Spring is in the air and sunshine is not the only welcome change that signals the start of spring. The birds sing more loudly, the leaves return to the trees and we start to look forward to longer, light-filled days.  During the winter it is common to eat a little more and exercise a little less. We notice the cobwebs and dust built up in corners and crevices of our home and we yearn to get out into the sunshine and fresh air and drop those few extra pounds we accumulated around our middles.  For many ancient cultures this time of year represented cleansing, clearing out the old and rebirth for the earth and everything on it.  So it is entirely natural to start thinking about cleaning your house, your body and your life.

Here are a few recommendations to get you started on a HOLISTIC APPROACH TO A LIFESTYLE SPRING CLEANING:

1. Timeout: Commit to take a few minutes each day to pray, meditate and reflect on your life. Being grateful for everything, both the good and the bad, can change your perspective and the way you handle your life’s situation(s).  Happiness often doesn’t just happen to us, but it is always a choice we can make. It is helpful to remember that you have the power to control your thoughts, not defaulting the other way around.  If you find it hard to “quiet your mind”… find an audio guided meditation or a live meditation/yoga teacher that can assist you in starting a “mindfulness practice”.

2. Get Outside & Move: Nature is healing & cleansing to the human soul.  Take a walk/run outside in the fresh air or just play with your kids or pets in the grass. The exercise will help release stress and improve your health. Plus you’ll get some much-needed, mood-boosting Vitamin D. We were meant to be out in nature a lot more than we are in modern-times.

3. Rest: Most of us stay up a lot later during the summer months. Be sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep. Your body needs the time to rest & recharge. Start a ritual routine to prepare yourself for sleep at around the same time each night. This might include a hot shower and some easy stretching and a warm cup of herbal tea.  T.V. and other digital stimulation should be avoided for at least an hour or so before sleep.

4. Clean Up the Diet: On the most practical level these days – we live in a very toxic world. The human body is subject to tens of thousands of man made chemicals that never before existed on earth. We’re bombarded via air, water, and food. It’s reasonable to assert that if one was looking for nutrition practices that truly help to optimize the body and all of its functions – then well timed cleansing programs or fasts are a powerful strategy. Think of a cleanse or fast as intelligent nutritional defense based on the conditions we face at this point in our evolution. Please be aware that juicing and many fasting/detox programs can actually deprive your body of essential nutrients needed to support detoxification.  Metabolic detoxification is an energy dependent process.  So if you are considering implementing a spring detox, talk to a nutrition expert who knows about the body’s detoxification pathways and who can give you advice on how to properly support your body’s natural detoxification and excretion processes (GI, the Liver, Kidneys).

5. Detox Your “Friend List” & Grow Healthy Connections: Nurturing friendships is an integral part of our happiness. Studies have proven that people with strong friendships live a longer happier life.  It is also a good idea to “purge” any relationships that aren’t working for you.  While some difficult relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives and expand our awareness, some obviously shut us in and hinder our development. Our intuition will alert us one way or the other. It tells us, change and growth should feel good!  It’s important to know when you’re in a toxic relationship so you can choose something better for yourself.  Our intuition knows best; unlike our mind, its only motive is our happiness.  Some questions to ask yourself if you are unsure whether you need to “disconnect” from a relationship are:  “Does it seem like you can’t do anything right according to this person?”, “Is everything always about them and never about you?”, “Do you find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person?”, “Are you uncomfortable being yourself around them?”, “Does it seems as though you’re not allowed to grow and change without the person responding with mockery and disbelief?”… If you’re experiencing even just one of these signs, check in with yourself to see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you.  Are there other friendships/relationships you could be spending your energy more wisely on?  Ending a tie doesn’t have to entail major drama… Speak your truth kindly and move on..it will be best for all parties, even if it doesn’t seem like it initially.

6. Take a Techno-Holiday:  It seems that we can’t get through a day without using all our technical gadgets: computers, televisions,  smart phones, IPads and PDA’s.  These items now allow us  to make our work portable, access our data anywhere, communicate 24/7 and always be current with the latest happenings.   Tweeting, pinging, pinning, tagging and emailing never were easier.  Yet, have you ever felt overwhelmed, as though you can’t get away from the bombardment of work and messages.  That’s the effects of techno stress.  And it doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon. These technological devices may seem to have improved our lives in many ways but they also have the potential to control our lives!  Try setting some personal boundaries; perhaps a rule that you don’t check email after a certain time of day or block out segments of your day/week that you don’t carry your cell phone.  Maybe get real bold and take a full day or a weekend with no access to tv or technology…You may be really surprised at how rested and rejuvenated you feel from it.. maybe you can make it a regular monthly habit.

7. DeClutter Your Home: There very well may be a connection between clutter and pounds, cleaning and weight loss. One psychotherapist describes throwing stuff away as “the best-kept secret of weight-loss success.” I personally have observed that people who live in cluttered and disorganized homes often struggle with weight issues. It is as if the heaviness of their homes mirrors the heaviness of their bodies and the heaviness of their spirit. Their stuff is like a protective security blanket in the same way that excess weight provides protection.  Releasing unnecessary stuff emotionally frees you to release unnecessary weight.  A clean, organized home that you feel comfortable in and in control of will take you far in creating the psychological state you need to lose excess weight.  So take advantage of the spring-time “urge to purge”…clean out a drawer, closet or room… Maybe you’ll feel “lighter” in more than one way?