Spring Cleaning Is Not Just for Your House: 5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life
by Jamie Spannhake
May 11, 2020
Spring has finally arrived! It was spring over a month ago, but here in the northeast, it's only now beginning to actually feel like spring. The sun is shining, the world is budding, and the birds are chirping. We usually think of spring cleaning our house, but we can also spring clean our lives. If you have extra free time on your hands now that the world is on an unprecedented "pause," here's five ways you can spring clean your life so you are ready to go when things start opening up slowly.
1. Get outdoors, or at least bring the outside in. Get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, green grass and budding trees. Time in nature reduces our stress and improves our clarity. Walk to work if you can. Take a lunchtime stroll. Sit outside for some part of your day. Or, if work is keeping you inside more than you’d like, bring the outside in by adding plants to your home office. Plants help oxygenate the air, which makes it easier to breathe. And greenery in the home and office has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
2. Breathe in the fresh air. Deep breathing can relax the mind and body. Take a few moments each day to breathe deeply, especially outdoors. Try a meditative breath practice to cleanse your body and mind: Slow your breath, breathe in deeply, hold for a few seconds, and breathe out completely. Repeat this several times to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your mind and body rest and rejuvenate.
3. Enjoy a little “spring fever.” The world has changed in way we may not like, but nature is changing in ways we can celebrate: becoming colorful again. Staying at home and quarantining away from friends and loved ones can make us feel restless, especially as the warmer weather makes is nice to head outside. Use this time to make changes and take time for things that make you happy. Set aside some time (every day if you can manage it; if not every week) to do something that you enjoy: Go for a walk, sit in the park, or take a nap.
4. Unclutter your space: home, home office, and office. Clutter makes many people feel anxious, negatively affecting our ability to focus and process information. Take some time to clean out and reorganize your home and work spaces. File your papers. Move old files to storage. Shred and dispose of unnecessary paperwork. Organize your stuff. Donate unnecessary items. Even move your furniture around to create a more comfortable and conducive environment.
5. Detox your contacts list. I've been using the time at home to re-assess life, including what (and maybe, who) is causing grief in my life. Are there any activities that steal your joy? Are there any people in your life that take more than their share of your resources — late-night calls, impossible to please, extreme lateness and repeated last-minute cancellations, or constant “fire drills”? Think about what your life would be like without those activities or people. How could you use your resources to improve your life, your attitude and your time? It might be worth it to terminate an activity, responsibility, or relationship in order to better use your resources for other things and people that do not compromise your sanity.
A version of this post first appeared at Attorney at Work.