Spring Clean – By Susie Elelman
Good bye winter and hello spring!
This is a wonderful time of year when the bone chilling days of winter are finally behind us and replaced with warm sunny days filled with the smell of fragrant flowers in bloom and freshly cut grass.
I’ve never been any fan of winter and maybe it’s because we had such a mild autumn and I’m getting older but I think this winter felt much colder than any I remember in recent memory.
As the outdoor temperature starts to rise so too does our desire to put the shackles of wintertime behind us and to refresh and renew.
The best way is with a spring clean and not just to our home, but our mind and body too.
- Spring Clean Your Body
Have you been hibernating indoors, maybe snuggled up on the lounge binge-watching your favourite Netflix series?
Have your trips to the kitchen and back been the bulk of your winter exercise routine?
Have you been tucking into stodgy food and maybe too many hot chips or desserts and chocolate?
Don’t worry you’re not alone and while it might be quick and easy to pack away our woolly coats and jumpers for another year; I wish it was as simple to shed the winter coat of extra body fat that some of us still have clinging on tightly over our bodies as a result.
If that’s you, then it’s time to put a spring in your step and set yourself on a path to looking good and feeling great.
Susie’s Top Tips to a Lifestyle Spring Clean
- Start Moving Your Body – no matter what regular exercise you enjoy doing, start doing a little bit more of it, not a lot more to start with and especially if you’ve been idle throughout the colder months. Start with baby steps and build up so you don’t injure yourself or give up because it’s all too hard.
Walking is always a great way to start and easy to stick to and if you can work up a sweat in the process then that’s even better.
Aim to get some fresh air every day. Maybe try parking down the end of the main street and walking up and down to shop or get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way to work or home.
- Eat Lighter Foods and Less– we don’t need the heavy comfort foods that have helped to fortify us through winter anymore. This warmer weather means we’ll wear lighter clothes and our bodies should also match. If you’re wondering if you’ve bulked up over winter, then try on some of the summer clothes in your wardrobe.
Think about eating more salads and raw vegetables and less bread, potatoes, rice and pasta and keep track of your intake of refined and hidden sugars.
Not only will all that help you reduce your shape and size, it will improve your health and your mood.
Eat right and you’ll start to feel amazing.
- Stay Hydrated – drinking plenty of water especially as the weather warms up is vital to better health, great for your skin and looking younger, it stops you feeling bloated and keeps you regular. Try and drink water that’s not too cold, it’s better for you at room temperature and avoid drinks that are high in sugar and salt including fruit juice drinks.
- Pamper Yourself – whether it’s having a professional spa session and getting a massage and a manicure and pedicure, or you pampering yourself at home by running a bath, lighting some fragrant candles and giving yourself a facial; be sure to take some time out to focus on YOU!
Tips to Spring Clean Your Home and Your Mind
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a dreaded list of chores. It can be a rewarding experience that helps provide some structure and organisation in your life – Peter Walsh author
A 2010 study looking at the way women described their living space has revealed what some in the medical profession have long suspected that there’s a definite link between clutter and depression.
Is your home cluttered or full of unfinished projects? Those women in the study who identified in this category were more likely to be depressed and were found to have higher cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone.
Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide says, “Our home should be a living place not a storage space” and we should all start to collect more moments and memories than actual things.
There’s a great Feng Shui Tip that defines clutter as anything unfinished, unused, unresolved or disorganised, and states that when you clear your clutter you create space for new things and your energy and creativity will increase.
Declutter the mess in your home and heart.
Don’t let your past crowd out your future
– Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis – psychologist and ordained Minister
Peter Walsh, author of It’s All Too Much, shares Dr Thelma’s sentiments and advocates, “Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living”.
Confessed hoarders I talk with about downsizing, invariably say that as soon as they throw something away they seem to need it.
I found this Clutter Clearing Mantra that you might like to implement to help you choose what stays and what goes at your place.
- How long has it been since I’ve used it?
