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Spring Cleaning (with very little of the “cleaning” involved): 12 Steps to a Lovely Spring

Holy cow! What a crazy time of year…weather here in Colorado has rolled in like a pride of lions and in spite of Puxatuny Phil’s forecast that we would have an early spring, we here in Colorado are facing a “cyclone bomb” of a blizzard! We have officially sprung forward (oh, how I do not like changing my clocks!), baseball spring training is in full force as opening season is right around the corner, and the NFL has officially began its 2019 season! (Happy New Year all my fellow football peeps.)

It is also officially “spring” in the Chinese calendar…as my acupuncturist pointed out to me during our recent session. Unlike the “winter” season, where she encouraged me to restore and rebuild my energy, now is the time where I can begin to tap into these bubbling font of energy inside me. So, I decided to capture all the things I typically do during this time to make my spring amazing! And, there is very little cleaning involved.

4 Things for the Home

  1. Now is the time of year where I call up various plants from my minor league teams to see who can make it in the bigs…or the show, as we like to call it around here. I am a hard plant manager…aka, I lack a green thumb…and unlike baseball, there are some tears involved in this, every year I attempt to bring some green into my home.IMG_20190312_184658_821
  2. Open up the windows! If you are in a place where the cyclone bomb is not about to explode and dump a foot of snow, take down those curtains and clean them and allow nature to help clear the air. I like to clean my curtains with minimal chemical contact…here is a great way to do that!
  3. Essential oils are a great way to help purify the air in your home, especially if opening the windows is not an option and you suffer from my brown thumb and your home is where plants go to die. My favorite springtime diffuser recipe is a 3:2:1 combo of essential oils: Lavender : Citrus : Rosemary. Diffusers and humidifiers also help to introduce moisture into your air, especially if you live in a drier climate, like Colorado. We may get a lot of snow, but we are still in the high dessert.
  4. Towel purge and washing practice is another easy way to keep things looking as nice as possible (ie, the guest bathroom). Once a season, I go through my towels to check for fraying, holes, stains, and build up residue from various oils. Yes, even despite my best efforts to avoid fabric softeners and other chemicals, towels still soak up oils…from our skin, soaps, wiping counter tops, etc. In lieu of a chemical based fabric softener, I use white vinegar as my rinse and lambs wool balls as my dryer sheets. Towels that are not relegated to the dirty jobs pile, if still serviceable, go to the donate pile. I also use white towels in my home…they look nice and I know as soon as they are stained. The vinegar also helps me to sanitize my washing machine every time I use it! You can read more about why vinegar is a great alternative to harsh chemicals and how to incorporate it into your cleaning routine at my two favorite cleaning and organizing blogs, A Bowl Full of Lemons and Cleaning Mama.

4 Things for Your Body

  1. Add bitter greens, like dandelion leaves, arugula, spinach, spring mixes to help you support your liver and the gallbladder in their role to detox your system. It may not seem like a tasty green, but dandelion is delightful! It has a bitterness and a slight sweetness that when combined with a little oil and apple cider vinegar, really pops! We allow our greens to macerate in the vinaigrette (you can make a simple one with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper) along with thinly sliced shallots. Just before serving, add sliced boiled egg and toss. Delicious! Not into those greens? You can always pick up some dandelion weed tea (or blend) and add a slice of lemon. Lemon is also great for helping the body to detox.
  2. Drink your water! You maybe venturing out into the world to plant your garden, are heading out to spring baseball games or soccer games, or adding more outdoor physical activity due to nice weather where you may wind up sweating more. Aim to consume half your weight in ounces everyday (and coffee, tea, soda, and wine, sadly, do not count!)
  3. Take some time just for you. Springtime is a busy bee kind of time for all of us, not just the bees! This is a time for regrowth for all of us, not just those around us. Take some time every day for only you. Perhaps it is a simple, quiet moment having some tea or reading some poetry or walking through your local forest or maybe it is trying out a yoga class at a local studio…allow yourself some time for only you, where you set aside the worries or to do lists you certainly have and focus on your needs. It maybe enjoying a favorite food, glass of wine, or even a mini-facial (I like the ones that make you look like Jason from the Friday the 13th movies…eek!) Or, you could spend a day trying a juice cleanse! There are all kinds of websites, books, and local juice shops that can provide you a day full of healthy veggies and fruits. Can’t make it a full day with just a juice cleanse? Go for most of the day and then enjoy a lovely springtime salad full of veggies or fruit (no dairy, meat, or grains…just the colorful stuff!) It will give your internal organs a much needed break from the busyness of day to day life where we eat on the go, eat from a box of food warmed up in a microwave, and certainly all the yummy wines and cheeses you enjoy. It is always important to give your body a break.

