Mindfulness: Mental De-Cluttering for Spring

Ah, springtime in Urbana-Champaign… the ice is melting, we’re pulling our cutest summer outfits out of storage, and some of us may be participating in the time-honored tradition of spring cleaning. Here at the UGL, we’ve been working hard to keep our study spaces clean for you!

Snow White sweeps a dusty house with help from many small animals

We love a good, old-fashioned spring cleaning, but this year we’re approaching it a little differently. As you’re purging the fridge of long-expired condiments or tackling that pile of laundry you’ve been putting off for way too long now, why not take a moment to turn that energy inward? Just like old takeout containers or mismatched socks, anxieties and negative thoughts have a tendency to accumulate. Mindfulness can help us take stock of what’s going on in our brains so we can decide what we want to hold onto and what can be tossed out.

"I'm so excited because I love mess", by Marie Kondo

According to the Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is “a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment,” and clinical studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety. While taking care of mental health should always be a priority, it’s even more important than ever as we mark one year of living in a global pandemic. Reported rates of anxiety and depression have risen dramatically in the past year, and a recent study found that these issues particularly affect college students.

When someone asks you how your night went..... "Didn't get much sleep, but I did get a few hours of anxiety in."

With midterms coming up, we know that finding time for mindfulness might seem impossible. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your schedule doesn’t have to be stressful, though! 

Schitts Creek reference, "Who has time amidst all this chaos?


Here’s a brief introduction to some of the (many) resources out there that can help you start the mental de-cluttering process at your own pace.

  • Apps: Smartphone apps can be an excellent way to learn more about mindfulness or to make it a daily practice! You can find guided meditations that range from just a few minutes to longer sessions, and some—like UCLA Mindful or Smiling Mind—are completely free. Other options, like Headspace or Insight Timer, offer some free content but require a subscription for full access. Liberate is a meditation app designed by people of color for people of color.
  • Books: The library has access to hundreds of books focused on mindfulness. Some helpful introductions to the topic include Wherever You Go, There You Are and The Miracle of Mindfulness.
  • Podcasts: If you’re more of an auditory learner or are sick of staring at screens, a podcast may be the way to go! When you’re looking for a quick break. Meditation Minis and The Daily Meditation Podcast offer episodes around 10 minutes each. More in-depth podcasts include the Mindfulness Meditation Podcast and The Rubin Mindfulness Meditation, which approaches mindfulness through discussions of visual artwork.
  • Counseling Center: This semester, the UIUC Counseling Center is providing some amazing virtual services for self-care. Try checking out the Daily Mindfulness Drop-Ins or the Recognition, Openness, and Insight Series!

Looking for even more resources? Head over to our Tech Wellness Guide to find more suggestions for prioritizing mental health while learning online.

Now it’s time to take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, and get started on that spring cleaning! Best of luck from all of us at the UGL.

Deep breathing

Written by: Hannah
Edited by: Ryan


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