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MILLICENT McKAY: Spring cleaning isn’t just for your house

Well, it’s officially spring — at least based on the calendar date.

For me, the change in season always inspires me to try something new. It’s that whole, “out with the old in with the new” vibe that comes with spring cleaning. And I love the idea of spring cleaning, but I hate … well … the cleaning part.

In recent years, I’ve learned it doesn’t just have to be for your house. It can lead you to freshen things up in your personal life, your mental health, and maybe act as further encouragement to stop putting off that one thing you have to get done, but don’t want to do.

Don’t take my word as gospel; to quote Myrtle Fargate from the soap opera All My Children, I’d advise you to “take it with a pinch of salt.”

Well, I suppose I just let you in on my deepest, darkest, least exciting secret — I am obsessed with soap operas.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to only be about dusting away the winter cobwebs. Here are my tips — and tricks — to spring clean your life.

Treat others... and yourself

First things first, start the season by being kind to yourself. I’m a major hypocrite when it comes to this (I felt honesty with you was the best option) because I don’t always act kindly towards myself. It’s the age-old philosophy: treat others the way you want to be treated. But that mindset doesn’t need to stop at others – use it on yourself.

A list doesn't have to include future accomplishments, it can simply be a way to create perspective. - 123RF
A list doesn't have to include future accomplishments, it can simply be a way to create perspective. - 123RF

There’s no hiding that our minds can run wild with thoughts of times we messed up. One way to combat the uncontrollable is to think consciously of what you do have power over (man, if my Dale Carnegie instructor could hear me now…). Try thinking about the things that are important to you. Whether you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person or not, thinking on the positive side is an important first step (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that it’s easier said than done).

Try taking things a step further and write them down. Those who know me well know that I love lists. It’s probably why I’ve started bullet journalling again. There’s something powerful about putting pen to paper, and personally, I find it’s a lot easier to focus on priorities when you have them right in front of your face instead of bouncing around your brain. In this case it doesn’t necessarily need to be a list of to-dos. Make it a list of things you’re grateful for. Last year or so, I took a “happy course” run by the Buddhism society on P.E.I. A major part of the teachings was to record one moment in the day you found someone paying it forward, you were happy about, a random act of kindness, etc. In short, find the AWESOME.

Re-resolution

Speaking of lists, this could be the perfect time to check in with your new year’s resolutions and give it a little va-voom if it needs it. Try revamping your list if the goals on it no longer apply or you find yourself not caring as much about that goal as you may have at the beginning of the year. We’re almost a third of the way through the year; if you’ve accomplished a goal, don’t forget to check it off — there’s nothing better than striking out a task once you’ve completed it.

Unplugging can lead to relaxation, refocusing, and reconnection. - Contributed
Unplugging can lead to relaxation, refocusing, and reconnection. - Contributed

OK, this next one is a biggie: UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY. I know, what would we ever do without our phones for a day, let alone a week or more. In my opinion, we as humans have this inane ability to seek out the bad news, hold on to a bad memory and feel drawn to the drama that comes with it. It doesn’t help that social media puts everything at your fingertips. Now, that’s just my cynical 23-year-old perspective talking, but it’s no secret it can take a toll. It even goes both ways – if you’re down on your luck or having a rough go, seeing the apparently perfect lives of those around you can be a tough pill to swallow (there’s no need to feel guilty or embarrassed by that). Take a break, turn off push notifications, challenge yourself to use your cellphone at absolute-must moments and prioritize the important – getting on your yoga mat, spending time with friends, reading that book you’ve been dying to start and/or finish.

Prioritize the important and take stock of clutter. What is important to you? It’s not an easy question for some. But when you come to the answer, it’s vital that those are things you put first. Then once you’ve established that, take an inventory of things that bother you or might be less than important. Is there something that’s weighing on you? Should you be giving it the value you have been? Evaluate it, and maybe chart a new course.

Well now, that’s what I would call a game plan. Again, dear friends, “take it with a pinch of salt.” The world is your oyster!

Millicent (Millee) McKay is a Summerside-based journalist. She’s a soap opera addict, cat-mom, tea enthusiast and blogger. For more by Millee, check out theonewithpaigeandmillee.squarespace.com/ or head to her Instagram.

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