Advice · fitness · Life · Uncategorized

How to Spring Clean Your Home, Body and Mind

Our hands turn black at the end of April when the dewberries are ripe for picking. Fresh blooms on the country side give fragrance to the air reminiscent of lush mountains, and I can almost see them rising up around me. When spring comes, nature produces outdoor treasures that make staying inside less tempting than it was during winter.

We hoard a lot of things in the blustery months of winter:  clothes to layer for warmth, food left over from Christmas parties, and all those pounds we gained under the secrecy of baggy sweaters…

When spring comes, it’s time to clean. With so much abundance waiting out the front door, we can finally let go of the comforts we stored up during hibernation. This year, I’m cleaning it all out…even myself.

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If you know me well, you know I like to do things all at one time. That’s why I’ve taken the symbolic act of spring cleaning as an opportunity to purge of excess. Toxins, dust, junk, mind-set, pounds, negativity; let’s just say it ALL needs a good tidying up. Here’s my plan:

JUNK

As important as it is to me to get the house surgically clean, I’ve realized the task will be nearly impossible if I don’t rid myself of unnecessary clutter. The first thing I’m going through is my clothes. After folding 5 loads of laundry the other day, I started to realize that a lot of the clothes I was working so hard to sort I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE. Now tell me, does it make sense to keep stuff you don’t like?

With the mantra “quality, not quantity” in mind, I’ve been picking through my drawers and closets. Deciding what to keep or chunk is based on these questions:

  • Do I feel good about myself when I wear it?
  • Does it fit?
  • If I wore this in public would it show off my best self?
  • Do I have another set just like it?
  • Have I worn it in the last 6 months?

Reducing the size of my wardrobe is not just an act of throwing stuff away, it is an act of simplifying and ridding myself of things that prove to be more of a burden than an asset. AND it means LESS work for me in the future. Less laundry=happy wife.

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This process will more than likely expand beyond the closet and into everything else as well. Books, decor, pillows, burned out candles…some stuff just has to go. What better time than now? Btw you should know that minimalism is trending, so technically you will make yourself feel better AND jive with the times. Your welcome.

HOME

It may be time to move things around. It has been proven that happiness is less dependent on income/material gain, than it is change. Change refreshes everything about life in a home.

Recently, I made a few changes around my kitchen that have turned my feelings around about this house. I live in a cabin with dark corners and missing cabinet doors. A few weeks ago, I would have told you that the exposed insides of my kitchen were embarrassing…until I had a bright idea.

I rejuvenated my kitchen simply by relocating a few things. I have a small collection of class-act casserole dishes (mostly Pioneer Woman). I figured out how to MAXIMIZE the exposed space in my kitchen by putting my pretty dishes on display. Now, the cabinets look like they were meant to be open. The space is more colorful and brighter than ever.

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I also cleared out some counter space for all my cookbooks and a nice lamp. The dark corner behind the refrigerator where I used to hide appliances that didn’t get much use, is now a functional space that adds warmth to the room.

What inspired me to make all these changes? An island. My husband and I spent an evening in the wood shed last week building an island for the kitchen. It turned out better than I expected and transformed the room. How could I let such a beautiful memory be surrounded by glum shadows and tacky cabinets? No ma’am.

It may be time for you to dig around on Pinterest for some easy projects. Don’t be afraid to add some things in the absence of all the stuff you’re getting rid of. It can really make a difference in your home and creative thinking.

BODY 

So, I’ve back-slid a few times in my fitness journey. I’ll admit it! But I’m never afraid to make a fresh start. Every time I come back stronger.

This might scare you, but I promise it is one of the most liberating things you can do for your health. DETOX YOUR KITCHEN. I do this more often than I should, but it always gives me the power back over food.

This week, I’ll be filling up a trash bag with all the junk food I’ve been shamelessly hiding. Shelf by shelf, I’ll determine whether or not the groceries I have on hand are right for my body. Throwing away a half-eaten bag of Doritos can be more empowering than you ever imagined. With every good decision you make during this purge, you take back one more inch of control over your health. This is the first step to a good spring clean of your body. Remove it from the playing field and it can’t hinder you any more.

*If you have an “other” that isn’t ready to make these changes with you, tell them to store their goodies out of sight in their own personal man-caves or offices or wherever they go…*

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The next step is more subjective to the individual. Body chemistry is unique from one person to another like a fingerprint. What works for my weight-loss/detox may not be ideal for you, so I encourage you to explore the things that make your body feel optimal.

For me, it’s a 1,000-1,300 calorie diet with frequent cardio exercises and weight lifting. I detox by cutting out as much unnatural sugar from my diet as possible (using honey instead of creamer for my coffee, or drinking more tea than coffee in the first place). A high priority (for everyone despite chemistry) is water intake. Drink as much as you can. Pee as much as you like. Water washes out the system unlike any product you’ll find at the store AND it’s the key to weight-loss.

My particular detox this spring will also include the aid of Yogi Detox Tea. Does it work? Heck if I know, but if it even helps psychologically I’m not opposed.

Another thing I try to do during a detox is sweat as much as possible. Sweat purges toxins like nicotine out through the skin (in the same way as pissing) and makes you feel better quicker. You can achieve these benefits by either working out (recommended) or sitting in the hottest bath water you can stand with the curtain closed. Both are fantastic.

Speaking of the bath…

MIND

Do you know how I usually kick off a big lifestyle purge? With a thorough spa night. I’m talking about hot bath, mani-pedi (self done cause I’m poor), exfoliation, face masks, moisturizing, shaving (everything), teeth whitening strips, conditioning and brushing my hair…heck sometimes I even CUT my hair.

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Then I put on my comfy, sexy pajamas (cause I feel good and I gotta look cute too) and think about all the reasons why I love myself. Often I can’t think of a very long list, but get slicked up and see if that doesn’t change your self-image.

For me, feeling nurtured and pampered unlocks a gateway to positive mantras. When I start taking care of myself, I get into a mindset of self-love and compassion for myself. I canNOT start a detox without my spa night. Nope. Not gonna happen.

The challenge is continuing that self-love once the detox gets hard, and you’re moody because I NEED ICE CREAM NOW, and the house work gets overwhelming. Fear not. You can do this. Sometimes, I doubt if I can stick to a good plan and a lot of times I fail. I mean, a LOT of times. So, don’t think I’m some guru on a Persian rug giving you the answers to life.

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I want you to know that every day is a process, and “spring cleaning” might mean the start of a long journey for you. It might be the start of change and optimism that will take longer than one season to achieve. I already know that’s where I’m heading, so don’t feel alone. We’re doing it together.

And we’re going to look damn fine while we do it.

 

***Things I forgot to mention:

  • Sleep! A good sleep schedule will improve your brain functioning, vitality and weight loss!
  • Yoga. Can’t believe I didn’t rant on about this. See my last blog The Gospel of Movement for my philosophy
  • FB DETOX. I literally just unfriended about half of my FB “friends.” That in itself can change your life. Quality not quantity remember?
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