Ahhhh spring is in the air! Kind of. I mean, aside from the once a week snow storm, we’ve been having some pretty amazing weather here in Aspen. It’s been sunny and warm-ish and I swear I can feel everything start coming back to life. Which makes me feel like I’m coming back to life. I’ve been struggling hard with the winter blues lately and I just am sososo ready to shake them off!
And what better way to do that than with a little lifestyle spring cleaning???
Spring cleaning isn’t anything new. However, a lot of people think it’s just about cleaning their home when in fact, spring cleaning your life is totally a thing too – and if it hasn’t been for you, it should be! I know that some of us made New Years Resolutions (or New Years Affirmations) just a few months ago, but things might have changed or gotten off track in those long, cold winter months. Taking the time to reevaluate and reassess your goals, hopes and dreams as you start spring cleaning your life might be exactly what you need to make this year, the best year yet!
So… TBH I started this spring cleaning a month or two ago – which is why I haven’t really blogged much since January. Things were just feeling… off. I was feeling super disconnected and just couldn’t feel grounded physically or emotionally. Since making some big changes to my lifestyle, I have started feeling a whole lot better.
6 Ways I’m Spring Cleaning My Life + You Can Too
1. Morning Ritual
I’ve started cleaning up my mornings with this morning ritual and couldn’t be happier about it. This morning ritual has been a great way to work in some ‘me time’ before I have to get started with my day. It’s the perfect way to reflect and reset while getting back in touch with my values and intentions.
Daylight savings is here and while I looooove that it stays lighter later, the dark mornings are rough. You are going to have to stay strong and fight through the urge to snooze your alarm 3 more times so you can get this morning ritual done. But trust me, it’s worth it. It’s going to take about 20-30 minutes so you’ll need to wake up a little earlier every day. You’ve got this!
Here’s the thing. A lot of us have super busy lives. It’s always gogogo and when things like meditation, mindfulness, or reflection come up in conversation, we are quick to use lack of time as an excuse. Weelllll not anymore, my friend. My new morning ritual is going to make time for all of that in an enjoyable way.
When I get out of bed in the morning, the first thing I do is go into the kitchen and put my tea kettle on the stove. My phone is still charging. I haven’t looked at Instagram or emails or texts or anything yet, just an FYI. While the water is boiling, I sit down to mediate.
Meditating isn’t this big scary process that has to be done a certain way. There’s no right or wrong. It’s just being there in the present moment. I honestly wish there were a different word for meditation because sometimes I feel like the word alone puts people off. Anyways, don’t think too much into it. Just find a comfy spot (my comfy spot is our oversized bean bag chair), sit down, close your eyes, and just be.
The reason I don’t check my phone before doing this is that I don’t want all of the thoughts of what I need to do or should be doing to cloud my mind, ya feel? While
meditating sitting in silence, maybe see if you can hear the water start to on the stove boiling? Or visualize what you want out of life. Don’t get caught up in the steps of getting there… just visualize being in that really content space. Before you know it, your kettle is going to start whistling and your time of meditation is over.
I believe that there’s more to just making and drinking tea. I started to learn about this several months ago when I participated in some tea ceremonies, which is kind of where this whole morning ritual came from. Mindfulness in the preparation and presentation are just as important as remaining mindful throughout the drinking of the tea itself. Because of that, I invite you to spend some time finding a mug or tumbler that is really special or meaningful to you and use that cup only for this morning ritual.
So once your water is boiled, pour it over your favorite tea in your favorite cup. While you are waiting for the tea to brew, take a few minutes to jot down anything big that came up in your meditation and then go get dressed and make your bed. Come back to your tea, sit down, and reflect while you enjoy your tea. Stay in this space for about 10 minutes or so. I like to journal during this time but just sitting and noticing how your tea smells and feels is good too. Just be in that moment.
Having this set kind of morning ritual carves out the time and space you need for yourself that you may not get during the day once you get into the hustle and bustle of life. It also makes meditating and reflecting a little more palatable for those who say ‘it’s just not for them’.
If you watch my Instagram Stories then you may know I started eating gluten free a few months ago! I’ll admit, I always saw going gluten free and some kind of a fad. But then I started seeing a naturopathic doctor, and I learned that it’s so much more and going gluten free is not just for people with celiac disease. While only about 1% of Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease, an estimated 1 in 20 Americans are living with what’s called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Bare with me as I get a little science-y on ya!
Gut health has a direct affect on brain health. Gluten has been shown to increase levels of the protein zonulin in the gut which causes damage to your intestinal lining. This damage allows undigested food proteins and bacteria to pass into the blood stream. This then causes an immune response and inflammation throughout the body, especially the brain. Inflammation in the brain is linked to our mental health, mood, and clarity.
