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Spring Cleaning the Soul

Now that the colder weather has started to subside and the warm, inviting sun has returned, it’s a good time to take stock in our lives on what could be improved, changed, or just tidied-up. Maybe you’re still working on some New Year’s Resolutions (stick with it, you’ve made it this far!), or you’re looking to do a deep spring cleaning of your home, garage, or office.  Wherever you are in your life right now, spring is a perfect time of the year to open those windows, let a little light and fresh air into your space, and look around at your goals and obstacles you want to overcome during the remainder of your year. An online life coach can help you find inner peace.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, or you don’t know where to start, a great first step is to look inside yourself and take stock of your emotional, mental and physical health. How are you feeling? Are you satisfied with your life in its current state? If not, what do you have control over that you can change? What are some ways you can create some more “you” time?

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and duties of regular life, especially if you have a career, children, pets, and a home to keep up with. Between car-pool, homework, shuttling children around between activities, making sure the dog is walked and fed, cooking meals, doing laundry, and regular home maintenance, you may feel like there’s no time left in the day for self-reflection or self-care. Our society puts a lot of focus on staying busy and working hard, attributes that have their time and place, but just aren’t realistic 24/7. No one can expect perfection from others, or themselves, all-day-every-day. The winter months also make most of us want to curl up inside, and can diminish motivation and energy, meaning things you normally spend time on, like self-care, may fall to wayside.

Spring cleaning your soul is just as essential, if not more so, than spring cleaning your home. Opening your heart and spending more time on taking care of YOU, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day, is just as vital as everything you do for everyone else. You are important too, so make sure to set aside some time for these self-care practices that could become a part of your everyday routine for the rest of the year.

Get Your Heart Rate Pumping

We know that getting enough exercise in every week can be challenging, and after a long day at work it may be the last thing on your mind, but committing to 150 minutes a week or roughly 20 minutes a day, recommended by the Mayo Clinic, could significantly improve your life. What are some ways you could fit in 20 minutes of exercise a day? You don’t have to go to the gym and lift weights or run 10 miles a day to get your heart rate pumping.

Try taking a walk during your lunch break, do some exercises at your desk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car a few extra spaces away from the door.

If you have some extra time to spend and want to mix in some socializing, try a group workout class! It can be something you already enjoy, or something you’ve never thought about trying before. The class instructors are there to help you feel comfortable and teach you new skills to help you stay safe during your workout, so it can’t hurt to try.  From challenging hot yoga, upbeat indoor cycling to calming laps around your local pool, there’s plenty of options to pick from.

Most importantly, remember that working on your physical fitness is something that takes time, and you don’t have to be a fitness guru right away! Doing a little something is better than doing nothing at all.

Put Good In, Get Good Out

Try to put only real, whole foods into your shopping cart, or replace foods with lots of sugar and not-so-good-for-you ingredients with healthier options. Your body needs fuel to get through its busy day, and the best way to fuel up is to eat food that tastes good and is good for you!

Putting healthy, un-processed food into your body can help your brain functions, help you lose or maintain weight, and can even influence your moods according to Harvard Medical School.

This is always easier said than done, especially with our hectic lives that don’t always leave room for meal-prepping and perfectly planned snacking. Being mindful and conscious of what is entering our bodies is a great first step to eating healthier over-all, and can really improve your relationship with food. Consider keeping a food journal to write down what you ate in a day, or brainstorm ways you could replace your daily soda (maybe a flavored sparkling water?), or try zucchini noodles in your favorite pasta dish.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring salads and cutting out everything you love to eat, but rather just finding ways to make healthier eating work for YOU.  What are some creative ways you can include more fruits and veggies into your diet? What are some foods you could enjoy in moderation rather than every day?

REM Cycles Will Do Wonders

How much sleep are you getting a night? If it’s south of 7 hours, it may be time to get some extra shut-eye into your life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the average adult to get between 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, including deep REM sleep (rapid eye movement).  Some people need more or less sleep, depending on their activity level and personal health needs, but it’s important to pay attention to how you feel when your alarm goes off in the morning. If you’re experiencing sleep problems or you need several pots of coffee to get you through your day, it may help to make sleep your priority.

