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Need An Emotional Spring Cleaning?

by Dr. Kathleen Hall
spring cleaning tips, personal spring cleaning, emotional spring cleaning

Flowers, birds and lovely weather are on the way, but spring also brings on certain types of stress unique to the season. We think of all the coming holidays like our kids’ spring break, Easter, and Passover; all of the spring cleaning tips and related expenses; and allergies are about to kick in full swing, too! It seems like you need money every time you turn around for travel, clothes, gifts, and home repairs.

But don’t worry! All you need to do is a little spring cleaning! You can easily manage this stress. One of the easiest ways to overcome stress in your life is to treat it like a simple spring cleaning task. Use simple tips and small changes to clean out your life the same way you would clean dust and cobwebs out of closets and cupboards.

Spring Cleaning Tips

The acronym S.P.R.I.N.G. is an easy way to remember your personal spring cleaning.

S = Serenity

Rid your mind of pesky cobwebs! The opposite of stress is serenity. When practicing serenity, the body experiences the relaxation response where blood pressure and heart rates drop, and the immune system gets a boost. Meditation eases the pain by reducing the brain’s response to pain. Affirmations reduce stress hormone (cortisol) levels. Listening to music releases a calming chemical (serotonin) into the body. Laughter increases artery diameter by 22 percent (chronic stress reduces it by 35 percent).

P = Pause

Rest for a minute and review your work. Even when you are down and dirty spring cleaning give yourself a little break! Be sure to pause throughout your busy day. You can take a few minutes to text, call or email a loved one. Or you can just sit and be silent and take a few minutes to calm your mind and soothe your nerves.

R = Ritualize

Organize your energy. Establish daily rituals by setting aside time just for you, or time for family togetherness. It’s as simple as eating a meal together (at home or out), taking a bath or reading a book before bedtime–create events to look forward to throughout the week. The simple expectation of a night out or time alone or together creates anticipation and fosters a shared sense of excitement.

I = Intention

Polish your purpose to a high shine. Listen to what ignites your passion, energy, and love. Listen to what drains you, distracts you, and irritates you. These are clues to becoming more aware of what you love and what stresses you. You may not control many of the circumstances in your life, but you can choose your attitude and intentions in response to circumstances. Create the intentional life you desire.

N = Nature

Sweep your worries out the door–literally! Get outside. Take the time to re-connect with nature.  Planting a beautiful garden can be a great way to relieve stress! Whether you have a small patio to decorate or a vast amount of space to tend, the act of making your particular stretch of nature into a haven can be a stress reliever in itself. The garden you create can bring you nourishment and peace. Just being outside, basking in the sunlight (get your vitamin D), and enjoying the beauty of your surroundings will make you feel better.

G = Give

Dust off your working clothes and discover a place to visit monthly to cultivate your altruism, or “helper’s high.” Teach your children the value of helping others and create a family bond. You could help an animal shelter with cages and maintenance once a month, join Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a needy family in your community, or volunteer at a women and children’s shelter where you can cook, play or read to the children.

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