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    I love “hanging out.” It is great for my spine and perspective! Yoga wall is one of the things that helps me deal with a busted spine.
  4. Schedule those important medical appointments. We are all guilty of it…we make sure our kids have all their doctor appointments taken care of, remind our significant others to get their screenings done, but often we forget about ourselves. This week, I not only knocked out a three day juice cleanse, I rolled it right into my pre-colonoscopy prep…so, I had a chai vanilla shake and some chicken soup with plain French bread. Tomorrow…I start rocking the sports drink/laxative cocktails to make sure I am good to go for my close up…errr, well…this makes your mammogram prep of no lotions or deodorant a snap! But get those appointments scheduled now so that, hopefully, you can enjoy a doctor and dentist free summer.

4 Things for Your Spirit 

  1. Take one minute everyday and be quiet. That is a total challenge for me…I am a chatty Cathy, even when it is just me. Perhaps it is in meditation or prayer, or perhaps it is just sitting quietly for one minute. It may seem odd at first, but sitting with the eyes closed and just focusing on your breath (maybe counting it or repeating a prayer or mantra), and allow your body, mind, and nervous system to be still.
  2. As things pop up during your one minute of silence, when you are done, jot down those things that your mind keeps circling back to so that you can then focus on those challenges with your partner, friends, or experts at a later time. By putting those issues on paper, you can help bring them into your conscious universe so that hopefully they can be resolved and you can move on from them or perhaps help you realize that the issue is something beyond your control. Once we acknowledge we cannot control a thing, it is often easier to let that go.
  3. Social Media. While a wonderful tool to reconnect with old friends or share pictures with family or stay current with things important to you, it can also become a time sink and weight around your neck. Our news cycle is bad enough, but then I find a number of my friends and even me! guilty of looking longingly at photos of perfect homes, families, bodies, clothes…for some, it is easy to acknowledge and move on but for others, it can become the ultimate time suck while causing anxiety that you are somehow not enough…not good enough at yoga, lacking the perfect farmhouse home with shiplap, or that your middle aged body just ain’t rocking it like those 20 somethings on the Insta. Let it go. Set a timer if you are going to be on social media. Take a social media break and unplug! Even if for only a night. Plan time with family and friends where phones are left out of sight and on “do not disturb” and connect with each other like it was 1999. Maybe even crank up the 80s tunes and dance a little!
  4. Reconnect with family and friends or even yourself, outside of the demands of required family outings and social media. Instead of just connecting with your significant other, your kids, parents, siblings, etc., during the expected times (holidays, mandatory family dinners, mandatory school events) or via social media, get together and do something different. Surprise your significant other with a special date night that they would enjoy…I am pretty easy to please…take me to a winery! Go for a family hike or gather some girlfiends and hit a local park or nature center or yoga studio for some juicy yoga. Invite your kids, perhaps one on one, out for a special date with you, especially if they are older and perhaps starting to venture out more on their own. Actively listen to what they have going on in their lives and repair or even build those connections with those you love most. Connect with yourself by choosing to do all of the above and take time to get to know yourself outside of the day to day demands of work, family, and social activities.

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    Hiking with me, myself, and I along Lake Tahoe.

All of these things seem like simple things to do…and they are! But take a moment and reflect on how many of them do you actually do? How often? If you do all of these things and more, then you are my spirit animal! I wish I could, but I often allow my life to drive me, instead of me driving my life.

I am going to take some time this spring for my own spring cleaning…and it is going to be lovely!

Sláinte and Namaste,

twy

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