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Spring Forth or Hold Back Take the best and Leave the rest

By Dr Sima Patel

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

At this time of year with the onset of spring on the horizon, we would normally be starting to spring forward in our thoughts, plans and actions. The clocks are telling us to spring up, reminding us that colder, wintery times are almost behind us. Planters are refreshed and reseeded while lawns are receiving a bright uplift. Spring is a time for regrowth and renewal, and there is an air of excitement.

What does spring in 2021 during the Covid-19 Pandemic feel like for you? When there is no way at the moment of springing into making arrangements for a holiday, abroad or at home, or springing into action to prepare for large celebration gatherings or even smaller ones around the dinner table. How do we find a middle ground this year?

During a recent Think Britain survey, 67 percent of men and 58 percent of women said they would like everything to return to exactly as it was before the Pandemic. 23 percent of men and 31 percent of women say they would not.

So perhaps this spring, we may need to give our mental health some revitalizing by thinking about the good things we want to keep once we get through the worst of the Pandemic and what things we are really looking forward to springing into action with again.

How about trying the following “spring cleaning” of the mind technique to find your own answers as to what changes you want to keep and what you want to spring into again.

On a blank sheet of paper, draw or write down some things during this Pandemic that you have enjoyed doing. This could be anything from taking turns to cook or shop for each other or helping your neighbour. Perhaps you have read more than usual, tried to learn a foreign language or to play a musical instrument. Maybe you have mastered online chess or have become an expert at jigsaws. On another blank sheet of paper, draw or write down all the things that you have really missed doing during the Pandemic.

If you are feeling brave enough, perhaps you could have another sheet of paper and write or draw things you are doing that you are not so pleased with such as drinking too much or watching too much TV or even consider the things you might regret not doing such as using time constructively or not checking on neighbours.  

Now think of your values. Personal values are part of the moral code that guides our actions and defines who we are. They are what we consider important, the things that matter to our well-being and happiness. The simplest way to describe what personal values are is to think in terms of your personality and behaviours. Ultimately, your values become woven into your personality and become part of You. For instance, some people may value kindness and compassion over fame and popularity or vice versa or value all these things.

The following list may help you to identify your core values:

  • Authenticity
  • Achievement
  • Adventure
  • Beauty
  • Boldness
  • Compassion
  • Challenge
  • Curiosity
  • Determination
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Fame
  • Friendships
  • Happiness
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Learning
  • Loyalty
  • Meaningful Work
  • Openness
  • Optimism
  • Pleasure
  • Popularity
  • Recognition
  • Respect
  • Self-Respect
  • Spirituality
  • Stability
  • Success
  • Status
  • Trustworthiness
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

Look at your drawings / lists for numbers 1, 2 and 3 above and relate them to your values. Are there things on the list that you value and want to continue doing? Make a note of these.

Are there things on your list that do not sit comfortably with your values and you can give yourself permission to stop doing? Make a note of these.

Gaining this perspective will give you some ideas about what you might like to continue with, change or improve.

Some people have talked about the relief of not having to confront Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) during the Pandemic and how they have relished being still and settled in their own or a more limited company rather than being on the go all the time so as not to feel as though they are missing out. Perhaps the above activity which highlights our personal values and how we want to live our lives in a way that reflects our true selves may help us to declutter in our mindful spring clean for this very unusual Spring 2021. That way, we only have to spring into action the things that really matter, which hopefully are the small things in life.

Dr Sima Patel Chartered Psychologist / Therapist / Coaching Consultant

36a Duke Street | Brighton | BN1 1AG Telephone: 01273 803 013 Email: Website:

A highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.” - Idowu Koyenikan

Posted in Wellbeing, Wellbeing Practice on Mar 01, 2021