For all of you who didn’t seem to fulfill those intentions of re-inventing yourself or improving certain aspects of your life in the new year, consider Spring your second chance. In many ways, Spring is like the beginning of a new year. Things begin to come alive again. There are signs of new beginnings everywhere you look. The air feels fresh, the birds are singing, and there are tiny flecks of green showing in the grass that Winter’s many snows had kept away.
Growing up in Saskatchewan, the first day of spring never meant a whole lot, because we had piles of snow on the ground that stuck around well into April each year. But this year, experiencing the beginning of spring in Toronto, things feel different. Spring is looking like the perfect opportunity for me to get myself out of the rut I’ve been in, and do some spring cleaning in my life. Spring cleaning is supposed to be all about getting rid of clutter, and the things we don’t need or that no longer serve a purpose to us. So here are some things for us to focus on heading into this Spring that will hopefully help us clean our lives of negativity, leading us to a better mindset and more happiness.
Identify the problem areas.
Identify the areas of your life that you aren’t as happy with as you would like to be. What is making you feel like you are in a rut? What would you like to accomplish that you haven’t put enough work into? Where do you know you can do better? Maybe your wish for this year was to try more new things. Or to get fit, or to organize your life, or to become more established in your career. Whatever it is that is triggering feelings of unease or unhappiness, the first step in fixing those feelings is identifying their cause. From here, you can make a plan for how you will help yourself get where you want to be.
Break bad habits.
This can be a journey in itself, depending on how long we’ve had these habits and how serious they are. Common things things such as biting your nails, smoking, or excessively swearing are obviously great habits to try to fix. But in this case, we also want to think about the habits we might not even realize we have, but that contribute to the problems we have just finished identifying. One of my biggest problem areas that is that often feel like I waste so much of my days away, particularly because I allow myself to be more lazy in the mornings than I would like to be. My days are significantly better when I wake up with my alarm, go to the gym, do some cleaning, or do anything productive right away. Yet for some reason, the majority of my mornings I allow myself to hit snooze five times and then spend an hour scrolling through my phone. So a bad habit that I am going to break is to stop checking social media within my first hour of waking. This will get me out of bed faster, and onto being productive and thus, having a more positive day. Not to mention avoiding the negativity that social media can bring to my mind first thing in the morning. Bad habits can be as small as this, but breaking them can help make a real difference in our day.
Balance our negative thoughts.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it can be one of the most difficult things to do. In order to have a happier mind, we must get rid of the negative thoughts that are clouding our positive ones. Unfortunately, we can’t just snap our fingers and have a positive mind. It takes work. The best way to work on this is whenever we catch ourselves having a negative thought, to make a conscious effort to change it into a positive one, or to at least find something related to that thought that is positive. If you find yourself judging someone, try to instead think about something you like about them, or even better, try to think about why you’re judging them, and realize that it might actually be because of something within yourself. When you find yourself thinking about something you hate about your body or your personality, try your best to turn it around and think of something you love about yourself instead. This is not easy, but feeling positive toward ourselves is the first step in allowing ourselves to have the life full of happiness that we all want and deserve.
Having negative thoughts is a natural part of being human, and it is impossible to completely get rid of them. But the most important thing is to not let them deeply affect us, and to instead realize that they have a purpose. We must take those thoughts and figure out how they can be used to harbour something positive in our lives.
Break ties with those who drag us down.
This advice has been given time and time again, but it is truly one of the most important steps in creating a happy life. We all have had that person in our lives at some point, who always seems to leave us feeling heavier and more stressed out than we did before we spent time with them. Maybe they point out your insecurities, maybe they spend all of their time gossiping about other people, leaving you feeling exhausted, or maybe they make you feel discouraged when you talk about your goals and dreams with them. While it’s not always easy to cut people out of our lives, especially when they’ve had a part in it for a long time, we must realize when they are no longer serving a purpose in our life. When we spend our time trying to build ourselves up, the worst thing we can do is allow someone else to come in and wipe all of that away. By spending less time with those who do not contribute something positive to our lives, we will make more room for those who lift us up and make us feel lighter.
Clean out your space.
This is the more traditional aspect of spring cleaning, but it is equally important. Creating an organized, tidy space that we are happy to come home to will help contribute to an all around happier vibe. Go through your cupboards and throw out those old boxes of shitty, stale crackers and all of the other junk that you bought when you were in a “fuck it, we’ll all die someday anyway” phase. Tell yourself that your body deserves to be treated better and that you want to feel better. Go through your closet and get rid of the things that don’t fit you or that you still kinda like but never actually wear. Make room for the things that fit your current style and that make your feel your best. Plus, donating your clothes will make you feel really good 🙂
Putting in the effort to make even the smallest changes is entirely worth it if it creates a little more happiness and internal peace for us. This is a time to think about the things we want most, and the things that we want to be. Spring can be a time of new beginnings. It’s a time where new things are coming to life, so who’s to say that a new-and-improved you can’t also come to life?