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It’s spring and you may be thinking about doing a spring cleaning for your house—but why not do a spring cleaning for your mind, body, and soul this year, too?
For the last three years, I’ve done a holistic spring cleaning on myself.
And you know what? It’s been a lifesaver every time.
My Motivation for Spring Cleaning my Mind, Body, and Soul
Three years ago, I was still working 70 hours a week as a high-tech executive, and by spring I had been cooped up inside for months and wasn’t able to take a vacation until summer. At that point, I was really exhausted and craving a break. Since the first day of spring is also my birthday, my husband asked me what I wanted as a present.
We aren’t big on exchanging gifts, but I realized that I really needed a break. Otherwise, I was concerned Humpty-Dumpty would fall apart and I wouldn’t be able to put myself back together again. Well, you know what I mean.
That’s when I came up with the idea of doing a weekend spring cleaning for my mind, body, and soul. The goal was to help me regain my balance, lift my spirits, and help give me enough energy to keep going with my job until I could take my full vacation.
Wanting to get the most from my three-day spring cleaning weekend, I raided my library and rediscovered a book called The Spa Life at Home that I had purchased years before but never read. Looking at the book gave me great ideas for designing some relaxing days at home, where I could set aside special time for healthy meals, swimming (my favorite exercise), relaxation, and an Epsom salt bath with vanilla candles and soothing music to calm my frazzled nerves.
I’m happy to report that my first spring cleaning for my mind, body, and soul was a smashing success. I felt much more relaxed and my husband was happy that I seemed less wound up. It was just the pick-me-up I needed to get me through to the summer when I am naturally more balanced because I swim and spend more time outside.
Thanks to my holistic spring cleaning weekend, I was able to keep working my demanding digital job for another year, but my unhealthy lifestyle (eating lots of high sugar, processed foods on the go, not moving enough, and being chronically stressed and exhausted) finally caught up with me.
Just as I was approaching another spring and my 50th birthday, I finally got my health wake-up call—my lab work showed I had prediabetes, candida, and systemic inflammation. Yikes!
That’s when I decided that my personal spring cleaning weekend was imperative. Only this time, I wanted the weekend to jump start a new, happier (less stressed), and healthier lifestyle.
For my second attempt, I researched tons of mind, body, and soul practices and selected ones that a) resonated with me, b) were proven to be effective at helping to heal candida, prediabetes, and inflammation, and c) could be done at home during the weekend and later as part of my new daily holistic wellness lifestyle.
I like to call the practices I chose for my second holistic spring cleaning “the best-of-the-best mind, body, and soul practices for busy professionals.” Those practices are: starting and ending your day with meditation and gratitude; eating an alkaline, anti-inflammatory, real food diet and drinking lots of filtered water with fresh lemon; creating a bedtime routine to sleep better (so I could turn off my monkey mind); doing “Zen swimming” (swimming with a mantra), and practicing conscious breathing when stressed.
I still do these every day, and consider them my core, nonnegotiable, keep-me-sane-and-healthy practices.
The net result of adopting my new holistic wellness lifestyle was that within six months, I no longer had the dreaded systemic inflammation which could lead to Alzheimer’s and other major diseases. Also, I no longer had candida or prediabetes. In fact, I had lost two inches off my waist and I looked and felt better than I had in years.
I was so excited about what I learned that I decided to leave my high-tech job and start my own business, Heart Centered Living, to help other busy professionals regain their balance and adopt a holistic wellness lifestyle so they can keep their often stressful jobs, if they like them or can’t afford to leave them.
That brings us to this year. It’s spring again and I just had another birthday. Gosh, birthdays seem to come around more and more quickly every year, don’t they?
Although I am not working a stressful, high-tech executive job anymore, I have been really busy launching my business and getting my Certified Holistic Wellness Coach certification.
As a result, I haven’t been keeping up with my daily Zen swimming routine and now would be a great time to press the reset button again and shore up my daily mind, body, and soul practices with another holistic spring cleaning weekend.
I urge you to start your own spring cleaning routine. If you’re interested, but don’t know where to start, here are seven tips for doing your own mind, body, and soul spring cleaning.
1. Turn Off the Tech
Set healthy boundaries by creating no-tech zones and times. For me, that means no tech in the bedroom. Plus, I turn off or don’t answer any calls or texts during dinner, when I am talking to someone in person, and one hour before bed.
Doing this “Daily Digital Detox” enables me to spend quality time with people I care about and to sleep better. If you aren’t ready to commit to the habit, then you can at least try it for a weekend when you do your spring reset.
2. Slow Down and Breathe
Rushing around might be considered a national sport. But it doesn’t help our health or productivity. In fact, the more I rush and multitask, the less I accomplish, the more mistakes I make, and the more frazzled I feel.
To reset, simply bring your awareness to your breath. If you are holding your breath, you are rushing and could benefit from slowing down. What needs to get done will still get done, I promise. Just take a moment and breath whenever you can, especially if you are waiting, have just completed something, or are feeling anxious.
3. Get More High-Quality Sleep
One-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. With the recent time change, you may need to catch up on some z’s to feel better.
My tips for sleeping better are: establish a regular bedtime routine where you unplug from all tech devices, including TV, at least 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep; create a cool (roughly 68-degree), comfortable, and restful sleeping environment; eat a light dinner with healthy protein, fat, and fiber at least three hours before bed; don’t drink water one hour before bed; and clear your mind and spend time in silence to end the day feeling heart-centered.
As you probably already know, staying hydrated is important to your overall health. But many people don’t know how much water they need. Here are two good rules of thumb which you can try out during your weekend reset.
You ideally need to drink 50 percent of your weight in filtered water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you would need to drink 75 ounces of filtered water every day. If you exercise heavily or spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunshine, you may need even more. Another way to know if you are dehydrated is to look at your lips. If they are cracked and dry, it’s a good sign that you need some water.
Here’s a bonus hydration tip: people are generally the most dehydrated upon waking. To ensure water is absorbed into your body, try adding a small pinch of Himalayan sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to help decrease the natural acidity levels in the body in the morning.
We’ve all heard that meditation is good for us. But the rub is that most of us don’t actually do it—at least not every day. To reset, pick a meditation or prayer that resonates with you and do it for at least 5-10 minutes in the morning and in the evening before bed.
6. Move More
Most of us don’t move enough during the winter. Even if we do make it to the gym, we miss out on the benefits of being outdoors and getting some sun on our faces as we exercise. That’s why 42 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient—not to mention overweight.
To reset, apply sunscreen, select an exercise you like to do outdoors, and do it with a friend or family member for at least 15-20 minutes a day. That way you can improve your fitness and happiness levels at the same time.
7. Be Kind to Yourself and Others
I don’t know about you, but I can’t even watch all of the negativity on the news these days. Now more than ever, it is important to be kind both to ourselves and to others.
To reset, I highly recommend practicing acts of kindness every day. You get the benefit of the “helper’s high” and you also can uplift others. What a quick and easy win-win!