Spring has sprung and much like nature’s renewal process. We humans enjoy revival movements, too. As the new season peaks through, we shed our winter clothing, rub our eyes, and allow our pupils to adjust to the sunlight. All the while, Edvard Grieg’s, Morning Mood plays in the background with birds synchronizing their lyrical melodies.
Record scratch & reality slap.
Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the springtime scenario we all experience. Or even close to it, but when the Earth’s angle, tilts towards the sun. It’s hard to ignore that there’s new energy afoot.
Springtime is a rejuvenating time, and it comes with a ritual that we all know as, spring cleaning. It’s where we swap out our wardrobe, throw out the old and expired, and deep clean every inch of our living quarters. These tasks are done to make space, and welcome fresh and new vitality.
Yet, spring cleaning shouldn’t stop at purifying our places of zen. We should take the opportunity to cleanse areas of our lives, as well.
Unlike New Year’s Resolutions that have good intentions, but usually sizzle out after the 30-day “trial” period. And seeing endless marketing slogans of “New Year, New You” everywhere.
Spring cleaning our lives is about becoming a Better You.
It’s opportunity for growth and to be the best version of yourself.
Your Body wants a Spring Cleaning.
Your body’s capability and design is impressive. Our vessels host a network of neurotransmitters, hormones, receptors, and cells that work in tandem to keep our chemical balance in check. We have extraordinary systems that perform different functions.
Ever feel fantastic after a calorie-burning workout? Or feel like the ultimate champion when you’ve achieved a personal goal?
That’s hormones! Hormones unfortunately get a bad wrap. That’s probably why the endocrine system doesn’t get the credit or attention it deserves.
When you crush it at the gym, or receive a promotion. A series of chain of events occur in our bodies that give us the emotion of happiness. These HORMONES are dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin.
When our bodies release these hero hormones, it can also be a de-stressor. We feel lighter, and our moods are altered into a state of happiness, satisfaction, and achievement. It’s this input and output of events that has us wanting more.
When done over and over again, our productivity increases. As does our self-confidence, which can lead to inner satisfaction.
But what happens when outside influences stress us out?
When under stress, the body’s alarm system responds by increasing cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone). Signals are sent to the brain to help manage mood and fears.
When the body is under constant stress, and is being overexposed to cortisol. This can have adverse health effects. Such as poor sleep, weight gain, low energy levels, and high blood pressure.
We want to eliminate, manage, clean and throw out outside influences that create stress. Enter Spring Cleaning our Lives.
The Steps on How to Spring Clean Your Life.
1. The Assessment
Start your spring cleaning cleanse by reflecting on your routine. Identify certain practices, people and behaviors that don’t serve value.
Think about diet, work, school, habits, and relationships.
Most importantly to note. Spring cleaning your life does NOT have to be HUGE and life-altering movements. It can be small adjustments that collectively add up, and make room for more productive and positive activities.
An easy place to start, is thinking about low hanging fruit. Also, answers questions as such:
- What habits or practices are on autopilot that hijack your time?
- Who makes you feel stressed after engaging with them?
- What non stellar personality traits about yourself do you want to work on?
- After spending time on social media, do you feel angry, stress, less than?
- How much food do you consume that doesn’t have any nutritional value?
2. The Plan
Once your list is established, the next step is the devising a plan to kick out non essential things, habits, etc.
Here are a few examples from the questions above.
What habits or practices are on autopilot that steal your time?
Going through gobs of emails from retailers, gyms, and social media notifications, crowd our Inboxes. Also, post mail can be a nuisance (except cards from Grandparents). It’s time to unsubscribe, go paperless and set up automatic payments.
Turning on the TV at dinner time, or when coming home. Instead, turn on music or a podcast. Good music is a mood booster. Plus, it could turn into a dance party. Win!
Who makes you feel stressed after engaging with them?
It is a work colleague? A nosey neighbor? Dare I say, an in-law? While you can’t fire or ghost them. You can put up boundaries. Only engage when it’s absolutely necessary and put a time limit on the interaction.
What personality traits of yourself do you want to work on?
