Make the Most of Your Spring Cleaning
Finally, spring has arrived! The days are getting longer, which means there’s more sunlight streaming through your windows, illuminating all of the dust and grime that has infiltrated your house over the past four months. Of course your first instinct may be to roll up your sleeves, grab 18 rolls of paper towels and some Windex and have at it.
But hold on. Chances are your house isn’t the only thing that could use a little spring cleaning.
We often focus on making sure our cabinets and closets and decks and BBQ grills are spotless and in perfect working order, yet we give little thought to making sure WE are spotless and in perfect working order. While I am not suggesting human beings can obtain perfection or should even attempt it, I am saying that we should spend as much, IF NOT MORE time each spring, cleaning out the cobwebs and grime from our hearts, minds and souls.
Here are some ways we can do that.
Dig around for your passion
While you’re digging around your closets looking for shorts and tank tops, spend some time mentally digging around for those passions you once had. It’s tragic, really, that as we get older we abandon our hobbies and talents in pursuit of career advancement and keeping up with those Joneses.
We need joy and passion at every age, so think of those things you used to love to do. Did you play the clarinet? Take dance lessons? Play basketball? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try standup? Commit to feeding your passions on a weekly basis and see if you don’t become a kinder, happier person.
Straighten up your finances
Whether it’s because you spent too much money over the holidays, or you’re just the type that ignores your financial reality most of the year, spring is the perfect time for you to face your fears and get your finances in order. It’s tempting to continue to ignore the beast behind your back, but doing so will only make you worry every day and feel completely out of control.
Make a budget and stick to it over the course of the next few months. Think of things that you can cut out of your daily spending habits. Do you really need Starbucks every single morning? Nope, none of us do. Do you really need to pay extra to buy fruit that has already been cut up for you, or can you cut it up yourself?
Clean your mind
Our minds carry around negative thoughts and emotions, sometimes for months or even years! Allowing this negativity to fester is unhealthy for our mind, soul and body.
You may find that giving up negativity is harder for you than giving up your daily macchiato, but it can be done. This is what I have my clients do: instead of attempting to let go of all your negative thoughts at once, simply start thinking positive ones. I know, I know, that sounds totally corny and Pollyana-ish, but the fact is this simple technique works.
Think of your mind like a glass filled with dirty water (you always suspected you had a dirty mind), except the glass is really heavy and you can’t easily lift it and pour the dirty water out. Instead, you add a drop of clean water daily to the glass. Eventually the clean water displaces the dirty water and sends it dripping over the sides. Before you know it, your glass (mind) is filled with crystal clear water.
Just do it, okay. I know personally this exercise works. Think only good thoughts. When a bad one comes in, don’t panic or berate your brain, just push the negative thought aside and replace it with a positive one. Eventually, like anything else, this will become a habit. And let me tell you, your life really changes for the better when your brain habitually thinks good, positive thoughts!
Clear your calendar
So many of us are spending time in a way that leaves us feeling empty. We work. We run errands. What little time we have left we give to obligations. If we keep doing this, we’ll lie on our death beds someday wishing we had done more with our time. Spent more of it with family and friends, volunteered, had alone time in nature where we could think and breathe and process our life.
Why is it so hard for us, especially us ladies, to say the word “NO?” This spring, do your soul a favor and say “no” more often, clear your busy calendar, and devote your time to things that are worthwhile and inject goodness and energy into your life.
Throw out toxic relationships
While you’re clearing your calendar, take a look at who you’re spending time with. Are you holding onto relationships that are toxic and destructive to your happiness and sanity?
One of the best things you can do this spring is take a cold, hard look at the relationships in your life and release those people who are holding you back in some way and causing you pain and frustration. No need to be nasty about it. Simply wish them peace in your mind and heart and let them go on their way. Getting rid of toxic relationships makes room for healthy ones.
Rearrange Your Health
Did you make that New Year’s resolution to go on a diet and stop eating bags and bags of Doritos? How did that work out? Did YOU work out? If you gave up, spring is the perfect chance for you to try again to make better, healthier choices.
Don’t go for huge changes, just make small adjustments. With the weather getting nicer in many parts of the country, it’s enough to get outside and go for a 20-minute walk a few times a week. Don’t completely overhaul your diet, just cut out a little bit of crap every week and replace it with wholesome, nutritious foods. Do this more and more often and, much like replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you will have installed a new beneficial habit into your life.
This spring, don’t spend all of your energy on getting the deck ready for summer, spend some of it on getting yourself ready for a more fulfilling life.
Devon Herndon is a Licensed Professional Clinical/Substance Abuse Counselor, Personal Life Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and a nationally certified teacher. She is committed to helping young people be their highest selves in all areas: body, mind, and spirit. Her expertise, enthusiasm, energy and educational background serve to create a unique blend of services and techniques employed to help you reach your goals. For counseling sessions, coaching, or training, please contact her at 505.469.0779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.