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As the sun slowly creeps back into our lives, we feel a sense of rejuvenation and hope, but we are also able to see all the cobwebs and dust that have accumulated over the long winter months. While we begin to recognize the need to deep clean and rearrange our homes, cars, and offices, the springtime may also be an optimal time to reassess your own need for renewal and to make a plan for personal growth.
The Effects of Winter
The winter can be long and harsh. Although many people enjoy what this season has to offer, its climate can take a toll on your health. The lack of sun can decrease your body’s supply of vitamin D—an essential nutrient for bone strength, growth, and immune health. People may experience mood shifts and even develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or depression. The dryness of the air can crack skin, and the cold can make your body ache. Maybe you’re feeling a bit of cabin fever and all that clutter is making you feel claustrophobic. Needless to say, winter can wreak havoc on your happiness. Even if the winter isn’t directly to blame for your discontent, you should take some time to evaluate your current condition. Do you feel overwhelmed by the mess and clutter in your space? Do you feel chronic fatigue, like every day is a struggle? Are you often moody and ill-tempered? Maybe you feel bored or lack inspiration in your life. Or maybe you’ve contemplated making a big change, quitting a bad habit, or letting negative emotions go, but just haven’t taken the leap. If you can identify with even one of these feelings, it may be time for a reboot.
The Promise of Spring
With the emergence of spring, we may feel that our bodies, minds, and spirits need renewal. At its very core, spring is a time for life and re-growth. The earth takes her opportunity to blossom new buds and nourish all life forms. In the same way, you can reset physically, mentally, and emotionally, and foster an environment of personal vitality and development.
A Physical Transformation
1. Clean: Cleaning and organizing your space will make you feel accomplished and will pave the way for personal evolution.
2. Organize: Remove piles of paper and clutter from your countertops, tables, and walkways. File what you can, and recycle or pitch what you can’t. Create a new organization system. Use bins, shelves, hooks, and other tools to put things in their places.
3. Color: Use color to enhance mood. You can paint or use accent pieces in your home or office to alter your emotional state. Try red, yellow, or orange for a lift, or green and blue to calm and relax. Adding plants and flowers will spruce up your space.
4. Deep Cleansing: Deep clean the bathroom, the kitchen, and other rooms where grime collects. Dust your home, organize drawers, and purge your medicine cabinet.
1. Finances: Finances may hinder you from going to a spa or gym, but there are many ways you can cultivate an environment of individual progress and health.
2. Relax: Get a massage. Even if you can’t make it a masseuse, ask your partner for a rubdown or work out those kinks yourself. A relaxation massage can be what you need to boost your energy. Besides, the health benefits of massage are numerous, so indulge!
3. Decide to exercise: One of the best ways to prevent illness is through regular exercise. Gym memberships may be time consuming and costly. It’s okay to practice yoga or lift weights at home. Walking is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, lung functioning, and to get fresh air.
4. Eat well: Your body needs nutrients to guard against illness, fatigue, and other impediments that sap your health. The food you put into your body will be the fuel you need to recharge. Maybe it’s time to start growing a garden?
A Mental Reboot
Don’t succumb to burnout and mental road blocks. If you’re feeling down or uninspired, here are some ways to boost your brain.
1. Get creative: Even if you’re not the most artistic person, tapping into your creative side may help lift you out of a rut. Try dancing, writing, or doodling.
2. Get into nature: Just a few minutes outside can help you to become centered and focused. Close your eyes, listen to the birds, dip your hand in a creek, take a deep breath of the fresh air—you won’t regret it.
3. Challenge your wits: Take a class, pick up a hobby, or learn a new language. Take time out every day to read, write, or listen to lectures. Podcasts are excellent sources for new ideas and keep your cognitive juices flowing.
4. Practice mindfulness. Whether you practice mindfulness through eating, walking, listening, or any other activity, you are becoming more self-aware and present. Presence is an important aspect of peace and will help clear out your mental clutter.
An Emotional Lift:
Whether you are spiritual (religious) or not, it is important to nurture your emotional needs. Happiness and peace are measurements of self-awareness and growth. It is through individual development that we become in tune with our whole being.
1. Quiet contemplation. Prayer and meditation have many benefits, including limiting stress and improving positivity.
2. Believe in a higher power. People who are religious or spiritual typically suffer less from depression and other mental health disorders. Worship, fellowship, and other spiritual activities can center people and put them at peace during life’s more difficult times.
3. Practice positivity. Look at the bright side of negative situations. Be thankful. Always look for the good in other people and events that happen. When you start to practice positivity, you will become a more constructive person and capable of self-fulfillment.
- Melissa Lavery, M.S.
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University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, August 20). Spirituality correlates to better mental health regardless of religion, say researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820132332.htm