Temps are rising, it’s no longer unbearably cold, and the birds are chirping their sometimes lovely, sometimes irritating song.
It’s spring—or almost.
And with the change of seasons comes the opportunity to spring-clean your life.
Spring-Clean Your Home
There’s no doubt about it: Cleaning your home can offer great stress relief. That said, it isn’t at the top of everyone’s to-do list. Those who swear by the literal definition of spring-cleaning can at the very least take a day or two to get organized for the rest of the year. Here are some strategies for achieving this:
Clear the clutter.
Pull a Marie Kondo, and, room by room, get rid of the items that no longer bring you joy. (The items you can’t just throw away, that is. That gaudy chair from your in-laws should probably go in the guestroom rather than to Goodwill.) But generally speaking, spring is the perfect time to reorganize your space. Move through your home, and be mindful about what to toss, what to donate, and what to put in storage.
Tackle seasonal chores.
You know those chores you only complete in the spring or fall? Get to work early so you can reap the benefits of your effort for the next six months. Clear those gutters, rake that patio, and scrub your outdoor grill and windows until they sparkle. In the meantime, put that winter bedding in the closet where it belongs! And gear up to replace the snowblower with the lawnmower in your garage.
Build new cleaning habits.
If you’re anything like me, you feel perfectly comfortable living in squalor. I’m more of an organizer than a cleaner, and while an unmade bed irritates me to no end, I can go for weeks—months, even—without mopping the floors. However, spring has sprung, and those questionable habits end now. Take the time this spring to build new cleaning habits altogether. Even just 15 minutes per day can make a difference.
Spring-Clean Your Relationships
You don’t have to do anything drastic where your relationships are concerned. If you want to do something drastic, then by all means—go for it! Anyway, I digress. What I’m saying is that this spring, take the time to assess your relationships (romantic, platonic, and familial) and see how you’re feeling.
Arguing kindly takes practice. So does teaching yourself to speak up when you’re upset, instead of holding everything in until your insides cook into a stew of rage. Conflict management is a crucial skill, and taking the reins of the way you navigate interpersonal issues will change your life. So this season, elevate those communication skills, agree to disagree when needed, and fight with compassion.
Focus on quality time.
At the height of the pandemic, my now-husband and I fell into the habit of working, cooking dinner, and spending the evening eating dinner and rotting on the couch, eyes glued to the TV, only to repeat the same thing the next day. We haven’t put an end to those Curb Your Enthusiasm marathons, but we spend more time together away from the TV now. Limit your screen-time (outside of work) if you can.
Cut ties with people who no longer serve you.
Don’t isolate yourself. Do set boundaries with your overbearing parents, your hypercritical friends, and the people in your life who make you feel anxious when you’re around them. You don’t need to sever these relationships altogether (although going no- or low-contact is an option), but you should evaluate those whose company you don’t particularly enjoy. You may even learn about yourself in the process.
Spring-Clean Your Life
Spring is the New Year’s Eve—well, not quite. But instead of only setting resolutions at the beginning of the year, view the new season as a time to create new goals and erase those that no longer align with your future. Taking a day to get organized for the entire year will save you time in the long run.
Schedule your recurring appointments.
Haircut, therapist, dentist—the list goes on and on. Don’t let the act of making appointments take over your life. Instead, take an hour out of your day this spring to book recurring appointments through the end of the year. Add them to your calendar, cut back on stress, and organize your life. This simple act will transform your routine for the better (and add an element of strategy to your schedule).
Bulk-unsubscribe from email lists.
Maybe you want the latest email promotions from that boutique, gym, or restaurant. By all means, stay subscribed! However, to avoid letting your spam folder grow too out of control, consider bulk-unsubscribing from the lists you no longer care about. Your inbox will thank you—and the decrease in needless stimulation from your computer screen will help promote a simpler, calmer life.
Review your finances.
This is a powerful quarterly habit—and there’s merit to getting started in the spring. Since you have to do your taxes anyway, consider taking the time to review your finances in general. Assess your spending, identify gaps or problem areas in your budget, and set financial goals for the rest of the year. You know the saying: If you build it, they will come? Build that financial plan—the money will follow.
Spring-Clean Your Mind
You know the feeling. You’re trying to work, only your phone won’t stop ringing, and your to-do list is taking over all the bandwidth in your brain. While there’s no way to eliminate stress altogether, you can turn to a few proven steps and at the very least reduce the anxiety you face. Consider the following:
Avoid your email when you wake up.
Steering clear of your inbox after work and on weekends can make a real difference in your life. Another email hack is to avoid your inbox when you first wake up. Just think about it: You’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, and you’re ready to ease into your day, only to click on the Mail app. Why not save yourself the trouble, enjoy a leisurely coffee and breakfast (when time allows), and check your email later?
Schedule a social media detox.
You don’t have to delete social media entirely—although you can definitely deactivate your accounts if you’re looking to go off-grid. At the very least, think about deleting the apps from your phone, and only check your notifications once or twice per day. This will foster a greater sense of calm, help you avoid making comparisons, and serve as living proof that there is in fact more time in the day. Who knew?
Meditate for 10 minutes each day.
In some circles, meditation gets a bad rap. But give it a try anyway! You don’t need to go about it in the conventional sense. Simply aim to start or end your day with 10 minutes of seated (or walking) tranquility. Stop thinking about your obligations, and practice living in the present. If you make a habit of meditating this spring, and the benefits may well follow for the rest of the year.
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