SPRING cleaning is an annual ritual to spruce up the home, but have you thought that a mental and emotional overhaul could be just as beneficial especially if you are actively seeking work?
“This is a great time of year to look at how you can refresh your approach to life,” says Louise Presley-Turner, life coach and author of self-help manual The Game Of Life. “It could be trying new ways to tackle unsatisfactory ‘corners’ of your life, curbing bad lifestyle habits, or perhaps sorting out any niggles with family and friends so you clear out any emotional clutter. All those things can hold you back, affect your happiness and affect your general sense of wellbeing.”
:: Spring clean your mind
Transform negative internal voices in your head. Sort it out: Make a habit of facing up to those thoughts, challenging them and retraining your mind to be more positive, she advises. “Say to yourself, ‘That’s not true, be quiet’ every time a negative thought like, ‘You’ll never do that’ occurs and you’ll find they’ll become less frequent.” Encourage a positive inner voice to give you messages such as, ‘I can,’ ‘I am successful’ and ‘I will try’.
:: Spring clean your priorities
Allowing yourself to be at the bottom of the list for attention and care will only result in leaving you feeling tired. “Pleasing everyone - work, friends and family - isn’t just impossible it saps your energy and wellbeing.”
Sort it out: List each area of your life in order of importance, then analyse roughly how much time you want to spend on each section to help you recognise when your time or emotional boundaries are overstretched.
Also, list enjoyable activities you would like to do. Each week, value yourself by choosing to do one thing from the list.
:: Spring clean your finances
Money worries are stressful but organising finances will help you lead a more balanced, harmonious existence, says Presley-Turner. Sort it out: “Analyse your last bank statement by splitting spending into three categories so you have a clear picture of where and how you spend your money,” she advises. Mark household bills which must be paid, such as a mortgage, with the letter ‘A’; services which are a necessity but not crucial, e.g mobile phone bills, Sky TV, with a ‘B’; and mark a ‘C’ on luxury items such as DVDs, shoes, takeaways.
Consider the ‘C’ items and identify three ways you can cut back on those in a week; consider the ‘A’ and ‘B’ items and investigate where and how savings could be made by perhaps negotiating better deals.
:: Spring clean the people in your life
Are there people in your life who consistently drain your energy? “These are ‘energy vampires’ - people that are always in some kind of crisis or another and love to bombard you with their problems,” says Presley-Turner. “Life’s hard enough without dragging someone else’s baggage around too.”
Sort it out: “List individuals who sap your energy and don’t feel guilty about this, and then list others who lift your spirits when you’re in their company,” she advises.
:: Spring clean your routine
Hectic lifestyles can make it seem impossible to find time to refresh mind and body.
Sort it out: “Early morning is the best time for both body and spirit as you’re rested, fresh, and the world around you is probably at its calmest,” advises Presley-Turner
Set the alarm half-an-hour earlier, she says, and use this extra time to meditate, do gentle exercise, or simply sit and have breakfast in the garden. Fill your ‘sleep tank’ by having two early nights each week to boost energy levels.
:: Spring clean your career
Although we spend most of our lives working, many of us unnecessarily tolerate unfulfilling or unsuitable jobs because we can’t see a way to change them,” says Presley-Turner.
Sort it out: “List your likes and dislikes, passions and values, talent and abilities,” she advises. “Take an objective look at your current job - how many of your qualities does it match and use. Friends may also help you evaluate this.”
For a career change: clarify options by listing ‘pie-in-the-sky’ ambitions and more realistic ones. Research each, considering how suitable you already are for a career and what more you may need such as training. Seek advice from those already in that ‘wished-for’ job and see if their contacts could help you. Improve current employment by identifying five ways you would improve your working week, whether working from home once a week, to getting an
out-of-office lunch break. Take action to achieve them.