Don’t you love that fresh, green energy that comes with spring?
And if you’re Type-A like me, it’s also the time of year you throw open your windows, drag your rugs out into the sun, and start scrubbing the baseboards with a toothbrush.
Here are 7 ways to spring clean your life
1. Give yourself the gift of closure
Write them a letter, put it in a blank, un-stamped envelope, and drop it in the impenetrable blue mailbox on the corner. Burn the letter. Meditate on them with the mantra of “they were doing the best they could with what they had” or “I trust that everything works out for the highest good.”
2. Get help for any really big, ongoing issues
Do you keep dating horrible people who hurt you? Or hate yourself for eating a slice of birthday cake? Or nurse huge, heart-consuming grudges towards a family member?
a) You’re totally not alone. Almost everyone struggles with these things from time to time.
b) You don’t need to feel like this.
If you’ve wrestled with an issue for years and years and it doesn’t seem to be getting better, maybe it’s time to get help. Talk to your doctor, call your health insurance provider to see which services are covered or look for support groups in your area. Really and truly, you can feel better.
3. Monitor your media consumption
A sweet friend once gifted me a subscription to Travel + Leisure magazine. “What fun!” I thought. “I can’t wait to learn about new destinations!” I thought. But each time I opened those pages I immediately felt boring and less-than. The same thing happens for me with Lucky, Glamour, and certain Instagram feeds. So I unsubscribed.
You can do the same! Cancel your subscriptions to magazines that make you feel unattractive or broke. Do sit ups or the dishes during TV commercial breaks. Listen to public radio if radio ads wind you up. It’s impossible to completely remove media from our lives, but we can notice what’s affecting us and turn our eyes elsewhere.
4. Start a gratitude practice
Yes, you read this advice everywhere – because it’s good! I’ve written in my gratitude journal every week for nearly three years and it’s been transformative. I don’t do anything fancy – just five bullet points and short sentences about what I’m thankful for, but it’s a great way to end the day.
If you don’t want to write in an actual journal, try an app The Gratitude App or go around the dinner table and ask each family member what they’re thankful for that day.
5. Delete, hide, unfriend, unfollow
If that friend from high school is always winding you up on Facebook, just hide her or unfriend her. If that Twitter buddy just complains about airlines and customer service, you’re totally allowed to unfollow him. If you never read those email newsletter, just unsubscribe – or use Unroll Me to wrap all of your subscriptions into one tidy bunch!
6. Consider the stories you’re telling yourself
Are you really, actually a terrible athlete? Or did you just hate flag football in junior high? Do you really hate salad? Are you actually horrible with money? Is your taste in romantic partners all that bad?
When we tell ourselves these stories – even subconsciously – we define and strengthen those pathways in our brains. We literally make them more true by repeating them. It’s not always easy to stop that negative self-talk, but it is possible.
7. Allow yourself to stop judging others (even though it’s so, so hard)
I like myself least when I’m judging other people. It is, hands down, my biggest flaw as a human. I’ve found a lot of sanity with the mantra “I’m willing to see this person is doing their best” – even if ‘best’ looks like driving 40 in the fast lane, showing up late and unprepared to meetings, or missing deadlines. We’ve all been there. It feels good to be gracious.
How are you tweaking, cleaning, improving your internal life this spring? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!