Spring Clean Your Life! …. Is that really a thing???
5 Areas of your life that can benefit from a spring cleaning and tips on how to get it done with ease.
As the weather gets warmer and the flowers begin to bloom we feel the call of spring. For nature, spring is known as the season of awakening and for humans is traditionally thought of as a time for renewal.
Spring cleaning may have a long history and traditions in many cultures, but in truth, it probably has more to do with basic biology and neurochemistry than anything else.
We are less active in the winter, that is partly due to the fact of the lack of sunlight, which causes our brain to produce more melatonin. The hormone melatonin is frequently referred to as the “sleep hormone.” The longer days of spring, and the extended hours of sunshine, bring with it lower melatonin production, as well as changes in dopamine and serotonin levels resulting in more energy. We “awaken renewed.”
That newfound energy often brings with it motivation for the new, or at least a desire to spruce up what we already have, in around our homes, but why stop there? After our winter hibernation, there are a number of areas in life beyond our homes that could use some attention.
So, in the spirit of spring cleaning, let’s start with these five areas.
Marie Kondo your mind
Between being a best selling author of 4 books and the star of 2 Netflix shows, I’m sure that most are familiar with Marie Kondo and her passion and talent for clearing clutter and organizing what’s important.
I have spoken a lot about inventorying and reframing your thoughts, and I recently heard Marie talk about her process for decluttering her brain. It’s a simple, straightforward and actionable strategy.
- Write down every feeling going through your mind.
- Next, write down why you are feeling that way.
Example: I have a work deadline to meet that overlaps with taking my son to his baseball game. Or because the sink is full of 3 days worth of dishes and the laundry is behind.
- Now decide on a positive solution. Marie calls them an “action item.”
Example: Going to a coffee shop for 2hrs to have uninterrupted time to complete your work obligation ahead of the deadline. Or Set a timer for 30 minutes and get a load of laundry in the washer and see how much progress you can make on the mountain of dishes in that time. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in just 30 min of focused time. Or perhaps going to a yoga class or having a nice lunch at your favorite neighborhood bistro would be the most beneficial positive solution for restoring your inner peace. All of these are excellent “action items.”
- Lastly, and equally important, schedule the date and time for your “action item” on your calendar.
Marie says that going through this process allows her to realize what she needs to do to cope with negative thoughts while also allowing her to recognize which thoughts and emotions she can let go of. For example, negative thoughts and emotions especially those related to events from the past. The lesson is to focus on positive solutions for things you have control over while acknowledging and letting go of what you can’t.
Spruce up your self-care
During late fall and into winter we go into a sort of hibernation mode, where our mind seeks things that bring comfort and our bodies crave heartier foods. However, as Spring rolls in those heavier meals leave us feeling weighed down. Eating seasonally is the simplest approach to spring cleaning your diet. Incorporating the season’s fresh fruits and vegetables is an easy way to ensure optimal nutrition, and as with every season, build a good relationship with your body and listen to what it needs and eat intuitively.
Spending time outside is therapy for the soul. Most of us spend the winter months cooped up indoors, so getting outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air is crucial to both our physical and mental health. According to studies, spending just 2 hours per week outside, which is less than 20 minutes per day, has numerous health benefits.
Clean your calendar
Take a look at your calendar and evaluate where you’re spending your time and energy. Do you feel as if you never have enough time for the important things in your life?
Setting boundaries is the most important tip I can share. Remember to keep in mind that time is precious and that saying yes to one thing means having to say no to something else.
Most of us aren’t naturally good at setting boundaries around our time, and as we begin to work our way out of this pandemic and the prolonged solitude that came with it, we might find that we have begun to latch on to any opportunity or invitation to connect with other people. As a result, you may find you have committed your time to things that you wish you hadn’t.
Resetting, or establishing, boundaries with your time will put a system in place to assist you in evaluating what is essential, feeds your soul and/or supports your goals and purposeful productivity versus what is not. Decline and opt-out of those things that aren’t necessary or fulfilling.
Tidy up your technology
Technology can be a resourceful tool. It can also be a huge source of distraction and when disorganized also a source of anxiety.
Do you open your email and immediately feel completely overwhelmed by the number of emails in your inbox? Or frustrated trying to weed through the chaos on your home screen to locate an app on your phone?
Here are three things I do once a season that has tidied up my technology.
- Spend 30 minutes unsubscribing from all unwanted emails. If you haven’t done this in years, or if you haven’t done it at all, this task can be daunting so instead, make a commitment to unsubscribe to these unwanted emails as they come into your inbox. It is as easy to unsubscribe as it is to delete.
- Remove any apps that you no longer use from your phone and tablets. Only keep what is necessary and useful. Consider categorizing your apps into folders if you are still finding yourself scrolling through multiple screens to find the app you’re looking for after purging your apps.
- Unfollow, unlike and unfriend people and pages in your social media accounts that are not in alignment with you and your life, no longer bring value or are purely negative content.
Refresh your relationships
Hopefully, after cleaning up your calendar, you’ve recovered some time that can be used to nurture your relationships with your loved ones.
This is an ideal opportunity to dust off current relationships. We are all guilty of getting comfortable in our relationships, of all kinds, but we should make a conscious effort to tend to those relationships and give them the attention they deserve. Plan a date night with your significant other, send a card to a close friend simply to express your gratitude for their friendship, or pick up the phone and call your mother, uncle, or other loved ones who you are always too busy to call.
Maybe you’ve recently entered a new season of life, relocated, or changed careers, and are looking to form new relationships. This is a great time to start sowing those seeds. Taking a class or joining a group where you can meet like-minded people is a great place to start.
And sometimes you need to prune inorder to refresh. As difficult as it is to end a relationship, it is sometimes necessary in order to be healthy and thrive. You can love them and wish them well from afar.
A little effort will go a long way toward making this undertaking a success. I hope this guide provides a bit of inspiration to help you get started.
What are you most excited to tackle first?
Marie Kondo is Marie Kondo is the founder of the KonMari Method and the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy.