Now that spring is here, it’s time to clean up. Here’s the five best places to start.
Winter is finally over. The cold is slowly becoming a distant memory. It’s time to break out the floral patterns and pastels, because spring is in the air.
Spring is often seen as a new beginning; a time to make a fresh start as you peel away the winter layers, both physically and metaphorically. When we let go of the things that no longer serve us in the present moment—whether it’s your bulky winter coat or a toxic friendship—we make room for new opportunities, new experiences, and new growth.
Here are five ways you can begin spring cleaning your life today:
1. CLEAN YOUR SPACE
When your desk, room, apartment, or house is dirty, it’s hard to focus on anything else, so cleaning your space is essential to clearing space in your life. If you are not naturally a clean freak, try this: Make it a goal to clean one “zone” per week. Start with something small like your desk, then move on to your kitchen, living room, bedroom, and then the big finale: your closet.
Throw away knick-knacks, old papers, and take-out menus you haven’t used in ages; pack bags of clothes to give to Goodwill; and sell those things you haven’t used in six months. For important documents, create a filing system—using a binder, folder, or box—where you keep all of your important stuff.
When it comes to your closet, realistically ask yourself what you wear and what you don’t. Separate your closet items into winter and summer wardrobes—then, store away the wardrobe not in season.
Once you have cleaned your space, take note of what you have accomplished. How do you feel? Write it down and put it somewhere you’ll see it (inside your closet perhaps) to remember how great you feel with less.
2. CLEAN YOUR BODY
Your body is a temple. Treat it as such. How you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally is a direct result of what you put into and how you treat this vessel through which you inhabit the earth.
Many think that the key to health is just exercise. Wrong. Exercise is necessary, but the single most important factor of good health (and a healthy waistline) is the food you eat. As you work to spring clean your life, make an effort to clean your body, too. Stop eating processed food. Prep clean meals for the week ahead of time. And, when you do eat out, ensure that half of your plate is vegetables.
It’s also important to move every day, even if you aren’t big on exercise. Moving your body cleanses and circulates fresh blood all over the body. If you are the gung-ho type and already exercise 6-7 days per week, work on taking an extra rest day. Taking time to rest is just as important as working out, so your muscles have an opportunity to recover. This also prevents extra stress on the body, which can cause injury or a weakened immune system.
3. CLEAN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
At one point or another, we have all been in a relationship that we know deep down is not healthy for us. Whether it’s a friendship, a romantic relationship, or the relationship we have with ourselves, it’s not uncommon to find yourself nurturing relationships that bring more harm than good.
If you have a toxic friend, now is the time to begin distancing yourself. Sit down and have a conversation with them; be honest about the situation. Let them know how you feel and why you will be pulling away. (This might give them a chance to look at their own behavior and “spring clean” their life as well.)
An unhealthy romantic relationship takes a toll on all areas of our life. No more excuses. End it and take care of yourself the way you deserve to be treated. This is no easy task, but ask yourself what it is that will ultimately make you happy? Do you need time and space to learn more about yourself? Time to focus on your own goals and needs? Time to learn to love yourself before needing someone else to love you? We are all worthy of unconditional love.
Often, we are our own biggest critics. It’s that voice in your head saying “you’re not good enough”, “you’re not pretty enough”, or “you’re not smart enough” that we tend to listen to the most. Spring-cleaning your life is your opportunity to throw those messages into the trash. Work on cultivating new mantras to repeat to yourself, such as: “I am able”, “I am strong”, “I am kind”. These affirmations will bring your focus back to your inner strength, ability, and light.
4. CLEAN YOUR JOB
Are you pursuing your passion at a job you love? Spring is the perfect opportunity to reassess your career and make sure you’re putting in time for work you love. If not, you have a few options in your search for something new. Start looking for what else may be out there. Do some research, attend some events, and begin reaching out through your network to get connected.
If leaving your job is not an option, find a way to do what you love outside of work. Start a side hustle, volunteer, or schedule a weekly meeting with yourself to work on a passion project or do something completely unrelated to work. This will also give you an opportunity to explore new interests and learn more about yourself.
5. CLEAN YOUR MIND
Every once in awhile, take time to slow down and reassess how you feel about your life as a whole—where are you now and where do you want to be? If possible, set aside one day a week to practice being present. What does this mean? Turn of your phone, your computer, and your TV. Maybe start meditating once a week or if you’re ambitious, once a day.
Write down three things you are grateful for in the morning, and refer back to them when your mind wanders to your to-do list. Try to let go of anything you have planned for the future or anything that’s happened in the past. At the end of the day, take note of how you feel, and set new goals to help you practice mindfulness every day of your life.
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If you’re hoping to spring clean your life, you can tackle all five areas or take your time through one area at a time—or only focus on the areas that need spring cleaning!
This Spring, take note of what doesn’t serve you in this season of your life, and clear the clutter. You will feel renewed, happier, and healthier by making room for good to come in.
This post originally appeared on Career Contessa.