- Do I like it?
- Does it work properly? Is it broken?
- Do I have more? How many do I need?
- If I keep this, what will I get rid of to make room for it?
- Can I locate this info elsewhere? (probably on the internet)
Or you could just follow this simple advice;
Have nothing in your house that you do not know is useful or believe to be beautiful – William Morris – textile designer, poet, novelist, social activist (1834-1896)
Not only will removing the clutter help your mental health but the actual cleaning counts as exercise so you’re basically ‘killing two birds with the one stone’.
Spring cleaning is a great way to work-out because you work up a sweat but don’t need to leave home to do it, you can stay in your pj’s, you have a clean house at the end of it all that makes you feel great and you don’t feel guilty if you didn’t get to the gym that day or week.
Martha Beck writes in her book, Steering by Starlight, that our home is sort of like a mirror of our inner state. Living space is a powerful metaphor for our life. Whether we know it or not, we can’t change our life without changing our home, and vice versa.
Martha Beck suggests we tackle a bit of redecorating, which will in turn bring about positive changes in our life but she doesn’t recommend we try and do our entire living space. She says to choose instead one particular area in our home that bothers us the most and start by identifying the reasons why.
Visualise what we’d like the area to look like and Martha says that for every item we bring in, we need to remove something that doesn’t please us.
Martha Beck calls this the ‘Butterfly Effect’ and says, “The idea is that when you make little changes in your home that align you with your true desires, you invite an easier, happier flow of energy into your overall mental health and other areas of your life.”
Your mind is a garden,
Your thoughts are the seeds,
You can grow flowers
Or you can grow weeds – anon
Another of her great tips is when you’re depressed or tired and the hardest part of tidying up can be finding the energy to get started.
Martha says she sort of tricks herself into cleaning. She doesn’t start out making a major commitment to clean and declutter the whole house.
She just begins with putting one thing away that’s out of place, or she tosses that one unflattering pair of jeans onto the Op-Shop pile for charity and she finds sometimes that is all it takes to get some impetus happening.
Having said all that, this profound quote from Albert Einstein has given me food for thought for those at the other end of the spectrum; maybe you know someone like this?
If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind,
of what then, is an empty desk a sign?
If you’ve spring-cleaned your home and you still have not noticed any improvement in your mental health, here’s a great list to work through from HappyBodyFormula.com that’s easily achievable;
10 Tips to Declutter Your Mind;
- Clean up your physical space
- Start a journal
- Get outside
- Ditch the TV and reduce screen time on tablets
- Go minimalist
- Stop overbooking yourself
- Talk it out
- Put others first
- Embrace your one-track mind
- Do Nothing
I found another easy approach to spring cleaning the mind online at QueenofYourOwnLife.com that might help create a shift in paradigm.
Spring Cleaning List
- Throw out negative self-talk
- Air out my dreams
- Remove clutter blocking my sparkle
- Take unhelpful fears to the tip
- Shred self-doubt
- Polish friendships
Or you might like to follow this novel method to ‘Spring Clean Your Life in 5 Steps’.
- Run or walk for 1 kilometre
- Meet 2 friends for dinner
- Create 3 new healthy recipes
- Donate 4 old clothing items
- Spend 5 minutes meditating
Forgive and set yourself free. When we forgive, we heal our own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again. It’s like spring cleaning for your heart. – Angie Karan
It’s always important to remember that when we laugh, we release endorphins, and when we hug those we love, we release oxytocin, another mood-enhancing chemical, so be sure to get out and socialise whenever you can.
Happiness is a place between too little and too much
– Finnish Proverb
I’d like the last wise words to come from winning race car driver Louise Smith (1916-2006) known as ‘the first woman of racing’ who says;
You can’t reach for anything new
if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk
I hope your spring cleaning and decluttering brings you the desired positive mental emotions and my tips help to put an extra spring in your step…cheers susie
Susie Elelman AM JP
Author, TV & Radio Broadaster