Complaining, maybe? Instead of voicing complaints, activate your problem solving skills. Train your brain to think of proactive approaches to mitigate problems.
After spending time on social media, do you feel angry, stress, or less than?
At times, yes. More on the action plan, below.
How much food do you consume that has zero nutritional value?
That 3rd caramel mocha frappuccino with whip cream of the week can wait. Your wallet and waist will thank you.
3. Declutter mind trash
Much like physical clutter. Mind clutter can have an uncanny vice like grip on us (and sometimes we don’t realize it).
Treat your mind like a sanctuary.
We all know, social media can easily turn into a time suck and a swirly hole of no return. We all use it to unwind, see what friends and family are doing, and of course, to chuckle at funny memes or what shenanigans a stranger’s pet got themselves into.
If you’re finding yourself going down the endless vortex of the interwebs and a huge amount of time has passed, and you’re left with feelings of less than, troubled, discouraged, angered or bothered. It’s high time to apply self-management guidelines. Put a cap on time spent.
Take control what comes up in your feed. Unfollow or MUTE those people that get your blood boiling or yields an eye roll.
Do this for 30 days and see what it does to your algorithm and to your mood.
4. Tools and cleaning supplies
Share your goals with your circle. Let your friends and family aware of your self-spring cleaning. Those who love and want happiness for you, will support you. They may even share tips and tricks that have worked for them.
Write it out. Journaling allows to get all your mental gymnastics out. It can help with clarity in your thoughts.
On your way to work, listen to a good podcast or music.
Go on a story journey with books.
Apps: for meditation and mental health.
- Headspace: Get in a few minutes here and here of mindful meditation.
- What’s Up: An app that can track thinking habits and helps break those that are counterproductive.
- Mind Shift: An app that’s designed for those with anxiety.
- Simple Habit: An app that provides you a moment in meditation, coaching to get better sleep, better relationships and managing health challenges.
5. Think green when you spring clean.
Your lungs love fresh air. Taking in moments of fresh air is a mood changer.
Time outside can give your eyes a break from looking at computer screens, phone screens, tablet screens, etc. It’s also a great break to get in some steps and be in the moment.
Even taking a few minutes to sit on the porch, or next to a window, to take in sunlight. Is a nice little break too.
6. Stop wasteful spending.
Take a look at your bank statements to analyze where spending habits can be saved.
If you’re not watching cable, why pay for it? If you don’t need a home phone-landline, why pay for it?
Are you paying for subscriptions that are non- essential?
Buy generic brands. Take Advil vs local generic brand, for example. Both have the same active ingredient and in the same quantity. Why pay more for the name?
Quit smoking. Full stop.
The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is US $5.51. Smoking 1/2-pack-a-day costs $1,002.82 a year. Double it: $2,005.64 for a-pack-a-day smokers. When you quit your insurance premiums will decrease.
7. Reconnect with your hobbies, passions, and or continued learning.
Now that you have removed clutter, use this space to add in joy.
It’s a great time to get to that book that you really wanted to read.
Respark the experimental and challenging cooking that you’ve pushed off.
Take a painting or drawing class.
Continued learning is always attainable. Watch YouTube videos on learning how to code, or brush up on your high school Spanish, German, French, etc.
8. Be like Goldilocks.
We all know sleep is imperative for being at our best. Yet, for some. Getting that elusive sandman type sleep seems unattainable.
Good sleep is contingent on how we use our waking hours.
This is where spring cleaning ones life can increase Zzzzz’s. Removing stress has a profound effects on improving mood, that subsequently assist in being able to deep sleep.
Assess your sleeping quarters. Do you have a mattress & pillow that is a fit for you? Is your bedroom set up for sleep?
9. Learn Stress Management
While we can dodge and weave from what gives us stress. It’s not enough. Stress is part of life and we must learn how to manage it.
Read more from the Mayo Clinic on handling stress management.
10. Allow a Spring Cleanse to set a new tone
Cleaning out the clutter to make space for your happy hormones to rage on, is a pretty solid goal.
Allow spring cleaning to lead you to long term sustainable & healthy habits.
We can all use more joy in our lives.