As winter retreats and the daffodils make an appearance, time for a spring clean. But why not apply it to your whole life, not just the cobwebs and clutter?!
The Spring Equinox is here, which means it’s the perfect time to reboot your life. A time of change, of rebirth and transformation.
It’s time to start preparing for your re-entry into the outside world. Think of it as a spring clean, but rather than just cleaning the house after a winter hibernation, you’re updating and preparing most aspects of your life after a year of staying inside. We’re talking about your wardrobe, your garden, your finances and your health.
Apply a bit of Marie Kondo to your home…
For those that don’t know, Marie Kondo is an ‘organisation mogul’, well-celebrated for her unique approach. The idea is that a tidy and organised home paves the way for a joyful life. Her main piece of advice when tidying is: “…does it spark joy? If not, get rid.”
The KonMari Method™ of tidying is simple. It encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving onto books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy: “Thank them for their service – then let them go.”
Following this method will force you to be realistic about what things you actually love as well as need. Think of it as a fresh beginning. This is the start of your organised lifestyle.
Make sure you have a wardrobe overhaul, too. Be disciplined when going through your clothes. If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re probably not going to wear it again. Don’t hang on to things ‘just in case’.
After you have Marie Kondo-ed your home, why don’t you give it a little makeover? Maybe giving the walls and ceilings a fresh coat of paint will make it feel brighter, particularly as the days get longer and the sunlight sticks around more. It might be fun to rearrange your furniture – particularly if you’ve had the same layout for a while now – to introduce some positive change vibes.
Have a virtual declutter
On top of decluttering your physical space, your virtual space probably needs some TLC, too. Is your phone or laptop slower than it used to be? Are you having to scroll through hundreds of pictures to find the one you’re looking for? Time for a sort out!
Set some time aside specifically to go through your devices – book it into your diary or you will never do it!
Sort your emails into folders – e.g. bills, work, home, social – to make it easier to keep on top of everything. While you’re at it, delete those old emails and marketing messages from brands you don’t even use. And do some unsubscribing.
The same applies for your mobile phone. Delete the apps you don’t use anymore, especially the disused brain-puzzle games that you probably played once at some point last year. Apps can take up valuable storage space on your phone. It’s also a good idea to go through your photos and videos, deleting duplicate images or those blurry photos where you can’t actually see what’s going on. If there are items that you want printed off or moved to your laptop so you can remove them from your phone, plan in time to do this.
After you’ve removed the unnecessary virtual baggage, check if your device needs an update. This will clear any bugs or delays on your phone’s current software, which will bring it back to tip-top condition.
Prepare your garden
This one may seem a little obvious, given that Spring is the time to prepare your garden for lovely new bulbs. However, there is something to be said for the physical and mental benefits of gardening, particularly at such a pivotal ‘fresh start’ time.
On the surface, de-weeding your garden and planting seeds and bulbs means your garden is going to be pretty and full of life. It also provides you with a metaphorical ‘weeding out’ of negativities in your life. Envision that each weed is a negative thought, or something that’s been getting you down. It will be mentally empowering as well as great exercise.
Buy new bulbs, mow the low, freshen any ornaments you have with a jet wash or slick of paint and chuck out any empty fertiliser bottles or old plant pots you’re never going to use.
Finally, stand back and admire your hard work, and reap the benefits!
Sort your finances out
Now is a good time to assess your current financial situation. It’s always a good idea to keep on top of your finances so you can always be aware of what’s going on, and prepared in case of an emergency.
The first step is to create a budget. Write down your incomings, your outgoings, and your disposable income. Then you can plan accordingly how to spend your money and even add to your savings.
Tracking your spending habits is also a good way to stick to a budget. Whether you do this with physical receipts stapled into a notebook, or with one of many financial tracking apps, physically monitoring your outgoings is a good way to stay on top of your finances.
Gather together a list of all subscriptions you currently have open, and ask yourself if you need all of them. Are you paying for a Netflix account that you don’t use? Are you getting magazines delivered every month that you’re leaving in a pile unread? The monthly cost may not seem like a lot, but these bills all add up, and you could be saving yourself a lot of money.
Another thing to consider is your bill contracts. Compare your current deals with others online, and see if you’re getting the best deal for you. Whether this is your electric company, your TV package or your water bill, it’s always worth checking out competitor’s prices.
Finally, keep a money box. We all have loose change in various bags and pockets, or down the side of the sofa. Every time you find a coin, pop it into your money box. Most banks now have a machine where you can put your loose chain in to add that money to your bank account. You’d be surprised at how much you could have in a year!
Take care of your health and focus on yourself
Consider booking an appointment with your doctor for a routine check-up. It seems like such a chore at the time, but would you let your car go over a year with an MOT? Of course not. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and the doctor may even recommend some vitamins or gentle exercises to do to keep you in tip top health.
Speaking of vitamins, are you currently taking any? There are many different vitamins for many different things, so it can seem overwhelming to know where to begin, but the most important ones to know are Vitamin C for your immune system, Calcium for bone strength, and Vitamin D, especially when we’ve currently got a lack of sunlight.
Maybe it’s time to join the gym, or begin a fitness class. While these seem to be orientated around physical health, partaking in regular exercise can do your mental health the world of good. The routine, the socialising and the dopamine boosts will make you feel lighter and happier. To encourage this, why not look into practising mindfulness?
There are many free apps you can download to provide you with guided meditation, which will give you a more positive outlook on life. It can be a 5-minute breathing exercise or a sleep-inducing night-time meditation; either way, these are easy to implement into your everyday life, and you’ll soon notice the benefits.
It’s also a good idea to get into a regular sleep routine, to reduce fatigue and boost productivity. Sleep is one of the most important things our bodies need, and it seems rude to ignore that when they do so much for us!
Importantly, focus on yourself. Book a massage to help relieve the tension cause by stressing about going back into the outside world. Don’t be ashamed, we’re all feeling anxious or some level! If you’re the type of person you gets your confidence from the ‘look good, feel good’ mantra, book in to get your nails done! Why not have a manicure or a pedicure for the ultimate relaxation?
And of course, don’t forget that hair appointment. We’re all currently dealing with ‘lockdown hair’, and who knows how long the queues to the salons are going to be? Book in early for a guaranteed makeover.
Finally, start to plan ahead. Think about what you want out of this year, and what things you want to achieve. Whether you want to go on a weekend staycation, or you fancy running a marathon, now is the time to look into what you want to do, so you can make sure to be prepared.
Make a mini-bucket list for the year. It doesn’t have to include anything extravagant – you could even put that you want to go to a swimming pool! – but it’s a good way to plan some time in for yourself, and create manageable goals that will make you feel amazing.