By Contributing Writer Faith Watson
Spring cleaning is a popular focus this time of year. Checklists, tips, advice, and shortcuts motivate us (or guilt us) into taking care of our homes with a major spring clean effort.
Or, the more prevalent sunshine exposes a season’s worth of dust and cobwebs in corners and urges us to get things looking nice again.
But what about the other areas of life?
In nature, spring hums and shouts newness, rebirth, refreshing, new life emerging from the cold barrenness of hibernation. Our souls and spirits resonate with that.
The change of seasons stirs something within us.
Winter causes us to bundle up and hide from the cold. We often feel bored and lethargic. Spring calls us to stretch and warm ourselves, to cultivate new growth, to clean off the dust and grime of winter’s doldrums.
“Spring Cleaning” can mean something more than dusting, deep cleaning, and airing out your house. You don’t have to wait until January 1st rolls around again next year to make resolutions.
Take those same spring cleaning ideas and fling open the windows of your soul and spirit to air out and freshen your perspective, to clean up unhealthy habits, and to cultivate space for truth and joy to flourish.
Resolve to make some healthy changes as the season changes from winter to spring. It can be as simple as resolving to do one healthy activity every day in each area of mind, body, and spirit. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Resolve to Renew Your Mind Each Day
We can easily get into a rut in how we think about and react to life. What we sow into our minds we will reap in our lives.
Instead of allowing emotions to dictate thoughts, intentionally set your mind to think differently and approach your day with the perspective that you have the power to choose how you will react to life’s ups and downs.
Making little changes can go a long way, kind of like weeding a garden every day instead of once a week. Try these ideas to spring clean your mind:
- Be kind and thankful
- Seek to smile or say thank you more each day.
- Replace one negative thought or attitude with a positive one
- Instead of, “Ugh…raining again, more mud tracked into the house!” you could say, “I love how the spring rains make everything come alive; even the birds chirp happily in the rain!”)
- Think and speak truth
- What we think and say has power to direct our lives, for good or ill. The things we tell ourselves about ourselves can influence us more than we realize, which is why it is so important to believe and speak the truth about who we are. Feed your mind with what is true and good and right. Identify and stop believing lies that only keep you trapped in fear and inaction.
- Be a lifelong learner
- Learning and growing are not just for students in school! Personal development is valuable for people of all ages, because knowing we don’t know everything keeps us humble and hungry to continuing growing. There are SO many resources for personal development, encouragement, and growth. These are just a few that have influenced and inspired me lately:
Resolve to Engage Your Body in Activity Each Day
Get outside! Whether it’s to walk or jog, ride your bike, do yardwork, prepare your garden, or simply to soak up some Vitamin D, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine (or even the rain!) can do wonders for a body that has been cooped up and cold all winter.
If one of your forgotten New Year’s resolutions was fitness-related, why not start again and join a weekly fitness class or local walking club?
Just as in nature everything thaws and gets flowing again, our blood needs to get pumping and waking our bodies up to new energy and life to live!
Resolve to Refresh Your Spirit Each Day
If you’re like many people, once the weather starts warming up, you feel the itch to get busy and do something, to leave the heavy blanket of winter-blahs behind and happily race into the next season, filling your schedule with all the things you couldn’t do or didn’t feel like doing throughout the winter months.
But in this transition, remember to nourish your spirit with things that will make you come alive from the inside out.
Take time to stop and breathe, to enjoy the budding trees, to watch the crocus or daffodil or tulip shoots break through the soil, to spy the first robin returned from its warmer winter home, to smell the intoxicating aroma of good ol’ spring mud mingled with the sweet smell of just-opened flowers, to hear the pattering of spring rain and the gleeful reply of the saturated earth bursting with the hope of spring and new life.
Taking time to just be present in the moment can be just what a tired spirit needs most.
Going Beyond New Year’s Resolutions
What I love about the New Year is that it is a reminder to stop and evaluate. It’s an opportunity to look back at the end of something and look forward at the beginning of something, to adjust my focus and trajectory and set my course in a better direction, to change.
Yet in life, we have this same reminder in so many places if we take advantage of it.
Each new season, the beginning of a new month, and every single day can provide a new start, a fresh perspective, a clean slate, a chance to make healthy changes in life.
Each of us are in various seasons of life, with so many different things and people vying for our time and attention.
We race through our lives creating to-do lists and filling our schedules with so many things, yes some of them good, but many of them simply time-fillers or life-draining activities.
We are dragged through busy seasons of life trying to keep up with some illusive dream of success or fulfillment that someone else has created for us. We muddle through dry, monotonous seasons waiting for something exciting or new to just happen. We struggle through painful, dark seasons wondering if life will ever be even somewhat pleasant again.
We all long for something in life to change, to make our days better or easier or happier. But, it’s so easy to miss it…the answer is you!
Resolve to change YOU each day!
None of us has the power to predict or control what is going to happen each day, but we do have the power over how we respond to what happens.
We all have the same number of hours in a day, the same opportunity to make each day something life-giving, not just for ourselves, but to others as well. What will you make of your day?
This spring, may we pause and reflect on the trajectory of our lives, and may we resolve to see ourselves as not just an autumn leaf that is brittle, dry, and blown wherever the wind takes it, but as the new shoot of a beautiful flower, strong enough to survive the bitterness of winter, break through the hardened dirt of spring, and bring beauty and sweetness to any whose path comes our way.