Summer is just around the corner – so close you can almost taste it. And by ‘it’ I of course mean ice cream, fruit salads, ice cold cocktails and all the other wonderful flavours we associate with the greatest season of the year.
But before your blend yourself a Piña Colada, you’ll want to get out of the way the rewarding task of a thorough spring clean. From the days of feather dusters to the modern era’s deluxe vacuum cleaners; the process of cleaning and tidying one’s home in anticipation for summer goes back hundreds years.
Some say it originates from the ancient Jewish practice of cleaning the home before the spring festival Passover, while other say the Persians introduced the tradition with their custom of tidying the home prior to the Persian New Year in March.
But if you thought spring cleaning was just for your home, then think again. The time between winter and summer is an excellent period for reflection and preparation. Just as the flowers begin to blossom and the weather that starts to clear – you too can experience change and personal growth during the spring.
Here are some ways to rejuvenate your body and cleanse your mind this spring…
De-clutter your space
Don’t mistake this for simply tidying up. The word ‘clutter’ invariably invokes unattractive imagery of overflowing cupboards, messy desks or excessive and disorganized piles of personal belongings. What do these scenes have in common? They arise when someone has too many belongings.
You can hide your clutter out of sight, or arrange it more neatly, but it’s still clutter – and so long as it remains in your home, your personal space will feel blocked which can create a negative mindset.
Identify which of your belongings you can do without and then trash them, recycle them, sell them or donate them to charity. You might surprise yourself over how much stuff you hold on to for no other reason than habit. Your personal space can be a strong reflection of your inner space – so de-clutter your home, and you might just find that your mind follows suit.
Employ a bit of feng shui
After the de-cluttering stage, see how you can improve your living space with some ‘feng shui’. This Chinese method of organizing your environment is philosophical yet very rational. For example, removing electronics from the bedroom helps create a relaxing space free from our digital dependency and 24/7 social media culture. Removing unsightly parts of your home out of sight – such as waste bins, cables or laundry baskets – helps establish a stronger sense of cleanliness and orderliness. Rearranging furniture to create larger open spaces, meanwhile, instils an aura of control and airiness.
You should also consider whether you have any items that trigger bad memories in your personal space. If there’s anything associated with, or otherwise connected to, a part of your life you want to leave in the past – move it out of sight! The subconscious works in unexpected ways, and we shouldn’t underestimate the power that visual stimulants have in creating negative emotions.
Surround yourself with natural goodness
Did you know that there are studies which show plants can improve people’s mental health? Having plants in your home carries numerous benefits. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal of a room filled with beautiful flowers and succulents, plants also freshen the air by reducing certain pollutants. The relaxing scent of some flowers has also been shown to relieve stress.
Spring is the perfect time to get more plants for your home – but don’t just stop there. Give your skin a break from the preservatives and chemicals present in typical beauty products by using plant-based ingredients instead. Natural ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, essential oils and rose water will instantly hydrate and cleanse your skin. Any of these ingredients can make the basis for body sprays, body wash, facial toners, moisturizing cream and exfoliators. Rose water is particularly versatile – this wondrous floral water can even be enjoyed as a refreshing and healthy drink!
Detox in your preferred way
Detoxing is not a fancy word for a crash diet – nor should the primary purpose of a detox be weight loss. Detoxing has been done for centuries as a means of flushing toxins from the body and kick-starting some bodily functions. Detoxing can be as simple as cutting out caffeine, alcohol, meat or junk food for a set period of time.
It’s a cleansing experience which will give your body a break from the less-than-nutritious food items with which you might usually feed it. At the end of your detox, you should feel rejuvenated and may even find that your appearance is more vibrant. Remember to choose a detox plan that is safe and appropriate for your particular lifestyle or diet.
Pick up a healthy habit or two!
Whether it’s yoga in the morning or journaling in the evening – forming new healthy habits shouldn’t be exclusive to New Year. There’s never a bad time to establish routines for self-improvement, but there’s something about the spring time’s air of excitement and connotations of rebirth that is particularly motivating.
Put aside time to reflect
Make a list of thoughts that have been on your mind thus far this year. Focus on any insecurities and anxieties, so that you can contemplate how to rid yourself of them before, or throughout, the summer. What are your hopes and expectations for the summer? Consider ways to make these wishes a reality.
Finally, think about ways that you can make self-care a priority. Remind yourself that you are deserving of the time and energy put into improving your mental and physical health – and start this summer on that note. You might want to meditate, or talk to someone you trust, in aiding this time of reflection.
There’s no better way to you to put the harsh winter behind you and embrace a fruitful summer than by treating your mind and body to a fresh start. Take care of your health with these spiritual forms of spring cleaning, and you’ll find yourself flourishing along with nature this spring.