Five Things to Spring Clean in Order to Bring More Energy and Joy into Your Life

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, the spring equinox.  Equinox means “equal night” where in most parts of the world there will be approximately 12 hours of dark and twelve hours of light.  This is the time where I do my happy dance, because I know that in the Northern Hemisphere we have survived yet another cold, dark and here in the PNW, rainy, winter and the days are getting longer.  I can hear birds chirping outside of my window in the morning and the crocuses are out. We can literally and figuratively start shedding layers in order to prepare for the warmer weather.

This is also the first time since 1981 that a full moon coincides with the spring equinox, an event that won’t happen again until 2038.  This phenomenon is going to energize us and prepare us for the next bit of magic in our lives. Now is a great time to let go of some of the things that are no longer serving you so that you have the space and energy in your life to go after those dreams that you have been dormant in the deep and dark spaces of winter.

The trouble is, we hang on to a lot of physical and mental “clutter” that gets in the way of achieving our dreams, or of even hearing our own inner wisdom in order to dream in the first place. Feeling stuck? Do a little spring cleaning in order to create capacity for what truly brings you joy in life. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Clear your thoughts.  There are two things I mean by this; first, clear out the constant chatter in your head by starting a meditation practice.  Meditation isn’t about eliminating thoughts but rather taking time to be still and focus on your breath. Thoughts will come and go, your job is to keep returning to your breath.  If you don’t already have a meditation practice my advice is to start small. We perfectionists tend to go out hard with big goals, fail, and then beat ourselves up about it. Start with minutes once or twice a week.  There are a ton of meditation videos online as well as apps that can get you started.

Also consider releasing any limiting beliefs that aren’t serving you as you move forward into becoming your best, most authentic self.  One that a lot of us get hung up on is “I’m not good enough”. We are constantly hustling for the approval of others, or worse, of an unseen inner critic.  We exhaust ourselves trying to prove to this arbitrary audience that yes, we are in fact good enough. Let me tell you from experience my friends, this belief will only get you more of the same exhaustion.  Now, it took me years of therapy and then some really awesome coaching (more on this later) to even get me to the point of realizing that this was a limiting belief buried deep in my brain. The good news is that you don’t have to believe everything your brain tells you. In fact, your brain is a master at finding evidence for whatever it thinks it believes. I’ll get into this more in depth in future posts.

Clear out your home.  There’s some solid wisdom in the idea of spring cleaning and de-cluttering which is probably why Marie Kondo-ing has become a verb in our culture.  What in your home no longer serves your best life? What do you not want to bring with you into your new and improved life? When you decide on the latter, let me know because I have all sorts of random crap in the basement, ready for a yard sale.  Which brings me to my next point…

Stop buying random crap you don’t need!  Sorry, I was yelling at myself, not you. This is an area of my life that I’m definitely doing some pruning in.  I’m a total tightwad when it comes to large purchases (my husband seems to convince himself every few years that we need a new refrigerator/dishwasher/dryer but in my opinion there are much better uses for that money (like office supplies!)  I have driven the same Honda for the last 13 years and over 200,000 miles, with a dent in the side for 11 of those years because I don’t want to spend the money to get it fixed. However, I will spend all of the money on organizer doodads, books, and random crap at Costco.  We didn’t need a box of 500 file folders? Why not? Don’t even get me started on the multi packs of Sharpies.

Clear out “have-tos” and “shoulds,” activities that don’t light you up or serve your higher purpose.  I’m not saying stop brushing your teeth or paying bills, instead think about reframing activities that don’t bring you joy. Paying bills means that you have the resources to have a roof over your head and clean water to drink, and if you have the money to pay these bills even more of a reason for celebration. Brushing your teeth allows you to stay healthy so that you can spend more time doing what you love rather than going to the dentist. Sometimes it’s a stretch but you get where I’m going. At my highest level of perfectionist-ness I found myself exhausted after a day of work, with my small person in the baby carrier strapped to my chest, washing dishes so my sitter wouldn’t have to deal with them the next day.  I so badly wanted her to think I had it all together that I was double-exhausting (working moms know this is a thing) myself. Until my husband said “the sitter doesn’t care about the dishes.” WHAT?! Of course she…. Oh right, she probably doesn’t. And even if she did, I don’t care if she thinks I’m a crappy human because there are dirty dishes in my sink. There are worse things in the world.

Also determine what you can delegate, complete in a different way, or just stop doing all together.  See my dear friend @badhousecleaner on instagram and facebook for her challenge to reclaim some of your valuable time.  I absolutely hate going to the grocery store. Even with a list in hand I end up getting overwhelmed and buying random crap I don’t need and always seem to forget something I do need.  The extra $5 I pay to have someone else pick out my groceries and bag them so all I have to do is go pick them up at a specified time is Worth. Every. Penny. Concerned about saving money? See #4.

Clear out any outdated dreams/goals/plans that no longer lead you to your most joyful life. Have you always had a goal of running a marathon? Yeah, me too, until I broke my leg two years ago. Now running just hurts, and you know what? I don’t miss it. In fact, I’ve realized that my goal of running a marathon was more about what I thought it would mean about me than from an actual place of joy. I have also let go of my fantasy of having a house that is always ready (read: awesomely clean and clutter free) for friends to drop by. I’ve realized that the time with friends far outweighs my embarrassment about the laundry explosion that just happened in the family room. Or the dog hair on the couch. Not that it’s entirely up to me to keep a clean home, there are two other humans who live here, and they get to set their own cleanliness thresholds and act accordingly.

Do you see yourself doing any of the above? Are there other things you are thinking of letting go of in order to create more space and energy to build your ideal life?  Drop me a note in the comments, I’d love to hear how you are approaching the beginning of Spring!