This year, winter has seemed to go on for an eternity. But finally, finally, the days are starting to get longer, bare trees are beginning to sport green leaves again and I've even spotted the sun once or twice (or maybe I was hallucinating).
I've always thought that the new year should start in spring, rather than the middle of winter. New lives are being born in the animal kingdom, other animals are coming out of hibernation and it feels like the world is starting anew, with fresh leaves on the trees and colourful flowers growing from the earth. It's a time of new beginnings - and we humans should embrace it by following suit.
With that in mind, here are my top seven things to spring clean this year:
1. Spring clean your home.
This is the most obvious one. The beginning of spring is the traditional time to have a clear out of all your old junk and scrub your house from top to bottom. Why not also brighten the place up with some spring flowers such as daffodils and tulips? Or take a tip from my mum: she switches out all her home décor such as cushions, vases and pictures seasonally - so spring sees her swapping the deep reds, greens and purples of winter for lighter greens and yellows when March hits.
2. Spring clean your mind.
Spring is a time for new beginnings so it's the perfect chance to let go of old ideas and beliefs that no longer serve you. This will take a lot of contemplation and introspection (and could take up an entire blog post by itself) but is well worth doing for the sake of your mental health.
3. Spring clean your workout routine.
If you started working out enthusiastically in January but have now lost motivation, spring is the time to start again. Find something you enjoy doing and it won't feel like a chore. And if you've been exercising in a stuffy gym all winter...well, now the weather's improving it's time to take it outside. Go for a run in the park or do some yoga in your back garden - you'll benefit from the fresh air and feel a sense of peace from being in nature. An added benefit is that you'll be topping up your vitamin D levels, which are probably low after winter (more than half of UK adults are deficient).
4. Spring clean your digital life.
You see those 852 unread emails sitting in your inbox? Delete them - you're never going to get around to reading them. And while you're at it, turn off your phone notifications. You don't need to know every time one of your friends updates their Facebook status or likes your tweet; you'll see that next time you log in. Unfollow anyone whose content only brings you down and follow a few inspirational people. You could also try deleting a couple of social media sites (or maybe just their apps on your phone) that waste a lot of your time without adding any value to your life.
5. Spring clean your eating habits.
We all tend to comfort eat during the winter. This is nothing to be ashamed of; it's actually a survival technique (albeit one that we don't need anymore - but it's still ingrained in us). But spring is the time to start eating lighter meals with fewer carbs, less meat and more plant-based dishes to put a spring in your step (pun intended. Sorry). So salads are back on the menu!
6. Spring clean your garden.
I'm no gardener but I'm sure your back yard could do with some TLC right now - maybe things need pruning or there are weeds to be pulled up. Now is also a good time to plant some new flowers and fertilise your lawn. If you have the space, maybe think about creating a vegetable patch and growing your own veg. Or buy a birdhouse with a feeder and watch the different bird varieties as they come to visit you (though maybe not if you have a vegetable patch - they'll be after your cauli). When your garden looks nice, you'll want to spend more time in it.
7. Spring clean your calendar.
Go through your diary and look at everything you've committed to for the next week, month or year. Then identify anything that you don't actually want to do (and can get away with not doing) and cross it out. Learn to say 'no' more so you can devote more time to yourself and your family. Think of some things you've always wanted to do - maybe join a gym, learn a new language or take up knitting - and make room in your calendar for them. And now is the perfect time to start planning a summer getaway!
There are so many more things you could spring clean: your wardrobe, your makeup collection and even your blog, to name a few. What will you be spring cleaning this year?
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