Spring is here! The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer, and the sun seems to be shining a little brighter. As the snow retreats back into the mountains and trees begin to unfurl their tender new leaves, you may be feeling the urge to shrug off the comforts of winter and welcome some new growth of your own.
“All living beings have this time of regeneration in the spring, when we’re coming out of winter dormancy and becoming more alive and active as the weather warms us and there is more light, which affects people more than they realize,” said clinical psychologist Robin Haight in an article for The Washington Post. She also explained why spring is a better time to make resolutions than the busy winter holiday season. “You can really set yourself up for success, when it comes to getting your life in order and making meaningful, lasting changes.”
Spring Cleaning for the Body
Do the longer days and warmer temperatures have you feeling the itch to get outdoors? Go ahead and give in! It’s only going to get harder to find excuses not to run, bike and hike, or even just sit outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. The physical activity and increase in vitamin D could be the boost you didn’t even realize you needed, and a great start towards shedding any winter weight that may have snuck up on you.
Likewise, take full advantage of the fresh produce that’s available and in-season. Avoid making any drastic changes to your diet, and don’t put any faith in those highly publicized “cleanses,” or fad diets, which will yield short-term – if any – results. Focus instead on small but meaningful changes like cutting out fast food, sugar or highly processed foods.
Spring Cleaning for the Mind
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is give your relationships a good spring cleaning. Weed out negative influences who cause stress and chaos, and strengthen your relationships with the people in your life who bring you joy. If you have a significant other, sit down together and lay out your goals for the future. Combine that with a wish list of activities for the spring and summer and you have a road map for happiness.
Take a good look at your sleep schedule, too. Are you staying up too late? Does it take multiple cups of coffee to get going in the morning? Put down the smartphone and swap TV for a good book before bed. Set a strict bedtime for yourself and you’ll soon find your mind falls into the routine.
Spring Cleaning for the Soul
Spring cleaning for your soul is just as important as taking care of your mind and body and is just as beholden to the old saying, “You are what you eat.” If you nourish your soul, you’ll find peace and happiness are not far behind.
Find a few minutes every day for meditation. There’s no incense or chanting required – just find a space to sit away from distractions, let your thoughts come and go, and breathe deeply. There are also some terrific meditation apps and programs like Headspace and Calm. In addition to helping you feel centered and in touch with yourself, meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve overall health.
Practice gratitude by starting each day with the question, “What am I grateful for?” Keep a gratitude journal and at the end of each day, write down 5 or 10 things that come to mind.
Make an effort to be of service to others, whether it’s a few hours a week, or a month, or even a year. Research an organization in your community that speaks to your values and that you can pour gifts of yourself, your time and your talent into.
There’s No Wrong Technique For Spring Cleaning
No matter how you welcome the spring, the time for change and growth is undeniable. However, your heart calls you to break free of winter and stretch your arms towards
the new season, the most important step is just to follow.