Globally we are coming out of a pandemic, lockdowns, as well as the emotions attached to those chaotic times. We may also celebrate the return of light after winter, plants sprouting back to life, and the return of spring. Day and night create a harmonic balance. With the return of warmer weather, what better time to seek balance within ourselves?
Let in fresh starts
Where do you want to focus your energy? Creating helpful habits is the best way to produce a lasting change. You don’t need to do everything all at once; in fact, overdoing it invites burnout and fibro flare. The best way to change is by small acts every day.
Spring clean in moderation
Let’s say you want a clean house. Doing a deep clean overhaul of your house in a day might make it better for a few days while you are too sore to enjoy it. In the coming days it will likely return the way it was in the first place due to everyone’s tiny messy habits. Instead of focusing on over the top perfection goals, we need to place our awareness on accumulating smaller tasks over time. A Buddhist mindset is to have one bowl and wash the bowl after you use it. It’s a simple task, while washing a sinkful of dishes is a big to do. Everything in life works this way. You can’t spend 10 hours in the gym one day and become super fit; you will only injure yourself. Doing 15 minutes of something once a day is more helpful than spending hours toiling once in a blue moon.
Warm up and cool down
Just like the equinox balances day and night, light and dark, sun and moon, we too must seek balance. Staying in bed all day is not helpful, but neither is working all day. We need to slow down and reward ourselves by relaxing when we need it. Time to recover is equally important as time spent on tasks. It’s important to take breaks. Instead of being always on or always off, strive to seek a middle ground. When we treat ourselves with due care, we will be better able to move forward in the future in a positive state of body, mind, and spirit.
Hold on to what you love
What do you want to keep? What are you grateful for? What is important to you? Will you prioritize what makes you happy? Consider activities you enjoy that make you feel confident or positive. Look at what gets you energized and alternately relaxed. Take time to be grateful for friends, family, pets, and anyone special in your life.
Air out grievances
There’s a tradition of opening all the windows on nice spring days to freshen your house and let out the old, stale air. What if we did this exercise with our minds and bodies? Imagine clearing out grudges, regrets, and grievances. Imagine the freedom of forgiving yourself for anything you may want to be different in your life, and instead, accept yourself for who you are.
Let go of whatever you are holding onto that is not serving you, your health, your spirit, your mind, and your well-being. The items holding you back can be physical clutter around the house. Anything you haven’t used in the past year is questionable to keep around. Anything that doesn’t have a space or is unusable due to space, may need to be rearranged or donated for a new home. Channel Marie Kondo and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” What’s holding you back can also be old habits, toxic relationships, or patterns that no longer need to be repeated. Now is a wonderful time to let go of anything you do not need, want, or enjoy.
Clear a cluttered mind
Give yourself permission to let go of recurring negative thoughts that are stuck. Sometimes recurring thoughts seem like they may be helpful or motivating a positive change, yet often looping thoughts act as distracting mental clutter. Negative thoughts have the power to clog up space in the same way as unused exercise equipment clogging up the hallway. Notice when good intentions are not helping and instead leave you feeling bad about yourself; treat yourself with kindness and move on. Question if continuing to chew on that same line of thought is creating the growth you want. You can move recurring thoughts of what you’d like to change onto a ‘to do’ list; this moves them out of your head and into a plan for action.
Movement frees stuck feelings
Light, regular exercise is a great way to shift stuck moods. When releasing endorphins, negative feelings melt away. Physical movement creates positive mood shifts and allows you to unblock emotions and stiff points in your body at the same time.
Are you ready to let go of any feelings of resentment, agitation, or disappointment? It’s normal to want to hold onto painful feelings in attempts to punish ourselves into being better; in reality dwelling on misery only creates more of it. Treating ourselves and others with love, understanding, and care is far more effective than punishment or feeling bad about ourselves. Letting go of grudges or insecurities opens up space to focus on compassion for yourself and others.
Build Your Strength
Many of us are carrying grief from unexpected losses that occurred over the past year, and it is weighing us down. It’s alright to feel this way and to mourn expectations that didn’t come to fruition as long as we keep ourselves in check. Continuing to dwell on losses becomes physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. Like the changing seasons, we can spring back to life, and move forward.
Write a list of 5 things you would like to let go of for the spring of 2021 as well as a list of 5 things you want to bring into your life. Keep a copy at the start of your agenda, on a post it, or somewhere where you can see it every day. You can scratch items off when you feel satisfied and no longer need them.