

Did you know that lighter mornings and evenings give us up to 5 more hours outside to be in the garden or park! Why not write yourself a list of all the things you’d like to achieve this summer, and rather than rushing through them at the weekend, get up early and tick one off your to do list before breakfast — hey, why not even have breakfast in your newly weeded garden!

Not a morning person? Make the most of some al fresco dining and get your friends around for a BBQ or dinner in the park. There’s nothing better than a giggle with mates and a scotch egg to get you through the working week.

At the same time as we start spring cleaning the cobwebs from our homes, the warm weather and longer days give us the perfect opportunity spring clean our minds. We should let the change in season help us to reduce our everyday stresses, by allowing us to rejuvenate and realise that the little changes can make a big difference to our wellbeing.