Since cutting gluten out of my diet, I no longer feel like my brain is foggy. I think clearer than I have in a long time. My mood is also way up and I feel hopeful instead of hopeless. And I’ve lost some weight which was not the goal, but it’s a nice little bonus.
Going gluten free might not be for everyone but when spring cleaning your life, I encourage you to evaluate your diet and see where you can clean it up. Healthy eating really does have a direct correlation to a happy and healthy life.
After taking the time to be cautious about what was going IN my body, I decided I needed to start learning about what was going ON my body which is what prompted my skincare spring cleaning. I started to take the time to learn what was in all of the products I use andddd… it was pretty upsetting.
It turns out that the beauty industry is almost completely unregulated. The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. That’s like… coming up on a century! And since then, thousands and thousands of chemicals have come on the market that don’t have any kind of safety data.
So I started researching clean beauty…
I found Pai Skin Care, and decided to give their products a try. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about the products when I placed my first order. Like was it really possible for something so natural with so little chemicals to really get the job done? Because if so, why aren’t all of the other skin care and beauty lines doing it too? Well, once I received and tried the products I put my foot in my mouth real quick because the products are amazing.
My skin has never been so clear. And it’s weird because before Pai, some days my skin was so dry it was unbearable but other days, it was ridiculously oily. Using Pai products somehow regulated my skin and now it’s neither too dry nor too oily. Despite not using any kind of chemically produced fragrance, the products smell refreshing and deeeelish!
This was perhaps my biggest “clean up”, if you will. If you’ve read some of my other posts then you may know I’ve had my own business for the last 4 years. Not having a set schedule and being your own boss is great but the nature of what I did made me miserable. You know how they say ‘high risk, high reward’? Well that’s basically what my business was and it stressed me the f out.
I’d wake up in the morning literally afraid to open my computer because I was worried that accounts have been shut down. Shut down accounts = no money. And building new accounts took time and precision and deceit (yes, deceit which made me super uneasy) and I just didn’t have it in me anymore. My business was wearing me down, and my potential earnings no longer felt worth it.
Mental Health or Financial Success?
Choosing mental health over financial success was a struggle of a decision to make. I grew up in a family where the amount of money in your bank account defined your success and even though I no longer talk to my family, I will still defining my life by this value. I finally decided to stop running my business and went out looking for a job that I could actually enjoy and I am so fortunate and grateful that I found one.
While my income is no longer the same and I now have to seriously budget, I don’t hate getting up in the morning and having to work anymore. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night having panic attacks about where my next dollar is going to come from. Now I just feel content and at peace when it comes to work. I think that one day I might want to go back to running my own business but for now, it’s not right for me and that’s okay.
Here’s the thing. Most of us HAVE to work if we want a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. So if it’s at all possible, work should be somewhat enjoyable. If you wake up every day miserable about your job, it might be time to reevaluate and make some changes. These changes might seem scary or feel like your taking steps backwards instead of forwards. But at the end of the day, your happiness is a huge important factor and your job should not totally hinder that.
Now is a great time to redefine the relationships in your life, whether romantic or platonic. This might come as a shock to you buuutttt we aren’t getting any younger. We are all busy and don’t really need or have time for all of that extra noise that certain relationships bring.
The people in your life should be rising you up, not putting you down or stressing you out. Uncommit to those toxic “friendships” that leave you feeling bad about yourself or constantly bring drama into your life. Unfollow those Instagram accounts that no longer provide you with inspiration or make you fall victim to the comparison game. This is your life and you get to choose the people who you bring into your circle. Choose those people wisely.
As I mentioned under careers, I had been living by the value of money = success because that’s the kind of family I grew up in, but truth be told, that value doesn’t actually line up with what I believe. Once I was able to let go of that value, I was able to redefine my career which led to peace and happiness.
Values are the guiding principles of our lives and they define the decisions we make from day to day. When we get clear on our values, we gain a deeper understanding of our purpose and what we are living for. It’s easier to find happiness and really feel good about ourselves with our defined values.
Values can change over time which is why it’s great to periodically stop and reevaluate the values that you are living by. Something that worked for you last year, may not be doing it for you now, and that’s okay. Although your values may change as you grow, you should always have a handful of non-negotiable core values that are the driving metrics of your life. Use this list of over 200 personal values to help you decide what matters most to you.
How are you Spring Cleaning your life? Let me know in the comments below!
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I’m Michelle, the founder of life & style blog, She’s Not So Basic. On the blog I write about all things related to style advice, self-love, finding happiness, and so much more while wearing both my heart and my scars on my sleeve. My path through life has been anything but basic and it’s left me feeling lost, lonely, and insecure. Every day is a journey towards feeling confident and finding freedom one not-so-basic outfit at a time. Connect with me to see how we can work together, to tell me your #NotSoBasic story, or just to say hi!