By: Lynn Hogewood
March is a time for ushering in spring, and in 2023, spring has sprung early. I could tell by the pollen coating my car at the end of February, and the 75-80 degree days we have experienced so far this year. Spring traditionally brings the urge for spring cleaning; cleaning out the old and bringing in the new; and making space for the hope that spring brings. Most of think of our physical space when we think of spring cleaning, but spring cleaning is also a chance to declutter the mind, to re-fuel the body, and to fill the soul. For March, to promote your quality of life, health, and wellness, consider these strategies for spring cleaning.
The Merry Maids website includes a checklist and how-to tips for things like cleaning your baseboards or even cleaning your mattress: https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-tips/seasonal-cleaning/spring-cleaning-checklist/. Frankly, when I first saw this list, I was overwhelmed. So, I took a deep breath and realized that I did NOT have to do all of these things at once – or at all. Instead, I noted my top priority in my physical space – my basement bedroom and den. This was a priority because my daughter was bringing friends from college home with her for spring break. I had a deadline to clean the space for guests. That’s a funny thing about deadlines. My suggestion for cleaning your physical space: start with one room that’s a priority for you and give yourself a deadline.
Science supports that clearing out and discarding things from our physical space benefits our mind. “The benefits of decluttering have been expounded by experts as a means to boosting productivity, motivation, and creativity.” Spring Clean Your Mind, Headspace, by Sadia Ahmad. Another strategy for supporting a clearing of the mind is brain dumping. Practicing a morning or evening brain dump can be a helpful habit to start in this new spring season. When you let things out on paper – either by creating a list or journaling, you start your morning or close out your day with decluttering the mind of thoughts, stress, and the to-dos. You can clear your head and move forward with better clarity.
March is Nutrition for Well-Being for National Nutrition Month, and the Alabama State Bar and Birmingham Bar Association both have nutrition based CLE options this month. As part of spring cleaning, consider cleaning up your diet to benefit your body. The spring season is a great time to reflect on what you are using to fuel your body. Perhaps taking a few days with a cleanse in a mindful, healthy way supports cleaning your body. Certainly, paying attention to how foods you choose affect you in good ways and in bad ways can allow you to prioritize those foods that renew and energize your body. Prioritizing nutrient-rich, whole foods and choosing foods that are right for you can set you up for success in the long run and lead to a cleaner, healthier, well-fueled body.
By cleaning out physical space, clearing the mind, and focusing on a clean, healthy body, the soul resets. You can welcome other things and activities that bring you joy, that fill your bucket – that cleanse your soul. The most used phrase for filling the soul these days is self-care, and spring cleaning may involve rebooting your self-care (soul-filling) routines. Our needs shift and change over time – with our obligations, our schedule, and even the weather. Let the new season motivate you to consider what fills your soul, what self-care activities are actually self-care. Take the time to tune in and consider how your current practices make you feel during and after. If these practices no longer serve you in this new season, make a change. Start with cleaning a small portion of your physical space, letting go of some things on your mind, and fueling your body to be its best; then, with better clarity and purpose, decide what you need to fill your soul.