Updated: Feb 26
Although spring doesn’t officially begin until the 20th March, January is often a time when people like to start their ‘spring cleaning’ after the busy holiday season, marking the end of the cold winter and the fresh beginning of a new year. Given how busy life has become, I would argue that spring cleaning our LIVES is an essential exercise in order to make room for the things we want to bring into our experience. Because holding onto crap we no longer want or need, or is broken/faulty and no longer serves us, is not going to inspire anything positive; in fact it can hold us back and either deplete us, create stress, demotivation and other unwanted negative energy. And given many people are having to spend extended periods of time at home thanks to the current national lockdown, what better time is there to get organised and clearing out the dead wood!?
But what does SPRING CLEANING YOUR LIFE actually entail?
Particle physicists tell us that everything in the universe, when broken down to its simplest form, is made of energy. This includes: unwanted, broken and obsolete items; things that harm or upset us; things that have negative associations or spark painful memories; people and influences that provoke negative thoughts, emotions or reactions. If we want to raise our energy and subsequently attract positive things into our lives, we cannot also hold onto the things that bring us down. We therefore need to look at the different areas in our lives which have a tendency to get cluttered, damaged and break-down, to gage what needs to stay and what goes. Here are 5 key areas which have the most impact and some helpful tips to get started:
1. Cleaning, decluttering, and organising the home
They say that our external environment is a direct reflection of our internal world and that a cluttered home equates to a cluttered mind! Unless clinically depressed, any improvement in our physical environment is always going to lift our spirits. That's because cleaning, decluttering, and organising our environment can significantly improve our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It can reduce stress and anxiety due to reduced stimulation of the senses; it allows for clearer thinking, improves sleep and improves productivity. Dirt, clutter and chaos on the other hand have the potential to harm our health and wellbeing, and affect the immune system (anyone with allergies, asthma, sensitive skin etc will attest to this); it increases the risk of accidents and it creates unnecessary stress and often causes arguments within the home. Therefore, a blitz of our living quarters at the start of the year helps set the tone for how we wish to experience the year ahead and start on a clean slate.
Put some decent music on or have your favourite show playing in the background while you tackle each room. Or put headphones on and call friends/family for a catch up – time will fly!
Use cleaning products that smell amazing – there is nothing more satisfying than to smell the freshness of your labour!
Be ruthless with what you throw out/give away – if you don’t use it, want it or love it then it needs to find a new home. If it’s broken and cannot be repaired then bin it!
Re-home unwanted items – do a good deed while making room in your home, give your unwanted items to a friend/family/neighbour or to a charity.
Sell unwanted items – one man’s junk is another man’s treasure! There are lots of websites where you can sell what you no longer want or need and make some extra money (e.g. eBay, Gumtree and Facebook). You could be sitting on the deposit for a new car or holiday!
Become acquainted with your local Recycling Centre – being able to dispose of broken and tatty items and the endless accumulation of cardboard boxes and plastic coat hangers is one of the most satisfying things about decluttering your home – its strangely cathartic!
If you would like further inspiration on decluttering your home, check out the following 30 day challenge courtesy of Becky Mansfield @yourmodernfamily - Declutter Your Home in 30 Days with this Free Declutter Challenge! (yourmodernfamily.com)
2. Cleaning, decluttering and organising the workspace
Given how much time the average person spends working (according to the Office of National Statistics, in the UK this is between 35-40hrs a week) it is just as important to give our workspace and tools a thorough clear out and servicing if we want to enjoy the benefits to our health and wellbeing. Whether our work is manual, office-based or as a full-time carer, spending time getting our workspace and tools in order, is an investment of our time which will both reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mental clarity and productivity.
Use anti-bacterial wipes on keyboards, phones and other tools regularly especially when sharing equipment. Screen-wipes are needed for electronic devices to avoid smudges.
Organise all paperwork, archive what is no longer needed or shred it where appropriate.
Go through electronic folders, create subfolders for easy identification of documents, and create archive folders for documents which no longer need to be accessed.
Clear out email inboxes and organise what you need to keep into sub-folders.
Throw away any tools that don’t work or prioritise getting them serviced/repaired.
Unsubscribe from junk mail in your personal and work email accounts and delete any apps/ programmes you never use to free up space on your devices.
Delete items in your recycled folders to free up room on your devices which will run more efficiently, including computers, laptops and phones.
Have at least 1 personal item in your workspace that provokes joy e.g. a plant or a photo.
3. Cleaning up your diet and servicing the body
January tends to be the time of year when many people try out new diets and sign up to the gym. It is also a time when people think about detoxing or at least cutting out the naughty stuff like alcohol or junk food. After all, we are what we eat! When we fuel our bodies with garbage, it will eventually reflect in our overall health, energy, appearance, and emotional wellbeing. So taking stock of our eating habits and making small changes to clean up our bodies from the inside out is key to improving our health and essentially our life experience. For some detoxing inspiration see link: Full Body Detox: 9 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body (healthline.com)
Ensuring our bodies get their relevant servicing/ check-ups is also key in preventing health issues developing in future, especially if we have pre-existing conditions or require medication. Our bodies are always communicating with us; if we fail to ignore the messages, physical symptoms will only persist and worsen till we have no choice but to stop, sit up and pay attention. So being proactive in getting the essentials checked up, even during a pandemic, can help ensure a healthy mind and body and prevent health issues, pain, infection, disease, and in some cases can even help prevent death!
