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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Cleaning for The Self

The clocks go forward this weekend and that means that spring is within touching distance now. As we prepare to leave the winter months behind and embrace the longer, lighter days many of us may throw open the windows, dust away the cobwebs and get underway with a thorough spring clean. But while we lavish such attention on our homes, do we give ourselves the same treatment? Spring cleaning often involves getting rid of junk, de-cluttering and filling the empty spaces with more productive things. If we apply the same principal to ourselves then we really can learn to live healthier, happier lives in springtime and beyond. So if you are one of the reported 63% of Brits whose new years resolutions have fallen by the wayside, see the arrival of spring – a season synonymous with rebirth, renewal and growth – as the perfect opportunity to improve mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Here are some ways you can do just that.

Throw out your old junk
Whether this is figuratively or metaphorically, getting rid of the things that don't serve you can be a great first step in reclaiming a happier, healthier you. Perhaps you have a bad habit that you'd like to quit (smoking or drinking too much during the week) or maybe you have negative attitudes or past resentments that clogging up your mind and sapping your energy. Maybe your job isn't fulfilling or your relationships have gone stale. Spring is a great time to take stock of your life, analysing the changes that need to be made in order for you to progress and grow.

Eat well
Spring is a fruitful season and the perfect time to exchange stodgy, winter warmers for light, fresh meals that are packed with vitamins and minerals. Fresh superfoods such as berries, spinach and asparagus come into season and there'll be an influx of fresh fish and eggs as the days become longer and lighter. Make the most of these nutritious food types – together they contain a powerful combination of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can transform the way you look and feel, inside and out.

Get outside
After a long winter of being holed up indoors, many of us are itching to get outdoors in the warm spring sunshine and watch the beauty of a brand new season unfold. Outdoor exercise such as jogging or sports is great for your physical health (improving cardiovascular health and muscle strength) but it can also improve your mood. The physical exertion get blood pumping and increases the production of the body's natural feel good hormones – not to mention restoring your depleted levels of vitamin D! Studies show that just having contact with the soil is enough to make you feel calmer and happier due to the absorption of electrons found in the earth.

Renew your routines
As the seasons shift our routines tend to change. Winter lends itself well to early nights and time spent indoors, but as we head into spring it could be time to shake up your routines and try something new. The smallest of changes to our daily lifestyle can motivate us, but since spring is a season of growth, why not stretch yourself by learning a new skill, starting a class, volunteering or beginning a project. Not only will this broaden your mind and enhance your abilities, but it will improve your self confidence and give you the chance to meet new, like minded people. All of these things open up new opportunities. Embrace them and the possibilities they bring with them.

Spring clean your soul
It's very easy for nervous energy to creep into our lives through the stresses and strain of the daily grind. This can manifest itself in many ways and ultimately lead to us becoming unhappy and unhealthy. In keeping with your resolve to shake up your routine, why not try and factor a meditative session into your day in order to nurture your spirit, cleanse your mind and promote feelings of inner tranquility. Yoga, pilates and mindfulness meditation can all help you to achieve this and studies show that 20 minutes of meditation per day can help promote physical and mental wellbeing as well as reducing your chance of heart disease.

Although this article focuses on spring cleaning yourself, cleaning up your personal space in a more literal sense can also benefit your mind. Clutter and mess can overwhelm us, making us feel stressed and out of control so throw those windows open, and get spring cleaning in the more traditional sense. When your home is clean, fresh and devoid of the things you no longer need it will feel like a far calmer place to be.

Guest Post By Helen Tilot


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