There is something about the melting snow, the gentle rains, the warm sunshine, and the blooming daffodils that makes the heart soar. It is SPRING! The time when we wash away the dust from the windows, and sharpen up the lawn mower blade. Children start to go from snow clothes to shorts, and mud becomes a common enemy on your pets paws.
Spring has always been my second favorite season. It would probably be my first due to the greening of the grass (because green is my favorite color) if it weren’t for the awful conditions of the golf courses; but I shall save that discussion for another day. This article is about spring, and finding ways to lighten your soul.
Just as a mother prepares a home before a new child arrives, in a phenomenon called “nesting” during the spring we clean and prepare for a new stage of life. This cleaning can result from boredom, a desire to get out of the house, or to make something better. Even the anticipation of the coming summer can make spring cleaning enjoyable and purposeful!
With this in mind, I would like to have us all consider the spring cleaning that we might use on ourselves, to tidy our minds, refresh our spirits and even cleanse the soul.
The first method of cleansing is the use of water. Just like the saying that “April showers bring May flowers,” the hydration that our earth gets is just as vital to us. Our bodies are 70% water! We need water to survive, second only to oxygen. According to Mindbodygreen, “water is one of the most vital elements of life, yet it is probably the one thing that many of us take for granted. Many of us are dehydrated; not only do we not drink enough of this miracle elixir, we mindlessly shower in it, curse it when it falls from the sky and run from it when it tries to weep from our bodies. The humble drop of water enables us to see vibrant rainbow colors reflecting in the sunlight, it gives shape and form to everything, it builds mountains and cliffs, it floods our bodies with nourishment, and it helps to release the pain within our body through the tears we cry.”
- Drink 2 liters of water daily. Hydrate your body. Cleanse your blood. Relieve stress on your kidneys. Improve your skin. Give yourself the feeling of being satiated. Water will be your best friend before you know it! If you want to see more water tips, click the mindbodygreen.com link at the end of the article.
However redundant it might appear to have oxygen on the list of spring cleaning for the soul, consider this: Where are you getting your source? Step away from the office cubicle and step out into nature. Go for a walk in the evening. Hike a trail. Check out the nearest scenic view. You may be surprised at the freshness of the air. The more greenery around, the more smells you will enjoy. Get away from the smog and the inversion. Pollution is not your friend, even if it is a familiar sight. Consider taking steps to improve your lung capacity! Now would be a great time to put down that pack of cigarettes. Step away from the e-Cigarette and vaping. Energize your body by breathing in deep diaphragmatic breaths. You will see your brain capacity increase, as well as your lung capacity!
2. One Minute Breath: This exercise soothes fear and is said to help cognition. 20 seconds to inhale, 20 seconds to hold breath, 20 seconds to exhale. To start, inhale slowly, filling the lower abdomen, stomach area, lungs and then finally, the chest. Hold the breath in for 20 seconds and then slowly exhale for 20 seconds. Work your way up to 20-20-20; perhaps start with 10 seconds to inhale, 10 seconds to hold, 10 seconds to exhale (or five seconds is great too!). Continue for a minimum of three minutes. If you want to see more on breathing, check the link to yogatoday.com.
Exercise is one of the best ways to cleanse the soul, because your options are ALMOST unlimited. From swimming to horseback riding, from cycling to gardening; there is an exercise for everyone! It seems today that everyone is a trainer and/or critic, but for this article I have chosen to focus on just one exercise which all women (and men) need. The Kegal. This particular exercise will strengthen your pelvic floor,which supports the bladder. This exercise will help stave off those embarrassing moments when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or even catch a fly ball after the age of 30 (yes, it truy happened)! This exercise won’t make you look better, but add it to your aerobics and strength training! Your ego can thank me later.
3. To do Kegel exercises correctly, squeeze the muscles you would use to prevent yourself from passing urine or gas. Hold the contraction for two or three seconds, then release. Make sure to completely relax your pelvic floor muscles after the contraction. Repeat 10 times. Try to do four to five sets a day. Seriously, the best time to practice these is while you’re stopped at a red light. When it turns green, your done!
We can’t forget while spring cleaning that we need to boost our minds! Consider adding music to your list. Update your playlist. Find a new and fun station on the radio. Turn on the music as you do the laundry. Sway the hips as you vacuum the floor. Now not only do you have more fun, but your job goes faster and you are increasing your exercise!
For many, spirituality is found in nature; for others it is found in reading from good books. Many find an increased spirituality in attending religious services while others find an increase in their spiritual growth by serving others. Whatever your case may be, the fourth spring cleaning area for your soul is to review what you do to be a spiritual person. This is an era where we tend to look inward, but not in a necessarily positive manner. Focus not just on the “me” but on the “we.”
4. Bless: in an article found in conscious lifestyle magazine, they point out the importance of taking a moment to bless what we consume. Consider the number of people and the amount of energy it took to bring you whatever it is you are about to eat or drink. When we bless our food and drink, we are expressing gratitude for all of the labor those individuals exerted to create the sustenance we are about to enjoy. Blessing also directs positive, uplifting energy toward it. By regarding our food and drink not simply as something to consume, but as a gift, we consciously create feelings of gratitude. See the link below for more areas you may want to consider.
The last area for spring cleaning your soul is to realize just what an amazing creature you are. The person you see in the mirror is completely unique. There is no one else like you on all the face of the earth! You have so much potential, and so much power. As you look to start anew, perhaps the most important step that you can have a direct hand in is this:
We often get bogged down with self-depredation. We can look at our shortcomings with loathing or down right pitty. Trials become stopping points. We literally damn our progress in life, just like a beaver does to a stream. This year, right now, as you begin the process of lightening your load, and spring cleaning your soul don’t forget this:
5. MIRROR: Look in the mirror and recognize that what you see is just a glimpse of who you are, and what you can become. Smile at yourself. Look at the laugh lines, the wrinkles, the freckles, the gray hairs, the balding areas! Then close your eyes. Look away from the mirror. Feel your heartbeat. Feel your lungs take in air. Think your positive thoughts, put on your walking shoes, and go out into the world and make a difference to someone else.
These five simple steps might be just what you need to spring clean the cobwebs from your life! Sharpen the blade of your mind and soul, and see how beautiful your life really is. Much like the earth after a soft rain or a lawn after being freshly mowed, we too can look forward to a new year with a “Spring” in our step. Love yourself. Care for yourself. And finally, appreciate yourself for the miracle that you are.
Author: Katie Stevens