Spring is finally here! This time of year often insights energy … to clean the house, get the yard in order and just be out and about more. What if it was also about cleaning our “internal” house, our bodies, mind and spirit? We often see these three things as separate, but I’m here to remind you that they are intricately connected. When one of these domains is “off” we will feel out of balance in our whole self. This post will offer some ideas on how to utilize the energy of spring to reconnect with our whole selves and get our “internal” house in order.
Let’s start with the body. We have so much research and information at our disposal about how to care for the body. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m an advocate for small steps that lead to big change. Solid nutrition (yes that means really looking at what you put into your body … our “fuel”) and moderate exercise can really impact your overall mood, disposition and quality of life. A recent book that I’ve found to be helpful is, One Simple Change by Winnie Abramson, ND. She takes the reader through simple nutritional steps that can have a really “big” impact and also explains the reasons along the way. So, you can start by setting an intention. Research shows that setting an intention, sharing that intention with someone and scheduling it help to make it become real.
Next, the mind. As a therapist I spend a lot of time with thoughts and feelings … my own and other peoples. So often we are too “busy” to pay attention to our own feelings and our thoughts are often racing. Creating some practices to develop a calmer mind can significantly help. Once again, my advice is going to be to start small. When we try to do too much at one time we can become overwhelmed and give up. So choosing a starting place, which may be taking 5 minutes when you get up in the morning to really sit with yourself as you drink a cup of tea or coffee (I know you all can find 5 minutes!). If this doesn’t sound like a good starting place for you there are a lot of things that can help create a positive outlook such as meditation, breathing techniques, gratitude journals, being in nature, petting an animal, etc. The basic point is to be PRESENT with the moment, stay with your current thoughts and feelings. You’re not doing this wrong if your thoughts drift … just keep bringing them back to the present each time – it’s a practice. Again, set your intention, tell someone and schedule it in!
Finally, the spirit. Some of us are religious and others are not … but I think of the word spirit as our inner grace. To connect to and nurture that inner part of our whole selves. This can be done formally with prayer, service to others or spiritual communities. It can also be done informally by reading books and poetry, writing, looking at art, dancing, smiling. When we take time to cultivate the spirit we are really saying “yes” to ourselves. So what things inspire you, get you connected to living … make you a better human being? Along with all the other domains, choose something small here and set an intention, tell someone about it, and schedule it.
May this spring be bountiful to you and may your spring cleaning bring you lightness, happiness and joy!