5 ways to spring-clean
It’s a perfect time to clean the body, mind and heart
By Nevine Shazli
It’s that time of the year. Winter is making an exit, and the time for hibernation is over. Yes, it’s a perfect time to clean those windows, but it’s also a perfect time to clean the body, mind and heart. Re-evaluating our relationships and our work can also be part of the cleansing process. The result is a lightness and renewed sense of aliveness.
1 – Detoxify your body
Every year at this time we hear a lot about cleanses. The reason is that it’s a great time to shed toxins and wastes that have accumulated in our cells over the winter season. The energy of nature is shifting, and being that we are part of nature, we too experience energy shifts during this transition. There is a plethora of information online regarding how to cleanse, what to eat, what foods to avoid, what practices to engage in. Juicing, fasting, soup diets and vegan cleanses are all examples of what’s out there. So how do you choose?
If you’re a seasoned “cleanser”, you can try a different style every change of season and see what feels best. If you’re a first-timer, it’s best to do a simple and gentle cleanse that isn’t so drastic that you’ll never want to do it again. The idea is not to starve yourself but to clean your body; to give your liver a break and reboot your normal physiological processes so that you can feel good.
If you’re a first-timer, it’s best to do a simple
and gentle cleanse that isn’t so drastic
that you’ll never want to do it again.
The most basic thing to do is to eliminate (notice I didn’t say “cut down”) the following, for anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks: wheat (and all wheat products), sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol. Of course it is best to avoid anything refined, processed and filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Think fresh, whole, simple. Oh, sounds easy, right?
Well, if you’ve been comfort food eating all winter and are in any way reliant on that morning vat of coffee or that evening glass of wine, you’ll see that it’s not so easy. Make a commitment to do this by planning it on your calendar. Take into consideration social events that revolve around food and drink. There will be plenty of opportunity for nice dinners after you’re cleaned out.
2 – Sift through the attic of your mind
The funny thing with detoxifying the body is that it leads you to notice the weeds that may have taken root at the level of the mind. Now that you don’t have that black magic to give you a boost in the morning or that red elixir to numb the worries and stresses of the day in the evening, you’re left face to face with the crap that you’ve been pushing aside, avoiding or denying.
What are you thinking these days? Are you caught in a repetitive thought pattern that leads you to feel badly about yourself? Do the thoughts that take up most of your attention lead to constructive action or stalling tactics? Is there a sense of depression or anxiety that creeps up when you think about losing the security blanket that food and drink can be? It’s time to face the demons, and kick their asses.
It’s time to face the demons,
and kick their asses.
You’re in charge, and you want to feel good! So tell those winter thoughts that they’re no longer welcome, and stand firm in the decision to pull the weeds from your mind. Noticing your thoughts is the first and most crucial step. Most of us go unaware of what’s going on in there, and paying attention goes a long way. There are many tools that can be used to clean out the mind, including meditation and incantations. An incantation, according to Tony Robbins, is an affirmation that is combined with movement or some form of body energy.
Let’s say you choose an affirmation about wellbeing: “I feel alive, clear, and filled with energy.” Saying this while standing bleary-eyed and droopy at the bathroom sink will get you nowhere. But put your shoes on, get outside for a walk and start saying it to yourself as the fresh air is hitting your lungs and your body is warming up; then you might actually believe it, and the belief is what matters.
3 – Step out of the cage
Did your heart close down for the winter? There is any number of reasons why it might have; the loss of a loved one, an ending to a relationship, a sense of bitterness over dreams unfulfilled…
Are you ready to open and cleanse your emotional self? Is there someone you could forgive, and is that person you? Can you decide to let go of resentment, regret or grievances? Wouldn’t it be nice to feel a softening in the middle of your chest, a relaxing of your ribcage and an opening of your most vulnerable self?
This doesn’t mean leaving yourself wide open to being hurt; it means letting go of the fear that prevents you from living life fully. Sadness, disappointment, and other emotions that cause us to close our hearts are part of the big tapestry of existence. They are nothing to be afraid of. Let yourself feel what it is you need to feel. Hunker down and cry, journal about what happened, write an email to someone (I was going to say letter!), and give yourself the nurturing attention you need.
… it means letting go of the fear
that prevents you from living life fully.
The alternative, keeping your heart closed, is not at all a way of protecting yourself. Rather, it keeps you imprisoned in a cage of your own making. So come on, open the door and let the light in. You deserve some relief!
4 – Recap and review your roles
How’s it going at home? Have you been exhausting yourself trying to keep the house and kids in order? Do you come home to a stressed out partner and have no idea what to do about it? It might be time to spring-clean your home life.
When’s the last time you went on a date, whether you’re married or not? How about sitting down for some uninterrupted adult conversation? Or, what if you were to go away for a weekend, just you, or with your mate?
I know, you’re so busy, and time just flies. But you can’t keep going this way or else your relationship might not survive until next spring. Schedule it, make it a priority, and just do it. It’s time to reconnect, to come back to life individually and together as a couple and as a family.
It’s time to reconnect, to come back
to life individually and together,
as a couple and as a family.
Let’s talk! And how is it going at work? Have the past few months been about coasting and doing the bare minimum just to get that paycheck? Or have you been working so hard you’re about to collapse? Take a spring step back and look; is there anything that needs changing? What could you do to ramp up the motivation and energy for doing your work? Might it be time for a change of jobs or career altogether?
This is a giant step but you can give yourself permission to at least start entertaining the thought, seeing the possibilities. If you’re happy at work and everything is going great, could you take it to the next level and make it great for others? How can you give back and put some spring in someone else’s step?
5 – Ok, now it’s time for those windows.
We all know it feels great to fling those windows open during springtime and get cleaning. All the yuckiness that has accumulated since we were last able to let fresh air into the house gets flushed out and freshness enters our homes.
If you’re feeling up to a de-cluttering challenge this Spring, pick one room or one closet every week and, having planned the time into your schedule, go to town. It’s time to discard what hasn’t been used in months, to clean into the corners and organize the chaos.
It’s time to discard what hasn’t been used
in months, to clean into the corners
and organize the chaos.
Not only does this process cleanse the house, it also acts on the morale. You just feel better when you lighten the load all around. Turn it onto a no-technology family activity on Sundays — throw some music on, get cleaning, and order some pizza when it’s all done. Oh no, wait you can’t. How about some kale and quinoa instead?
Whereas winter is a time for turning in, spring is a time for starting to move outward into the world. However, before you head out there full-force, hitting all the terraces as they open, downing Sangria and doing the food truck run, it’s a good idea to pause and cleanse your life.
Take a look at how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally and at how your life is going at home, at work and in your other relationships. Heaviness is not fun to carry around, and makes for a burdened summer. Do yourself a favour this year and Spring-clean more than just your windows. The time is now!
Image: Ryan McGuire
Nevine Shazli is a graduate of the Robbins-Madanes Training (RMT) program. She uses Strategic Intervention Life Coaching with individuals who need help with relationships, personal growth and development, and general life challenges. She is also a certified ThetaHealer® and uses the ThetaHealing® technique as an integral part of her life coaching services. Nevine graduated from the McGill University School of Physical and Occupational Therapy in 1997 and has since been working as a health care professional in the field of Occupational Therapy. In 2007 she completed a yoga teacher training; she teaches yoga and meditation to small groups. She is also a Reiki Master practitioner.