Do you have a sleep schedule, or a nightly bed-time routine? Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, even over the weekend, can help you get enough sleep each night, and won’t leave you feeling like you have to catch up after a weekend of staying up too late and snoozing all morning. A relaxing nightly bed-time routine, like drinking a cup of tea while reading a book or taking a hot bath with essential oils, can help un-wind your body and mind from a busy day, and better prepare your brain to rest.

Take a look around your bedroom. Is there light streaming in the windows from a street-lamp? Can your brain only focus on the ticking from the clock in the kitchen? If there are factors in your bedroom that are keeping you from falling asleep or staying asleep, do what you can to remove or reduce those factors. Thick, dark curtains will keep street-lamps and early morning sunlight from disturbing your slumber. White noise or soft music can help mute other annoying thumps and bumps in the night, allowing you to stay asleep, completely undisturbed.

Give Your Eyes a Break

If you have a desk job, own a smart phone, or enjoy an occasional Netflix binge, your eyes probably spend a lot of time focused on screens. While this is common place in our ever-evolving world of technology, our eyes were never meant to spend so much of our day looking at screens. Blue light exposure from our computer screens and other devices can cause damage to our eyes. This includes eye-strain that can lead to migraines and headaches and retina damage that can destroy cells. According to Forbes, blue light can also suppress our melatonin production which helps us relax and fall asleep at night, causing increased day-time tiredness and less REM sleep.

You can give your eyes a break by scheduling time during your day to look away from your screens, or replacing time you’d normally spend looking at social media feeds or staring at your television with other activities, like listening to music, writing in a journal or having a conversation with a friend or family member. You can also buy blue-light blocking glasses that assist in keeping blue light from wrecking so much havoc on your delicate retina’s.

It may also help to turn down the brightness on your phone or computer which can assist in easing strain on your eyes, in addition to saving battery life. If nothing else, try massaging the area around your eyes while blinking slowly. Sometimes we get so focused on the work on our computer screens that we forget to blink, or don’t blink as often as needed to keep our eyes from drying out. Give it a try, your eyes will appreciate it.

Reflection Is Key

Speaking of journaling, writing in a journal can help cleanse your soul and improve your mental health. The University of Rochester Medical Center reports that journaling can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, cope with depression and improves your mood by helping you prioritize your life and identify positive and negative thoughts. Keep your journal private, just for you, so you can write anything you need to without the worry about how others may react.

Keeping your journal accessible with a pen or pencil on hand at all times will help you remember to record your thoughts and feelings. Use your journal however you think it will help you, and write whatever flows freely and feels natural.

If you can, try to make it a goal to write in your journal every day. Regardless if your day was exciting, challenging or something in-between, writing every day gets you in the habit of consistently thinking about your thoughts and feelings, and gives you some time to reflect on your day-to-day life, while keeping a record so you can eventually examine the bigger picture. You can even incorporate journaling into your nightly bedtime routine, helping you relax your mind and unload all your daily stress.

A Little Rest & Relaxation

Life can be hectic, and sometimes finding the time for rest and relaxation can feel like the ultimate challenge. We’re always connected through technology, whether we like it or not, and unplugging from our work email, client texts, and phone calls from the boss can sometimes be tricky. But work-life-balance is exactly what it sounds like; a balance.

Regardless of how long your to-do list is, or the other trials and tribulations that come along with our day-to-day life, it is so important to also take that time to completely unplug, rest, and relax. What that looks like depends on you and what you define as truly “relaxing”. For some it may look like turning off all the notifications on their cell phone, while for others it may look like a traditional breakfast on Sunday morning, or an afternoon riding bikes or watching their children play at the park while catching up on a good book. And remember, you don’t have to wait until the weekend to try to cram all your relaxation in. Try a Monday afternoon meditation session, or listen to your favorite comedy podcast on your way to work.

Taking these little moments during the week to reconnect with your hobbies, interests and pleasures will give you something to look forward to, and help ease the tension or stress of whatever it is you have going on in your life. There will always be a to-do list, but penciling in “relax” every now and again will make that to-do list a lot more enjoyable.

Thank you for visiting the Cheerful Hearts by LauraBeth Ryan, a person that can help you find inner peace online life coach. We hope that you’ve found this blog helpful in taking the first step to spring clean your soul! If you or someone you know needs a personal empowerment life coach, contact LauraBeth today.


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