Spring is said to be the time of year for ‘out with the old and in with the new’. Anyone else with me in feeling more than ready for that fresh start and new beginning we were all hoping for at the New Year? We have certainly had a ‘breath of fresh air’ with our weather recently and hopefully you have been able to open up some windows and allow some of that into your living space! Although we are experiencing the Spring weather (and pollen!!) we may still feel as if we have a little way to go to really enjoy the warmth and light that Spring brings. Experiencing the refreshment in the weather is only the external knowledge of this season, but what about our internal understanding of what Spring can represent to us individually? The symbolism of rebirth and new life that is synonymous with the beginning of Spring can help us think about what we can do to renew ourselves and better balance our lives. Take time to assess where you are in your day-to-day routines and mindsets and decide what’s working and what’s not. Once you create this awareness, you can replace the routines and habits that no longer serve you with ones that support a refreshed version of yourself. Let go of old mindsets and make room for new ones that will support positive changes in your life. What better time than Spring to re-group, re-prioritize, and even re-invent ourselves and the lives we find ourselves living?! Here are some Spring “rituals” to help you get started.
Make time and space for yourself. Time and space doesn’t just mean to make time for yourself and the things you love to do. In order to get into a deeper state of self-awareness, you’ll want to set aside time without distractions- detach from the nonstop electronic and social demands on daily life. This means to carve out the time away from your smart phone, social media and steady stream of texts, calls and emails. When you are at the mercy of notifications, it means you are living according to someone else’s agenda. When you detach from these things, YOU are in charge of your time. Along with dedicating the time, find a space where you feel comfortable, motivated, or inspired. The start of Spring is a great time to use the outdoors as that space. Being in nature has the added bonus of allowing you to ground yourself and reconnect with the naturally occurring renewal around you.
Take Inventory. Once you have the time and space for yourself, start to take inventory of where you are in life. Ask yourself: What’s working in my life and what’s not? What could be improved? What do I really want? What may be holding me back from that which I really want? As you go through these questions, consider any roadblocks that are keeping you from being where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself in identifying where those roadblocks are coming from- whether externally or within your own state of mind. Often the things that hold us back are our own fears or doubts, such as: lack of self-worth, confidence or motivation; feeling overwhelmed; fear of failure or commitment to yourself; rejection; asking for help; lack of patience.
De-clutter your space. Our physical living space is traditionally what we begin to focus on with ‘Spring cleaning’. Getting rid of anything you no longer need or haven’t used in the past two years, is a great place to start! More importantly (and much less focused on with ‘Spring cleaning’) is clearing out mental and emotional clutter as well! When we think of spring renewal, we often think of rebirth; something old dies and something new is born. Why not use this season of renewal as a reminder to get rid of things that are weighing you down and draining your energy?
Stay positive. During your progress, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated. Remember not to beat yourself up when this happens. Instead, take a deep breath, relax and give yourself an honest assessment of all the progress you have made and the things that you are grateful for. When you highlight the things you appreciate in life, it allows you to gain perspective and create positive energy.
Take care of your body. It is so important not to overlook the physical dynamic of our holistic being. Any personal endeavor requires a balance between nurturing your mind and engaging your body. How you accomplish the physical activity is not as important as simply making sure to get consistent activity on a daily basis- whether by walking, swimming, running, dancing, or practicing tai chi or yoga.
As you refresh your mindset for Spring, remember that the most important thing you can do is to start your practice! Even if it is just one small step and keep it ‘one day at a time’.
“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.” — Charles Dickens
“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” — Jack Kornfield
Be and remain well,
Deidre McLeod, MS LMHC