This is the time of year to have a good old spring clean. Traditionally the home was aired and cleaned after a long winter of smoke and dust from open fires. These days, with central heating, our homes are in less need of an overhaul.
Although this traditional spring clean is less popular, now is a good opportunity to take stock of some aspects of our lives and spend time de-cluttering and reorganising.
We usually feel more positive and relaxed in a tidy and clean environment, whether it’s our home or our working environment. It makes sense that if we are generally organised and methodical then we feel more calm. If we become untidy and messy in our immediate environment then this can affect our stress levels. Whilst we can function in an unruly environment, part of us knows that we don’t actually like being in a disorganised atmosphere and this can lead to a nagging feeling of low level stress underneath.
If we allow this underlying stress to continue then it can impact on our ability to focus properly and concentrate on the here and now and also just as importantly affect our ability to relax. If we know that we really need to pick up that load of washing, attack that pile of ironing, tidy our workspace or open and file that post then it can quietly bug us until we get on and do it. Making ourselves do the dull chore that we have been putting off will give us much-needed relief.
It’s wise to have a place for things to live so that we can return them after using them. If we cannot find where we’ve put things then we can become stressed whilst looking for them, especially if we’re in a hurry. There is an interesting TED talk about how we can reduce our stress levels by doing exactly this.
When we are ill then we take less care of ourselves because just getting through the day is challenge enough. Once we feel better we have the energy to wash and take more care in our hygiene and appearance.
As well as physical illness this can also apply to how we feel about ourselves emotionally. The more negative we feel about ourself then the less effort we may take in looking after ourself, in a variety of ways. This can include:
- personal hygiene
- eating healthily
- learning new things
Do we feel that we have been neglecting an area of our life? Could we benefit from an emotional spring clean in part of our life?
Here are some suggestions for how we can spring clean ourselves:
- have a new hairstyle or hair colour
- take up a new hobby
- go through our wardrobe and take clothes we haven’t worn for two years to a charity shop
- polish shoes
- prune shrubs
- de-clutter drawers and cupboards we may have been neglecting
- wash and air winter duvets before storing
- de-clutter and sort through the garden shed
- take time to see how we are progressing towards our goals and resolutions for the year
- book a holiday
Any of the above ideas should help us feel more positive, focussed and relaxed.
My next post follows this theme and is on Working Smart.