SHAKE IT OFF! SPRING CLEAN YOUR LIFESTYLE

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Hello, Spring! We sure did miss you, you beautiful season, you!

There’s just something about Spring, isn’t there? Something in the warming air that blows through those cobwebbed corners of our lives and signals a time for change. A time for something fresh, new and exciting. And also a time for the inevitable hayfever, but that’s a blog for another time.

Do you also get that sudden urge to clean, clear out and declutter when Spring rolls around? Spring cleaning your home or your garage is great - by all means, go for it! But before you whip out the mops, cloths, buckets and brooms, how are the other areas of your life doing? It’s important to also take some time to focus on the things that often get neglected: our minds, our bodies, our work, our social lives, and our families.

You know what we’re talking about…
  • Those health issues that keep popping up
  • Those negative thoughts that always lead you to a bad headspace
  • Those toxic relationships you’ve been meaning to deal with
  • Those unnecessary hours of overtime that are keeping you from your family
  • Those important conversations with your spouse you keep putting off
Yup. Those things.

The things that are taking up too much space in your head, sapping too much of your energy, and stealing too much of your joy.
A few months back we posted a great article on how to nurture healthy habits. Spring cleaning your lifestyle all comes down to making small, positive, bite-sized changes to your life that, over time, will start to have a ripple effect.

If you think it’s time to shake off some of those things weighing you down, keep reading for some helpful tips.
 


5 ways to declutter your mind
 

Most of the things that clutter our lives and keep us up at night start in the mind: negativity, anxiety, stress, traumatic experiences, overwhelm, etc. So it makes sense that we start there.

Here are some ways to help you start prioritising your mental health:
 
  1. Start your day right: Have a positive morning routine and eat a good breakfast, like smoothies, yoghurt with healthy toppings, or slow-cooked overnight oats.
  2. Practice mindfulness: This could mean a number of things, depending on what works for you. Prayer, silence, solitude, meditation, focused breathing exercises, journaling, mindful eating - all of these things help you slow down, hit pause, check in, and reflect. 
  3. Talk to someone: Go to therapy, talk to a trusted friend, be open with your spouse or partner, ask for wisdom or advice from someone who’s walked a similar road. Talking is such a powerful way to release pent-up stress and bring clarity.
  4. Turn off your phone: Delete social and news apps that drain you, switch your phone off at night, don’t feel pressured to respond to messages immediately. Our phones can be a huge contributor to a stressed, cluttered mind.
  5. Set boundaries: Decide what you need to do in order to prioritise your mental health and stick to it, no matter what. You know yourself better than anyone, so take some time to really think about this. Putting up boundaries might mean cutting ties with a toxic person, telling your boss that you won’t be working unnecessary overtime, blocking a contact on your phone, etc.


5 ways to move more

If you’re like most of us, your fitness goals probably got off to a bad start this year. Extended lockdowns didn’t do much to help in that department either. It’s a good thing that each new day gives us a fresh chance to try again - and Spring offers us the added bonus of good weather!

What really matters is moving your body. If you’re a perfectionist and want to go full tilt from the start, you might need to lower your expectations and start small. If you can’t keep up with unrealistic fitness goals, you might get despondent, lose steam and quit altogether.

Tip: Choose a time of day / week that is almost always guaranteed, and work other daily activities into that time to make exercise easier - and fun!

Set yourself up for success with achievable wins:
  1. Plan family adventures: Make weekends your out-and-about days. Walk, hike or cycle somewhere new each weekend to keep things interesting. Plan your routes / locations ahead of time and block out time in your calendar. Pack a bag full of yummy, healthy snacks to keep you going, like trail mix, dried fruit bites and roasted nuts.
  1. Move in the mornings: Do some stretching, yoga, Pilates or a YouTube workout while your morning coffee brews. You’ll feel more awake physically and mentally (with some extra help from the coffee too).
  1. Take the road less travelled: Take the stairs, elevator or escalator. Cycle or walk to and from the shops. Get your coffee to-go and walk with a friend. Have your next team meeting on the go. Park further away from your destination.
  1. Work out and watch series: This is a great way to double up on two very important pastimes. Squats, lunges, stretches and pushups with a few laughs, drama, action or suspense? Sounds like a fun night in!
  1. After supper fun: Instead of crashing in front of the TV after supper, go on an evening walk in your neighbourhood with your family and your fur babies.