Go through the fridge, freezer, cupboards (or wherever else food may be hiding) and remove what you want to eliminate from your diet. Most supermarkets have a food bank donation area so no food needs go to waste.
Plan your healthier eating menu for the week in advance, shop only what you need and swap naughty treats for low-fat low-sugar alternatives.
Where possible consume organic products which will reduce the levels of pesticides and other nasty chemicals that fresh ingredients are often grown in - Foods That Are Actually Worth Buying Organic - Forkly
Book the dentist, opticians, smear test, breast screening or prostate exam and GO!
Consult with your GP if you are experiencing any chronic pain or discomfort or contact the National Health Service Helpline on 111 or online NHS 111 online.
Take a free online vitamin deficiency test to see what your body may be lacking and to see what may be recommended and what foods you may want to introduce into your diet - Vitamin deficiency test (freevitamindeficiencytest.com).
4. Clearing, declutter and organising your social media
Our diet is not just what we eat. The average person spends between 2 and nearly 7 hours a day online and on overage 22hrs a week watching television (NOT including streaming services). We are therefore bombarded with and absorbing masses of information through traditional media (e.g. television, radio, newspapers, magazines etc) and social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tock, YouTube etc) all of which we need to process whether consciously or unconsciously. It can be argued that this type of information overload is partially responsible for the high levels of mental health problems that people in the 21st century are experiencing. Because even though we can only give our conscious attention to around 7 bits of information at any given time, subconsciously we take in millions of bits of information every second, both whilst awake and asleep, all of which can affect how we think, feel and behave, all of which can have a profound impact on our life experience. So being selective about what we give our time and attention to is crucial for maintaining our emotional resilience and wellbeing.
Look through phones and tablets and delete any apps that you no longer use or enjoy
Ask yourself how each app you access enriches your life – if accessing it creates feelings of stress and anxiety on a regular basis, consider deleting or temporarily disabling it.
Look through each social media account and notice what comes up in your newsfeed. If you are accessing content that does not serve you or uplift you, consider hiding posts or unfollowing.
Look through your friends/contacts list and ask yourself whether you are happy for these people to have access to your personal information. If the answer is no, then unfriend, unfollow, delete or block
Delete unwanted ads that keep popping up, that way the bots on the web can start showing you more content of what you may actually be interested in.
Book in and enjoy a digital detox and the benefits which go along with it even if just for a day - www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Digital-Detox
Have access to at least one account that brings you joy – being able to open an app which makes you smile, laugh, inspire or uplifts you is an invaluable tool to have access to when promoting emotional wellbeing. Pinterest and YouTube are great for this.
5. Clearing out and detoxing your social circle
Ooohhh this is a sensitive one! As social creatures our very survival depends on the relationships we have with other people, whether its friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, the community or social groups we may associated with. If we are fortunate most of our relationships will bring us love, care, support, friendship, a sense of connection, as well as practical benefits which promote our lifestyle, health, wellbeing, and personal growth. There are however also relationships we may invest in, which do not serve us in positive ways and sometimes can be toxic and damaging to us mentally and physically. These are the relationships that need to be reconsidered if we are to free ourselves of their negative influence.
I personally would always advocate that where relationships can be nurtured and rifts healed, that this be the priority before considering cutting off contact, as social disconnect can often have far reaching consequences, and affect other people and relationships. At the same time, we are responsible for our own wellbeing and happiness and when we choose to keep harmful people in our lives, we are then essentially responsible for the impact they have on us.
Being the empathic creatures we are, we will often adapt to the people around us in order to ‘fit in’- to be accepted and to avoid judgment, criticism and shame. But if we surround ourselves with people whose mindset is generally very negative, whose morals are questionable, whose dreams and visions are limited and stunted by fear and pessimism, people who judge, criticise and shame us for being ourselves, then it’s only a matter of time before their limited and often toxic mindset will rub off. And we cannot expect positive experiences to come from negative thinking. So, clearing out the social circle is often a difficult yet necessary step needed in order to make room for more positive experiences and relationships to flow into our lives.
Set clear boundaries – people will always treat you the way you allow them to, so be clear on what behaviour is and is not acceptable to you; and have the courage to withdraw socially from them if they continue to violate your boundaries.
Ask yourself if there are any toxic individuals in your life and why they are there? If you cannot justify them playing a role in your life you may need to respectfully let them go and continue to send them love from a distance; or at least keep levels of contact to a minimum.
Be selective about when and where you engage with certain people and how long for. Certain negative or draining people cannot be avoided, so keeping interaction contained and time limited will always help in protecting your energy and limiting the level of damage they can inflict. Imagine yourself surrounded by a protective bubble of light while you are interacting with them and grounding afterwards (e.g., step outside into nature or bathe/shower). Meditation can also help promote relaxation and minimise the negative energy these people inflict.
Invest more time and energy into relationships that are supportive, which lift and inspire you and allow you to be yourself without apology.
And there you have it! If you are finding yourself feeling stuck or overwhelmed, chances are you need to spring clean certain areas of your life, so why not take on board some of these recommendations. If you would like to access Life Coaching to help with some of the trickier areas in your life which may require clearing and decluttering (i.e. giving up naughty dietary habits, reassessing your relationships, or you would like to develop mindfulness practice) then please check out my website www.themindfullifecoachuk.com for my services and to request a consultation. Quote BLOG27-20% and you can enjoy a 20% discount on any of my services or packages purchased in January 2021.
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