Maybe it's because fall is my favorite season of the year. Maybe it's because I'm not nearly as OCD as 60 percent of my social circle. Maybe it's because, for the past few years, I've been learning more and more about how to live like a minimalist. Whatever the underlying reason is, I have to admit I'm not a huge spring cleaner.
I mean, have you ever seen how true spring cleaners get down? The list of duties is absolutely bananas (I've got an example of one right here)! But since the past 12-16 months of my life have been totally devoted to self-work, this year, I decided to do some spring cleaning...with a twist.
I decided to focus on purging and purifying my temple—mind, body and spirit.
And you know what? I must admit that once I put together a list of what that kind of temple spring cleaning actually looks like, I got SUPER EXCITED! I'll be real. The fact that you are reading this in April, that just goes to show that I'm still dragging my feet a bit in the timing department. But since the first day of summer doesn't start until June 21, all of us laggers still have plenty of time to do the kind of holistic spring cleaning I'm referring to.
Simply set aside a weekend between now and the first of June to focus on getting the following 10 things in order. Then watch how much all of the on-time-spring-cleaners in your life will envy you for doing it.
1. (Re)Organize Your Relationships
Something that I like about the old school Jewish temples is there was an outer court, inner court and most holy place. Based on the kind of relationship/position one had with the Most High, that determined what room they could enter into.
I'll tell you what, I'm not God but I am His daughter and it has been a totally life-altering experience to adapt this methodology to my own relationships. The outer court of my life are my acquaintances and work associates. The inner court are my friends. That most holy spot? Right now, it's my confidants (whenever a husband comes along, that space will be all his).
Since I've put various people into their proper place and perspective, there have been a lot less disappointments and drama because, rather than loop everyone in together, I share my heart, time and resources based on "where" someone is in my life.
(By the way, as you evolve, sometimes those relationships may change; hence, the need to reorganize them from time to time).
2. (Re)Prioritize Your Time
Something we can never get back is time. EVER. Since we only get 24 hours in a day and, if we are taking proper care of ourselves, 6-8 of those hours are spent sleeping, it is important to think about what you're doing with the rest of the moments that you have.
Me? Once I got into the swing of organizing my relationships, the natural progression was to re-prioritize my time. How much time did I need to devote to my writing? How much time did I need to spend on emails and phone calls? How much time did I need to put towards processing my writing, emails and phone calls? What could I say truly deserved 20 minutes that I won't ever get back vs. what shouldn't even capture five minutes of time?
None of us are getting any younger and time is one of the most valuable resources that we have.
Spring clean your mind, body and soul by determining who and what are worthy of your time and, who and what simply aren't.
3. Go on a Detox
This one right here kinda runs the gamut. It could be about only eating fresh fruits, veggies and water for a couple of weeks in order to get your system back on track. Maybe it's abstaining from sugar for a month (for the record, it isn't easy, but it will totally change your life if you do). Or, it could be something like going on a social media fast, focusing on breaking a bad habit or committing to a week of absolutely no negativity.
The objective here is to remove toxins from your life whether that's a person, place, thing or idea. Focus on what is causing you to not feel your best—mind, body or spirit—and spend some time away from it. Then watch how much clarity you'll have about what you should (or shouldn't) do next as a direct result.
4. Clean Your House. And Desk. And Car.
I already shared that I don't go ham on spring cleaning. That doesn't mean that I don't get that my baseboards couldn't use some extra attention and that my ceiling fan shouldn't get dusted. Noted. But really, what a lot of us could probably stand to do is clean out our closets, office desk and whew—our car!
Kudos to all the sistahs out there who get theirs detailed every week. I'm impressed. But for those of us who know that our trunk or backseat is treated more like a glorified purse or storage space, now is as good a time as any to clean all of that junk out. You'll feel better and your stuff will look better once you do.
5. Unfollow and Unsubscribe
Sometimes, we forget that even our email accounts have a limit on how much content it can hold. That said, one day, out of curiosity, I went to see how much storage I had left in my Gmail account. What tripped me out was 1) I had used up around half and 2) most of what was taking up space was promotional emails, Facebook notifications (I haven't been on FB in like eight years) and messages from people I haven't talked to in my 40s (like…at all).
It took me about a week, but I made the decision to get some of my storage back by unsubscribing from dozens of newsletters and deleting emails (and email contacts) of people I don't communicate with anymore. When I tell you that it was re-fresh-ing? Words cannot express!
Sometimes we're carrying around extra stuff that we don't even realize is causing clutter in our lives and taking up space that could be used for something far better. When you get a chance, check out your own email and social media accounts. What needs to be deleted? Who needs to be unfollowed or even blocked? What are you waiting on?