5 ways to declutter your work routine
 

  1. Declutter your workspace: A cluttered workspace might be affecting your productivity. If you work better in a mess-free space, try to keep the bare minimum on your desk for minimum distraction.
  1. Set goals for your day: There are only so many hours in a work day and you are only one person. Set a handful of realistic goals and break up your day into chunks. Take breaks regularly.
  1. Plan your week: Start your week by looking ahead in your calendar. Decide what’s realistically achievable and move out appointments if you need to. Make sure you create space to take breaks in between meetings or projects.
  1. Close your email: If you don’t need your work email on your phone, avoid it if you can. Check your emails two or three times a day, respond as necessary, then close your inbox in between. When new emails are out of sight they’re usually out of mind.
  1. Have healthy snacks on hand: Keep the right fuel on hand for healthy snacking during the day and to keep your energy up without those crashes. Trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, etc. are all great options. Keep plenty of water within reach too.


5 hacks to increase your water intake

We all know it’s important to hydrate, but why exactly do we need to drink more water? So many processes in the body need water to stay on track: blood pressure, electrolyte balance, joint lubrication, cell health and body temperature regulation, to name a few.
Here are some simple ways to make water more interesting:
  1. Add some colour: Chopped fresh fruit, cucumber and mint leaves are a great way to add colour and flavour to plain water. Keep a water bottle on your desk or in your bag, and refill as needed.
  2. Add some fizz: If you’re trying to drink fewer soft drinks but still love all those bubbles, add a splash of soda water to your freshly squeezed juices. 
  3. Make some tea: Naturally flavoured fruit teas are a great caffeine-free way to take in water. Enjoy hot or cold as an iced tea with fresh ice cubes and mint.
  4. Make popsicles: Use water as a base for fresh, fruity popsicles. Pop some water, seasonal fruit, even some Chia seeds into a blender, and blitz! Pour into popsicle moulds and store in the freezer as an ice cold treat. Perfect for warm Spring days, and the kids will love them too.
  5. Eat more water: That is, eat foods that are known for their high water content, like:
  • Lettuce: 96% water
  • Celery: 95% water
  • Zucchini: 95% water
  • Cabbage: 92% water
  • Watermelon: 91% water
  • Cantaloupe: 90% water
  • Honeydew melon: 90% water


5 ways to declutter your family’s lifestyle

  1. Say No: Oh, yes. Chances are, your schedule has no breathing room because you can’t say no. One less kids party won’t mean the end of the world. You’re allowed to miss one ladies night and join for the next one. You can push that family gathering out a week or two. 
  2. Have a routine: Knowing what’s happening when, where and with whom is key to a decluttered routine. It reduces stress and last-minute runarounds when everybody knows what’s happening each day.
  3. Schedule family time: Block out time to connect as a family, without TV or screens. The easiest time to do this is around the dinner table, but over weekends you could schedule in fun outings: like a family picnic once a month, or eating out once every two weeks. When family time is a habit, it will become part of your family DNA.
  4. Plan to have fun: Life is busy and hectic most of the time, we know. But fun doesn’t always happen spontaneously. Sometimes you have to plan it. Create space for fun to happen: cook or bake something new together, play board games, have a fondue night, play charades, let your kids play “restaurant” and let them cook for you.
  5. Walk the walk: Kids rarely believe us and take us seriously unless we live out what we tell them. That’s why it’s important to try and model a decluttered lifestyle for your kids. This will take a lot of effort in the beginning but when they see it working well for you, they’ll be more likely to adopt those good habits too. It’s worth doing the work!

Here’s to your decluttered Spring season and a healthier, happier you!
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