Springtime is a period of regeneration for all living things. As perennial plants and trees begin to wake up from a long cold winter, our minds and bodies do the same. In some places, like Benovate’s Minnesota residence, the changing of the seasons is especially apparent. In others, the change may not be as harsh, but regardless of where you are at, the changing of the seasons can have an effect on everyone, internally and externally.
It’s not simply tradition that compels us to indulge in spring cleaning. After a winter of tucking in and hunkering down, it’s natural that our bodies and minds are more than ready to fling open the doors and release everything that no longer serves us. That might mean a Marie Kondo-type of decluttering, or setting aside piles of things for yard sales.
Or it could be about taking care of your relationships. Clearing stagnant air, freshening up interactions, kicking off new habits. MindBodyGreen has some tips for how to let go of anything that doesn’t serve you.
1. Decide what to keep, and what to toss.
It might sound funny, but apply the same principles to your relationships that you do when cleaning out a closet. When you assess a sweater, what goes through your mind? Things like when you last wore it, does it still fit, is it still in good condition? Apply these principles to your circle of acquaintances. Just like clothing, our friendships need reviewing from time to time. Some people stress us out. As we grow and change over time, we’re simply not compatible with everyone we knew from years past. Focus on putting your energy toward friendships and relationships that give you something in return, and let go of others.
2. Use communication to declutter.
Every act of organization has an action tied to it. Even if you spend 5 hours cleaning and organizing your basement, you still need to toss or donate the growing pile of discards in the corner. In the same way, relationships need direct communication to thrive. Ask yourself if there’s anything you’ve been withholding, and do the same with your partner or others in your life to start the season with clarity and honesty.
3. Establish--and retain--boundaries.
What happens when you have more clothes than you have hangers or drawers to contain them? They spill out into your bedroom, into a guest closet, or other parts of the house in which they don’t belong. Our clothes have physical boundaries, and for healthy relationships, we need to instill emotional boundaries as well. This means taking care of yourself while looking after others, and knowing when you’ve had enough. Know when to say no, and not to feel bad about it. We can’t be a good friend to others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.
4. Seek balance.
Look over your shoes. Chances are you have a variety of types: shoes for exercise, slippers for around the house, shoes for work, shoes for formal events, and so on. This balance ensures that we’re prepared to handle whatever comes up. We need to seek that same sort of balance in our relationships. Seek out meaningful relationships alongside more casual friendships, and listen to your gut to know what sort of balance your life needs.
5. Express love and gratitude.
Decluttering while spring cleaning might inspire awe (or annoyance) and gratitude for everything you have. While you can’t quite impart your love for a favorite outfit, you can share it with those relationships with whom you do have a deep love and appreciation. Take time to treasure those around you.
While you can run through these tips relatively quickly, it won’t mean much without maintenance. It’s like taking the time to do spring cleaning, and then immediately dirtying up everything. Continue to do this work throughout this year--assessing relationships, communicating, and so onto ensure harmonious relationships!