Spring Clean Your Life
After a long and difficult winter, it is finally spring. The sun is beginning to shine brighter, trees are budding green leaves, and new life is starting to surround us.
As warmer weather approaches, we say goodbye to heavy coats, put away our space heaters, and roll down the windows in our cars while turning up the volume on an upbeat playlist. We venture into the great outdoors with open arms, ready to feel that renewed energy and aligned sense of self.
Spring is one of those seasons that’s good for the soul. It indicates a fresh start with new beginnings, which motivates many of us to conduct our annual spring cleaning. Window panes are washed for the first time in a year, dust gets collected from hard-to-reach places, and lightbulbs are changed, along with a plethora of other once-in-a-blue-moon chores. After the cleaning frenzy, once the cobwebs are clear and no sheet has been left unturned, we take a look around and feel revived in our space.
The real spring cleaning though, is not about scrubbing the floors or dusting the shelves. Nope. It’s about self care, and spring cleaning your life.
One of the self care quotes that has stuck with me the most, is a piece written by Brianna Wiest. A portion of it reads, “Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing… It often means looking at your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.”
If you have five minutes, I’d highly recommend reading the full piece, because it is enlightening, encouraging and more relatable than a lot of posts I read in the media these days. To give you the spark notes version, Wiest writes about the ugly side of self-care, and the importance of facing your biggest personal challenges head on, to create a life that you don’t need a formal self-care day to escape from.
As we turn the chapter towards a new season, I challenge you to shift your traditional approach to spring cleaning and embrace Wiest’s perspective. Spring clean the cobwebs out of your life by saying goodbye to toxic friends or relationships, organizing your digital space, re-configuring your finances, drafting that 5 year plan that’ll get you to your dream job, diving back into exercising… not tomorrow, but today.
The real spring cleaning happens within us, when we give ourselves the opportunity to invite renewed energy into our lives. I invite you to harness that same wave of motivation that washes over you when spring rolls around, and create a meaningful spring cleaning routine that embraces the person you are meant to be.
Tackle the areas of your life that are causing the most stress, fear, resentment, anger, frustration or anxiety. Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable, and work through the things that are looming over you on a daily basis, and weighing on your heart or mind. Here are some actionable steps to help you get started.
Self Care Spring Cleaning
Throw on a comfortable outfit and go for a leisurely walk somewhere outside of your neighborhood. It could be the park, a stroll through the city, or a hiking path – if you take your walks more seriously.
Reflect on the past few months and how you’ve been feeling. Get in touch with the emotions that come up for you. What is making you feel that way? Is it holding you back? Does something needs to change?
Identify what changes need to be made in order for your mood, behavior, work quality, or relationships to improve. What would make you happier, healthier, more fulfilled, more successful?
Set Daily Goals.
Each night, jot down a list of 3-6 goals that you want to accomplish by the end of the next day. The challenge, is to wake up and follow through with the goals you set the night before.
One way to do this, is schedule a designated time to achieve those goals. If your goal is to work out, set an alarm for a specific time, and when the alarm goes off, commit yourself to doing it!
It may not be feasible to accomplish a goal in just one day, especially if it’s more complex. In this case, outline a few progressive milestones within a specific period of time, that are the stepping stones to reach your goal.
If your goal is to create a personal budget, break it up into milestones like: Day 1: find a budget template online that I like and will find easy to use. Day 2: review all budget categories in the template, and adjust any categories specific to me. Day 3: research budget advice, and note recommended ratios for rent, savings, investments. Day 4: calculate budget and populate template. Goal = achieved!
Read Personal Development Books.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is get out of your own head, and find a fresh perspective. I love self-help books, especially ones that are motivational, or provide actionable advice to implement in my day-to-day life.
The best practice is to read these books for twenty minutes each day, right before bedtime. There are studies that show our brains digest what we are last focused on before we fall asleep – so let this sink in! I’m currently reading You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, and thus far I highly recommend.
Reclaim Your Time.
I will be the first to admit that I can easily get sidetracked by the bountiful distractions that are in my iPhone. TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, emails, Pinterest, Google Chat… these apps have me scrolling for literally hours each day.
But, where is that getting me? Does it really matter or make an impact on my life if I know that my neighbor’s cousin had a baby last week? Nope. Is it entertaining? Girl, of course.
Could I have spent that hour continuing to expand my blog’s digital presence and build my personal brand? Yes. Does that really matter, or make an impact on my life in the grand scheme of things? Yes.
Reclaim your time that’s lost scrolling through your iPhone, and instead, choose to focus on the present. There is so much more that we can do in this life, and it’s time we go out and pursue those things that will make us 1,000 times more fulfilled than any catch up on Instagram will.
As the weather breathes renewed energy into our lives, consider how it might reignite something in you. The traditional approach to spring cleaning is great, after all, who doesn’t enjoy a clean space? But, it’s impact on who you are as a person is few and far between.
I know the above self care exercises may seem daunting, but trust me when I say they will be well worth your pursuit.
One more line on self care from Brianna Wiest, “It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people. It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be.”
Why now? Because spring is all about growth, and just as you’ve channeled the vitality of the season to jump start a cleaning spree, you can channel it to re-invigorate your life. Imagine how you might feel reaping the benefits of the seeds you planted today coming to full bloom by summertime.