Spring is (almost) among us and this means spring cleaning! Clearing out our closets and freshening up our wardrobes. Planting flowers. Taking deep breaths of fresh, spring air. Going for a jog without a parka – dreamy!
Not only do our gardens, bodies and wardrobes need to be cleaned up and revitalized, but this is also a perfect time of year to take inventory over what you are filling your life with on more subtle levels – mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and to determine if your current priorities are helping you move towards where you want to go. Transitioning out of the colder months, when many of us tend to hibernate (as nature intends for us to do), there is a natural push to let the heavier, slower, more cumbersome aspects of our lives drop to make room for fresher, lighter, more playful interests. So let’s take advantage!
Here is an exercise that you can do in 15 minutes to determine where you’re currently placing your energy, assess whether it’s being well-allocated, and if not, re-direct it. By the time summer comes around you will be where you want to be, feeling great and on the move.
Step 1: Meditate
In order to have the capability of stepping back and assessing your life honestly, it is necessary that your mind is not overflowing with last week’s stresses and tomorrow’s anxieties. To be honest and gentle with yourself, you need to take a few minutes to sit by yourself in silence, breathe deeply to relax your nervous system, come into the present and notice how you feel in this exact moment in time.
A simple way to do this is to find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and take five deep, slow, elongated breaths. Then let your breath return to its natural rhythm and notice how that feels as it moves through your body, each cycle causing it to gently lift and expand, then subtly release and ground. Pay attention to every detail you can about your breath for a couple of minutes. Don’t worry when thoughts and feelings come up that distract you – that’s normal and unavoidable. Just do your best to pay attention to as many breaths as you can for several minutes. Whatever your experience is, it is good enough for this exercise, I promise.
Step 2: Assess Your Current MO
Now that you’re in a calm place, write down what has been filling your thoughts, time and emotional space over the past two weeks. What has been consuming your energy. Try to be honest. No judgments. There is no right or wrong or better or worse. You’re just trying to get an honest assessment of where you’re at.
Step 3: Refine
Take a step back from this list and identify which items are healthy and adding to your inner peace, fun or self-development. You can “star” these items or circle them. Then identify which items are draining you or lowering your overall health. Are there things you’re stressing about over which you have no control? Cross them out. Have you recently started an unhealthy habit that you don’t want to get carried away with? Cross it out. Whatever you don’t want to continue (that you have control over), cross it out. Notice any feelings of satisfaction or relief that arise as you eliminate these energy-suckers.
Step 4: Enhance
Now, what do you want more of in your life? Write down a couple intentions that you would love to have accomplished this season. Want to start exercising more? Eating healthier? Thinking more positively? Be specific and take small steps. For example: I will exercise twice a week over the next month. I will not eat fried food this month. I will write down something I’m grateful for every night before I go to bed. Make them easily integratable into your current schedule so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure, but instead taking the first step of many towards the healthiest version of yourself.
Step 5: Smile
Look at your list and smile, channeling the hope and revitalizing energy that Spring brings.
Step 6: Visualize
Close your eyes one last time and visualize yourself accomplishing these intentions over the next couple of months. Feel the pride and positivity you’ll feel once you’ve succeeded. Take three more deep breaths, breathing in success and breathing out any lingering doubts.
Spring cleaning has begun!