It’s time to clear away the cobwebs and look to the future with renewed excitement.
With the new season almost upon us, now is the time when many of us pull on the rubber gloves for our annual spring clean. A clear space equals a clear mind, so there’s no doubt that giving our homes a good scrub and declutter can make us feel good about ourselves. But it’s also the perfect time to perform a spring clean of our wellbeing, too.
At this time of year, I like to take a look at my health and wellness habits and check in with where I’m at. What’s working for me and what’s not? How can I change things up to ensure I’m getting the most out of life? Sometimes it’s the smallest changes that can bring about the biggest results.
With the warmer weather and longer days ahead, the transition from winter to spring is perhaps the most joyful season-switch of all, so why not harness these feelings of positivity to work some magic on your wellbeing. Here are some simple ways to spring clean your life.
1 Let the outside in
Make the most of the dry, warmer weather and flood your home with the clean, fresh air of spring. Like the lungs, our homes need to breathe – when fresh air comes in, the dirty air goes out – so throw open the doors and windows and let it circulate.
2 Get out more
Go for a walk in nature. Get amongst the fresh blossoms and buds, listen to the birds, consider a spring dip in the sea. Emerging from the cold and dreary winter months, we often feel more energised and ready for change. This is a great time to get active – and I’ve always found that morning exercise is the best possible way to start the day, especially at this time of the year. Dust off your runners, set your alarm and welcome the day with a brisk walk or jog. Regular exercise encourages circulation, digestion and lymphatic drainage, and has incredible mental health benefits.
3 Set some new intentions
Shake off the dreariness of winter and think ahead. What do you want to achieve? What will it take to get there? It could be something simple, such as improving your fitness, or a longer-term career goal. In either case, write down your aspirations and make a plan to get there. I break my goals into smaller chunks – each stepping stone gets you closer to your ultimate objective.
4 Eat SLOW
Winter is all about keeping warm, and usually that means bigger, heartier meals. But as you adjust to the spring weather, think about how this might affect what you eat. Where possible, try to eat SLOW: seasonal, local, organic, whole foods. Head to your fruit and vege store and see what’s in season.
Opt for fresh, seasonal food such as asparagus, avocado, beans, beetroot, blueberries, broccoli, courgettes, tomatoes, kiwifruit and oranges. Remember – this is the easiest time to aim to “eat a rainbow”. The more colour we have in our diet, the better we’ll function and the healthier we’ll feel.
5 Spring clean your friendships
Do you have people in your life who sap you of energy? Let them go. Instead, spend time with those who encourage, support and celebrate you. We should all surround ourselves with those who make us feel good. Equally, focus your attention on what sort of friend you are to others. Do you lift your loved ones up and help them to be the best they can be?
6 Forgive and forget
Let go of mental baggage, be it regrets, resentments, grudges or disappointments. Holding on to old emotions and judging yourself or others for the past takes up unnecessary emotional and mental space, which can weigh heavily on your life. When we forgive and forget, we create more mental clarity and allow space for more helpful, positive emotions.
7 Get in sync
Now is a good time to think about how much sleep you’re getting. With the mornings becoming lighter, it’s the ideal time to start your days a little earlier. But that will mean earlier bedtimes. We should all be aiming for the magic eight hours of sleep a night for optimum physical and mental health. Remember, scrolling on your phone at night interferes with your natural body clock. So, leave your devices out of the bedroom and wind down with a good book instead.
8 Still the mind
Many studies have shown the benefits of meditation and mindfulness exercises. Both practices (which focus your attention on the present moment and accept it without judgment) have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue and boost happiness, concentration and self-awareness. Apps such as Calm and Headspace are low-cost tools that can help you develop a regular practice.