Ah Spring time! There are flowers in bloom, the weather is starting to warm up, and people emerge from their homes, shedding their winter skin to embrace the freshness of the new season. This is the perfect time of year for new beginnings, taking on new challenges, and leaving behind what no longer serves you.
However, to move into a new season of life, it is essential to clean out the body and mind of whatever might have accumulated over these past few months. In the winter, our bodies tend to hold on to more food, emotions, and feelings, and we are less likely to expend the energy to remove these things in the darkness of the season.
So, with the light comes an invitation to do said cleaning of the body and mind. Here are my suggestions of ways to spring clean your mind and body to get you started.
1. Try a Gentle Detox
It’s true that your body stockpiles the food you eat in the winter to keep you warm. So, you might notice that you’re holding onto some extra weight this time of year.
According to Ayurveda, it is important to detox the body periodically. This does not mean that you need to do some crazy liquid diet for a week. Instead, think about eliminating one thing that is no longer serving your body. It might be caffeine, sugar, or alcohol.
Rather than framing this as a restriction on your body, make an effort to notice how these things effect your body, and think about healthy alternatives that will actually improve energy and overall health. One easy swap you can make is to start the day with a cup of warm water and lemon to detox and jump start your metabolism.
2. Try a Technology Detox
We all know how addicting technology can be. We like to feel connected and often just turn to social media as a break or distraction during our busy day. While this isn't inherently wrong, if you're like me, seeing all these pictures can sometimes make me feel worse about my own life.
I notice feelings of jealousy, resentment, and even a lot of judgement coming up when I scroll through my feed. None of these feelings serve to improve the quality of my life. So, as a part of Spring cleaning, try minimizing the number of times you check your phone throughout the day, or simply remove technology from the bedroom. Instead, use these times to practice mindfulness or read a book.
3. Write It Out
We tend to digest so much more than the food we put in our bodies. We hold on to emotions, fears, experiences, interactions with people, and so much more. All of this tends to accumulate in our bodies, and if we don't process it, it continues to manifest inside us.
Journaling is a great outlet to literally empty out your mind and clean out the old matter that we need to work through. If setting aside time to journal each day seems overwhelming, start small with just a couple sentences before you go to bed about what you want to release that day. See if you can build from there.
4. Release the Hips
Just as the mind holds on to things, so does the body. All of those things that we digest, as discussed in number 1, have a tendency to sit in the hips. It is so powerful to find release in that part of the body to allow those things to shift.
5. Get Rid of It
I am a true believer that the more physical things we hold on to, the more space it takes up in our mind. According to the Yamas (one of the eight limbs of yoga), we must not give in to our tendency to acquire and hoard things. This is called Aparigraha. Yogis say that this tendency expresses a lack of belief in our own ability to provide for ourselves in the future.
With that in mind, I invite you to go through your closets and start to rid yourself of the things you no longer need. Notice the thoughts that enter your head as you contemplate the value of a piece of clothing. You might have thoughts of “what if I need this white shirt one day?” when the reality is that this shirt no longer fits and has sat in the closet for years.
Carefully assess the validity of your thoughts and fears about letting things go. Then notice how cleansing it is to create space in your closet and your mind.
We are all holding on to things that we no longer need. Whether it be an old pair of jeans that no longer fit, a grudge, or a story about how someone made you feel, these things do not define us. Doing a deep clean of our physical, mental, and emotional space helps us to connect to ourselves on a deeper level, free from all the clutter.
Image credit: AlissaYoga