It seems to be part of human nature, that once the days start to lengthen, many of us are suddenly gripped by motivation and inspiration get stuff done – sort stuff out and organise our houses. I for one feel so much ‘better’ if my external environment feels organised and clean! But if you’re interested in optimal mental and physical health, its worth considering that actually have two “houses” that need to be spring-cleaned: our physical homes and our physical bodies.
Just as we accumulate “stuff” in our houses (attics stuffed with outmoded clothes, magazines and random keepsakes), our bodies accumulate old food residues and toxins stored in our tissues.
My Mum loves a good ‘turn out’ – she ruthlessly goes through her wardrobe and storage cupboards deciding what to keep and what to send to the charity shop (or try to persuade her children that they would like to have!) This spring has been no exception! It always amazes me that there is still ‘new’ forgotten stuff to go through as these regular bouts of turning out seem to have gone on for years. But there is always something interesting that she happens upon. Last week she ‘found’ a beautiful little tapestry that the two of us worked on together one summer when I was about eight. Having completely forgotten about it, we were both transported back in time to memories of camping fields in France where we sat together sewing. The detail was considerable – I am amazed I was capable of sitting still to do it (I expect she did the lion’s share actually). But just seeing this forgotten object prompted all sorts of details of that time that had been buried for years in our cluttered minds suddenly surface again.
(I hasten to add that the tapestry didn’t end up in the pile to go to the charity shop – it’s back in the cupboard to remind us of that summer another time).
Like Christmas, it seems virtually impossible to get through Easter without consuming sugar to excess. Regular readers of this blog will already know that I gave up sugar during lent this year and was delighted by how much more energy I had once I had gotten over the initial cravings stage. However, I was unprepared for how different I would feel after just a few days of indulgence over Easter. The sudden change back to feeling lethargic and bloated was sufficient to motivate me to get right back on that sugar-free wagon (at least most of the time). Not in a way that feels like I’m using willpower to deny myself what I really want, but as a positive choice. Because quite simply I feel much better in myself without lots of sugar (and feeling good in myself is a strong priority).
So this spring – do you feel like your body needs a bit of a ‘turn out’? Do you feel the winter (and Easter?) excesses have left you feeling a bit heavy, lethargic and bloated? Are you clothes maybe a little tighter than you’d hoped?
There is a saying that goes, “You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new.”
If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in your life, try spring-cleaning. Here are three suggestions to get you started:
- Declutter: Take a leaf out of my Mum’s book – ruthlessly go through a little used cupboard or drawer and throw out some of that stuff, say goodbye to your past and welcome the new energy of your happy, healthy future.
- Spring clean your body: have a break from rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means paring down your food to just simple fruits and vegetables, lots of water and perhaps whole grains. Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas and soups. Without much energy going toward digestion, more energy is available to the rest of your body and mind. Most cultures and religions have a long history of regular times of fasting – it is something many of us have lost sight of in our modern world. Many say that cleansing and fasting can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight and promote spiritual awareness. It can even help with improved immune function and better digestion.
- Emotional clutter: While you’re cleaning out your body and home, don’t forget to spring-clean your heart. Let go of negative thoughts and habits you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you well. A clean, open heart will allow you to be much more receptive to new things and all the good that awaits you each and every day. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is less room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter!
There is still time to register for my Cravings webinar on Thursday 1st May at 8pm (BST). If you’re interested in detoxing or cleaning up your diet and body, then tackling cravings in a positive way is an excellent first step. If you can’t make it live then its still worth signing up as I’ll be sending out a link to the recording afterwards. Register here.