Spring has finally sprung! Yippee!!
After a winter that felt like it would never end, it is time to thoroughly clean our homes, purge the unessential piles that have accumulated, and let in a bit of sunlight and fresh air. Historically in North America, Spring signaled a welcomed opportunity to throw open the windows, and make use of the winds of March to clear out the dust from winter.(Pre vacuum cleaners) For me, in addition to cleaning my living space from top to bottom, I see Spring as a time to change the bedding, swap the closets and clean up my inbox too.
Being more into Anna Freud than Martha Stewart, the type of Spring cleaning I am most interested in has more to do with your head than your home.
Below I share one of my favorite annual Spring cleaning exercises that helps create mental space, and a sense of lightness. It is a perfect way to open yourself to the birthing of the new things that Spring can bring. Here’s what to do…
In a notebook make of list of everything that has been occupying space in your mind. I actually mean, everything. The list can range from what you did or didn’t say in a conversation, to a wedding gift you need to purchase by October. Search every nook and cranny of your brain for dust, cobwebs and clutter. Get it all on paper. By the end of the list you may feel spent, but you’ll feel good, much like you do after a long day of cleaning.
Then, go back through your list. During this second round cross off anything that is not relevant to what you want, what you need, or who you want to be. You’ll be amazed by what you can eliminate, and shocked at how much mental weight you’ve been carrying around. Releasing clutter, creates space, both in your home and your head.
According to well known Stanford University researcher, Fred Luskin, most people have about 60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of those thoughts are repetitive! They may keep you awake at night, or weigh you down while taking up space in your subconscious mind. Use this mental Spring cleaning as an opportunity to become aware of the thoughts that are taking up space without adding value, then decide to let them go.
As for the items that made the cut? They will now make their way into your calendar. That gift you need to get? Put a deadline on it. Do you have something to do at the office that you’ve been avoiding? Commit to doing it tomorrow. If you have a conversation you know you need to have but have been avoiding, make a date. Take action or prepare to take action on all the items you still deem worthy of your attention. Once you can get these items into your calendar, you can get them off your mind, and you won’t have to think about them again until the scheduled time arrives.
The next step to maintaining a spacious mind, is to commit to spending at least 5 minutes a day in stillness and silence. Find a cozy spot, light a candle and start to flex your mental muscles to keep your mind clear of clutter.
Carrying around extra mental baggage uses up your precious mental energy. It can pull you away from the here and now and cause unnecessary stress. When you are constantly thinking about what you need to do or what you should have done, it makes it much harder to focus on what you are actually doing. Most of what is on your mind is more than manageable, so this year, either trash it or put it somewhere safe ( i.e, schedule it) so you can find it when you need it. (Some of those thoughts you will never need, trust me!)
In the comments below share with me at least 2 items on your list that you are going to trash, and at least one item that you can commit to this week! Spring is here, lets get our homes and our heads spacious and beautiful. Are you with me? I’ll see you in the comments and as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
*image courtesy of Jen Collins