6. Forgive. And Apologize.
There's a French author by the name of François de La Rochefoucauld who once said, "One forgives to the degree that one loves." I think that statement is dope because it's a reminder that you can't love without forgiveness and not only is it important to forgive others, it's also imperative that we learn to forgive ourselves; that we stop rehearsing mistakes—or conscious bad choices—that we made so that we can put that energy towards being wiser, safer and healthier.
Sometimes we don't realize that our bitterness, lack of trust and even fatigue are directly connected to someone we haven't forgiven, even if it is the person in the mirror. There's no time like the present to get that kind of monkey off of our backs.
Speaking of getting free, on the other side of forgiveness, there is sometimes the need to apologize. Not a pride-filled and flippant "my bad". Not a deflection or justification. If you know that you wronged someone or simply hurt their feelings, spring clean your conscience by making a heartfelt apology. Sometimes this simple step can be a miracle worker for your relationship with other people.
7. Release Your BaggageGiphy
There are planes that have crashed simply because there was too much baggage on them. That's such a blaring mental visual for me because it's a reminder that I can be in the process of thriving and soaring in my world, but still end up wrecking something in my life simply because I'm not willing to let some of my past baggage go.
What are some signs that you've probably got some baggage that you need to release? Distrust. Paranoia in new relationships. Emotional instability. Unresolved anger. Being a self-sabotager. Keeping up walls. Being super clingy. Not trying new things or taking risks. Fear.
Life has so much in store for all of us. But we're not gonna get all that's coming to us if baggage is all in the way. If you don't do anything else on this list, make sure to clear your baggage out. Please.
8. Put Yourself on Your ScheduleGiphy
If you've read a couple of my articles on here, you know that I am big on word definitions. When it comes to the word "schedule", let it sink in what it means: "a plan of procedure, usually written, for a proposed objective, especially with reference to the sequence of and time allotted for each item or operation necessary to its completion".
Wow. Having a schedule isn't just about making time to do something; it's also about allotting enough time to do something unto completion. Completing something is about doing something fully, thoroughly and entirely.
You know what this means, right? When you're putting your daily to-do list together, there are only so many things that you can do COMPLETELY. Be honest with yourself about what those things are and also make sure that you are somewhere on the list.
Schedule in a bubble bath and bathe fully.
Schedule in some quiet time and do it thoroughly.
Schedule in a way to celebrate yourself and do it entirely.
If you're not completing what's on your schedule, you're not scheduling it right. Yourself included.
9. Commit to Praying and Meditating More
I've got a friend who says that he doesn't get on his knees to pray. According to him, he and God instant messenger one another all day long. Personally, I like that perspective and, in many ways, I can totally relate. Prayer is a form of communication. Different people communicate lots of different ways—even with the Lord.
What I will say is no matter how you and God commune, it's a good idea to do it. There is even scientific evidence to support that one of the benefits of having a consistent prayer life is that it increases our self-control (who doesn't need that?!).
For me, prayer is a form of surrender. It's a reminder that I don't have all of the answers—and I'm not supposed to. Just knowing this, automatically makes life a lot less stressful or complex.
Don't just pray, though. Meditate too. When it comes to meditation, how often do you get out of your bed, sit on the floor and deep breathe, in complete silence, for no less than 10 minutes? If you don't do this, I promise that you should. The practice of meditation does everything from relieving stress and balancing emotions to enhancing self-awareness and helping us to fight addictions. There are some studies that indicate meditation even makes us kinder people.
As far as meditation practices over this way, I'll admit that it's a lot easier to respond to a bill, crazy phone call or some sort of unexpected and unpleasant news when I'm calm and centered. Meditation plays a direct role in getting me into that head and heart space.
10. Buy Less. Give More.
Did you know that most people in the world only wear 50 percent of their clothes? Not only that but (surprise, surprise) Americans (and Belgians) waste the most of their wardrobe? It really is kind of insane that we spend hours at work making money to buy tons of clothes (and shoes) that we'll barely even wear. That said, interior designers and stylists say that whatever we don't wear within a year's time should be thrown away, given away or donated. Springtime is a great time to do that.
Something that I've made a practice to do is guesstimate how much money I spent on the clothes that I got rid of. Then I make a promise to myself to not purchase anything new (in that category) until I have saved up that same amount. Talk about a price tag reality check. SMH.
Shopping less leaves you with more time and resources. How about giving more? Pay for a married couple you know to go on a date. Gift a single mom with a spa day. Treat someone in need with something they truly want. Research reveals that giving to others boosts our self-esteem, reduces depression and can even increase our longevity.
Not only that but giving puts us in good favor with karma. When you plant in other people's lives, you'll be amazed what sprouts up in your own—just in time for spring!
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Featured image by Getty Images
Originally published on April 20, 2019