In the southern hemisphere spring is on our doorstep, bringing its warmer days and shorter nights. While in winter we tend to hunker down and bury ourselves a bit, spring is about emergence and flowering. There are many people skilled in the detailed art of arranging external environments to create change in our inner world (interior design, feng shui anyone?) and I am the first to confess that I am not one of those people! However these 6 ridiculously simple techniques I have found help stir up stagnant energy, lift my mood and help create a signal to myself that I am open to new things.
I suggest just picking one – don’t try the whole list at once – unless you have a whole day to play with.
Get energy flowing, get moving, and open up to the feeling of ‘new’ that comes with the change of seasons, in the comfort of your own home*.
Freshen up your bed – Spruce up your bed and bedside tables. Seriously. If it’s not already made, go make your bed. If it is made, but your linen is tired and sad (or reminds you of past relationships, or lengthy illness or anything else that makes you feel flat) go out and buy a fresh set.
Make them as loud, frilly, serene or bright as you feel drawn to. Think leopard print. Think wild swirls. Maybe flouro florals or skull and cross bones. Think austere delicate eggshell blue. Think whatever grabs you and feels like an expression of you in this time and place. (And keep the old ones for the spare bed, or give them away to someone who might need them**).
Or if you don’t have the funds or time for that, try repurposing a tablecloth or large shawl as a throw across the foot of your bed, or use some loungeroom cushions to make
Nurture your plants – indoor plants and outdoor plants need a little love. If you have been a bit forgetful, now is a great time to water your indoor plants (sparingly) and cut off dead leaves. You could really show them some love by gently wiping any dust that has built up on their leaves. For outside ones consider a weak organic plant food like watered down worm juice from a worm farm.
Don’t have any? Get some! Succulents, bromeliads and Madonna Lillies (Spathyphilliums) are my favourites for interesting textures, complete indestructability and glossy green leaves respectively. And hey, you don’t even need fancy pots, join the hipsters and grow your succulents in an old jar (with the label off). Just be sure to not water more than a little bit once a week.
Clear any stagnation in your relationships – this might sound like a big undertaking, after all, these were meant to be quick an easy fixes, right, not life overhauls? Well, what I’m suggesting is actually pretty small but can have great flow on effects.
First step: think of 3 relationships that you currently feel guilt over or feel like are stuck or stalled in some way.
Were you meaning to get in touch with someone but now you feel bad because too much time has passed and it just gets worse and anyway you never have time to write that card or make that phone call? Or have you delayed getting back to someone because whatever you said you were going to do was too hard to do or you’ve changed your mind? Maybe you owe someone a thank-you, or a sorry…but it feels like saying either will bring up lots of feelings you haven’t been ready to face? Make a mental list of the most ‘heavy’ or immediate ones that spring to mind.
Now do whatever the smallest thing is that you can do to make contact. If you were planning to visit and you haven’t managed to, try sending them a text instead and telling them you are thinking about them. Suggest you get diaries out soon to make a plan (if you still want to catch up face to face). If the issue is that you have to let someone down, break the radio silence and let them know you are sorry. If you are worried you’ve lost touch with someone and they might be angry with you now, try sending a pretty card and wishing them well. Make it short, make it sweet, and get in touch.
It’s amazing how much energy feeling guilty can take up, or feeling sad at the lack of connection, or feeling helpless. Taking one small step, with a strong feeling of appreciation for the other person can do wonders for opening up channels of communication. And even if that’s as far as it goes, you can feel a bit lighter having moved on something.
Rearrange your bookshelves – if you are a reader and like the paper kind (or used to like the paper kind) now is a great time to rearrange, dust, hand on. You know that book you were sure you were going to read but three pages in the writer’s voice annoyed you? Or it was a bit too dense for where your head is at right now? Or even that book you read and kind of found some nice quotes in and thought you were going to think some more about but don’t plan to re-read. And now it’s on your reading guilt pile?
Well now is a great time to pass it on to a new home. Write the quotes down. Take a photo of the cover. Comment about it on social media if you feel compelled. Sniff it, hold it, leaf through it, pat it, thank it. And then set the book itself free.
Think about your local book swap, mini-free-library, café, community centre or second hand shop. Maybe that book is exactly what someone else needs to read right now, but that someone is definitely not you. Set it free and set yourself free of the guilt of not having read it.
Rearrange those remaining ones according to some new quirky referencing system (height, colour, alphabetical, chronological, by topics – your call), and while you’re at it wipe down the shelves themselves with something green that smells great. Try for example these DIY sprays.
Spruce those surfaces – find one surface that’s been annoying you and clear it right off. Is it the sink? Then wash ALL the things, and wipe that baby down until it’s just sparkling stainless steel or gleaming white porcelain. Is it the dining room table? Make it your mission to clear every last brochure and key pile until it’s gone, them wipe it with something that smells nice and put an actual bunch of flowers or bowl of fruit in the middle***. Yes! Like in the movies! Do that. Or if it’s your desk, get the paper shredder handy and file, recycle and wipe it down until it gleams. Don’t worry if the rest of the house looks like an installation art piece warning about the clutter of modern life. Just making one little piece of it shiny and pretty will give you hope, and make you feel energized (do not get carried away and try to do the whole house, do not. You will end up tired and wanting to cry).
Get fruity and floral – time for some essential oils! I love lavender, rose geranium, lemongrass and ylang ylang (not all together). Lime, orange and lemon are also great, and perfect for some spring freshness. Try a room spray or aromatherapy burner. Open all the doors and windows for a while first to air the house, and then get your aromatherapy going! If your nose is happy you will be happier too. Go for some nice hand cream or body lotion. You probably have tubes of the stuff in your bathroom cupboard, go find it and actually start using it – say good bye to winter scaliness and hello happy nose.
Sometimes we need to get moving on the small things first so we can build confidence to tackle the big things. Sometimes when we get energy flowing we are drawn naturally and with excitement to the ‘what’s next’ in our lives. What about you? Any springing into spring tips?
*Ah did you think this was about exercise? Sorry, no its not, except in a very indirect way. By all means go for a walk, or pop to a yoga class too.
** Friends with a large family, women’s shelter, op shop… Of course, make sure they’re washed and fresh smelling before you hand them over.
*** If you do that already you know how good it feels.