I used to hate Spring. Truly! Growing up, I remember feeling uninspired, bored, and dreading the hot weather when April would roll around. If you were to ask me today how I feel about it, I’d tell you that I love it. It’s been a goal for the past year or so to work on cultivating more joy into my life year-round, not just when good things like holidays and milestones happen. The way to start is by searching for things to find joy in and making time to celebrate them all year-round – this goes hand-in-hand with living intentionally since it requires you to reflect on what’s worth celebrating…and to me, that’s the best part.
Below are some ways that I celebrate Spring – to clarify, when I say “celebrate” it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big party (although I had a big Garden Party for all my friends planned last year before COVID hit, one of these days it will happen). Sometimes, it is as simple as intentionally setting aside the time to do something specific to honor a specific thing. Celebration is truly just a state of being that comes from your state of mind!
“Celebration is truly
just a state of being that comes
from your state of mind!”
Freshen Your Home
If you think about all the ways we describe and symbolize Spring, it gives a pretty good indicator of what we feel makes Spring, Spring. Flowers, sunshine, light breezes, Easter, baby creatures – it’s a season of newness, life, and growth. Have you ever wondered why Spring cleaning was a thing? Personally, I think it stems from when Christians would deep-clean and declutter their home during Holy Week to prepare for Easter. However, it’s also a great way to help yourself be in a better mental and emotional state!
Don’t make this overwhelming! For each week, pick a room that you’ll tackle until you’re done. Next thing you know, not only will your whole house be clean, but by the time Summer comes around you’ll have spent the season, even in this small way, celebrating by making your home match that Springtime feeling of freshness and newness. Here are some tips for starting out:
1) declutter first and separate items from things to find a home for and things you’re not sure if you should give away. Hide the latter group until you can decide and in the meantime, research ways to responsibly re-home the other items!
2) organize your things in new ways which can help make your spaces feel new. Re-arrange furniture, where/how you store items and try to use what you have already before splurging on new stuff. If you do end up buying, try to buy used or thrift!
3) clean! Lately, my goal has been trying to set up a regular cleaning cycle each week where I knock out a room or area every day so that cleaning the house is not so overwhelming. We do have someone who comes regularly to do a deeper clean but there’s always stuff to do between those times like sweeping, vacuuming, dusting etc.
If you need more reasons to consider incorporating this into your life, read the article below about how cleaning connects to mental wellness:
Be Intentional About Going Outside More
A true gamechanger for me this season of life has been going on my daily, morning walks. I’ve been doing 45-minute walks and it really feels like a little retreat during the day. Yes, even during pollen season! I highly recommend finding ways to step outside more. I nearly fell asleep reading on our front porch yesterday because the weather was so delicious. If you need more incentive for trying this out: getting outside helps with mental and emotional wellness too. Here are some ideas for getting outside (especially if you’re busy):
- schedule time in for a walk (even if it’s only 10-15 minutes, try to aim for at least 15 minutes)
- eat lunch outside at work
- start a garden or get some plants for your porch/deck to draw you outside
- get a bird feeder that you can refill to also get you looking and going outside
- plan a picnic with friends
- join a recreational group (running, soccer, golf etc.) that plays outdoor sports
- go hiking
- enjoy your coffee on the porch
- open your windows/curtains as soon as you wake up
This part is the hardest for me as I’m a creature of habit, I’ll make the same meals for every day of the week to cut down on waste and budget. So, a lot of the produce I get is typical produce you’d find in any store but not necessarily always “local” or “seasonal.” Eating seasonal produce has both great effects on health and the environment: 1) it diversifies your plate which means more nutrients, 2) it makes you a better cook by having to switch up your recipes and knowledge of food to cook with whatever is in season, and 3) it makes you more mindful of what grows in your area instead of shipping in produce from another country which can take a lot of time, money, and resources. (Go and read the “Economy of a Banana”) P.S. I’m not saying to never eat bananas, I love bananas! Just be more mindful and branch out to try new things here and there!
Here are some ideas for practicing more seasonal eating and ways to make it fun!
- Go to a farmer’s market as much as you can (BONUS: talk with the farmers about their produce and where they are from)
- Pick out a new vegetable or fruit to try each week that you haven’t before
- Subscribe to a local CSA box
- Look around for local resources for dairy and meat
- Plan a cooking night with friends/family where everyone brings a dish made from local, seasonal produce (or cook together!)
Set and Reflect on Goals
The beginning of the year is not the only time to set and reflect on goals – utilize Springtime as a way of reinvigorating your New Year’s goals and perhaps, even make this a quarterly check in. Just set aside some time around the first day of Spring (30 minutes to 1 hour) to make a vision board, write a list of your short, mid, and long-term goals or bullet journal how the first quarter of the year has gone and how you’d like the rest to go.
Practice Joy…and Enjoy It
Joy is a muscle. You grow it, you exercise it, you utilize it. You don’t let it just sit around weakening or ignore it when it comes your way. I really do encourage you to make a regular practice of finding the things that bring you joy in each season of life. It’s a game changer. I went from disliking Spring and it being my least favorite season to me not having favorites anymore because I look forward to every season!
A few of the things that have really made Springtime a season of joy and one I love:
- sunrise walks even though it was initially difficult to get up early/not get winded or tired
- a good cup of coffee even if it takes a little longer to make it
- starting my mornings slow with prayer and reading even though it requires scheduling
- eating healthy but still listening to my body
- gardening even though it requires scheduling and budgeting
- getting fresh flowers, especially tulips, even if it means paying a few extra dollars
…did you notice? A lot of these things that I LOVE also all require taking the time to schedule it in, budget for it, or just patience. All good things usually do. That is what Spring has taught me this year.
So, give Spring a shot – come up with your own annual traditions to really embrace this season of life and exercise your joy! Tell me what you’re going to try in the comments!
“Joy is a muscle.
You grow it, you exercise it, you utilize it.”