I am sitting at the bay window of my Philadelphia apartment, staring outside. The sky is grey. The trees are brown. The ground is white. At least it is for now, but spring is in the air, and with spring, comes transition.
This is true, right? It seems as though the world comes back to life after a long winter. There are buds on the trees, birds in the sky, and people in the parks. It’s exciting, and I for one, invest my energy and emotion levels in the transitioning weather around me.
Which is why I felt a pending sense of doom fall onto my shoulders last Friday morning, when I opened my curtains only to find thick, heavy snowflakes falling from the clouds. Yes, doom.
It was a suitable ending to my fairly stagnant week.
Last week proved to be the slowest week yet for my blog. Now, I could have used this information to re-evaluate and begin my spring transitions, but instead, what was my reaction?
I only posted once. I didn’t do any research or outreach or maintenance to the site at all. I checked my statistics less. I cared less. I smiled less.
So why am I telling you all this? To make you feel guilty for not clicking through my blog everyday. Just kidding. I’m telling you all this because I allowed outside factors that were beyond my control dictate my work ethic, my excitement for my blog, and ultimately, my mood. That’s not fair. Especially, since it could have been avoided by just clearing my mind.
It’s spring time! It’s time for new beginnings and fresh starts.
It’s time to spring clean!
It’s the time of the year we clean out our closets, shake out our rugs, and shave our legs. (Maybe). It’s time to re-evaluate our intentions. It’s time to clear our thoughts.
But how do we spring clean our minds?
Here’s what I do when I realize I need transitional refocusing in my life.
Step 1: Go for a walk.
Start with the basics. If my hierarchy of needs aren’t met, my mind won’t think of anything else. So, dress for the weather to ensure comfort. Bring some water, a snack, and go to the bathroom beforehand. Make sure your physical needs are met so you can focus on your mind.
Step 2: Stay in the moment during your walk.
Bring your cell phone along for emergency purposes only. No phone calls. No texts. No posting filtered pictures of budding flowers on social media. Maybe some quiet background music, but make sure you can still hear yourself think.
Step 3: Breathe
Every so often on your walk take deep purposeful breaths of fresh spring air and let go of that stale winter air.
Step 4: Be observant with all five senses
- Feel the sunshine on your skin. Touch a tree trunk as you walk by.
- Look around. Watch the people, spot animals, notice the sprouting grass, your neighbor’s garden, and the color of the sky.
- Listen to the bustle of the city or the country breeze rustling through branches.
- Smell the crisp air, the neighbor’s barbecue, the new spring blossoms.
- I don’t recommend tasting anything you find along the way. Sorry.
Step 5: Be intentional with your thoughts
I use the Who, What, Where, When, Why, How? method.
- Who am I? Who do I want to be?
- What am I doing? What do I want to be doing?
- Where am I? Where do I want to go?
- When do I want to be doing all this by?
- Why? To all of the above.
- How far have I come? How do I get the rest of the way?
Of course these questions will lead to others. Just make sure you stay positive. Your goal is to inspire yourself.
And that’s it! Go home and feel refreshed. You got some fresh air and exercise. You took in life’s simplicities. You allowed yourself a quiet moment free from daily stresses and obligations in order to focus on yourself.
Happy Spring Cleaning!