Spring renewal is also known as the second Happy New Year. I know January is long gone but in my world, spring is the time for renew, refresh, and new resolutions. All those resolutions from the first of the year have begun to weaken by now. Or, in most cases, crashed and burned with the dawn of February! I’m looking at myself right now. I’m not pointing fingers, but if you are in the same group as me, then this is our “do over”, a second chance, and this time, we literally have more time thanks to the longer days of Spring.
Thus, I’m here to talk about my unique, unusual approach to Spring.
Longer Days Mean Better Planning
With spring, the days are longer (Amen, praise all the Gods we all worship)! But, with longer days come longer to-do lists (omg, why). This can be both invigorating but also daunting. So, we need to find the balance between amen and omg, why. If we don’t, then we will be miserable during the best time of the year. The secret lies in the planning. This sounds like more work, I know, but hang with me and I’ll explain why in a second.
Taking the time to plan accordingly affords us “wiggle room” that either fits in at the beginning or at the end of your day. Remember what I said earlier about longer days? Planning for longer days also leads to more options for renewal and refreshing as you are not trying to cram everything into 6 short hours.
The best tip I can give you here is to take your cues from Mama Nature and slowly incorporate any renewal plans into your routine. With any new routine, always start slowly or else you might end up giving up before you start.
The MUST To-Do List
I would strongly suggest starting off your planning with things you must do. Things that are absolutely non-negotiable. These will include: family, work, and home obligations. These items go on your to-do list as “must do” and are not apart of your “wiggle room = renewal routines”. You need to complete and meet all the needs for everything associated with family, work, and home obligations before you can get started on your renewal routines. It is so important that your “wiggle room” time comes on your own terms without the mental stress of obligations nagging in the corner of our minds.
Our work, be it at the office or from the comforts of our home, usually, carries a large chunk of importance. So, it will occupy the largest block of hours in your day. It may sound depressing or invigorating how you see it, but it is what it is!
Ourselves and our families hold a sacred space in our day-to-day existence. This is where the most important stuff lies. Also, note that I included you on this list too because you are apart of the family and hold a significant level of importance. You keep the ship sailing, the motors running, so your own to-do items are as equally important as everyone else’s needs.
Not that our living conditions need to be “white glove” inspection worthy but, they do need to be clean, safe and comfortable. A tidy home will help you feel like you are running things efficiently. Plus, no one will break an ankle slipping on a pile of pizza boxes. We don’t need to have a home that is ready for an Architectural Digest drop in at a moment’s notice. That’s for the 1% and not realistic for most of us unless you have “people ‘ for that. If you do, I bow down, green with envy.
Now, we are down to the good stuff. Here’s your bit of “amen” to offset your “omg, why”! This is where you get to immerse yourself in your wiggle room that we talked about earlier. You need to practice balance here in order to feel renewed. If you give too much and fail to take, you will feel unbalanced and burn out quickly.
Create a list of things that bring you full and utter joy. Visit this list daily. It doesn’t need to look like a list of a multimillionaire but it should be a reflection of you. Ask yourself what joy means to you and what you associate with this feeling. Write this down and put it where you will easily see it.
I want to tell you that this Joy List is pertinent to renewing yourself. It’s easy to forget ourselves when in the bustle of a busy day serving others. I get it. I’ve done it and I’ve learned to make my joy as important as anyone else’s joy. Though this didn’t come easily or organically. It took years of giving too much of myself away, depleting my strength and spirit. So, I’m here to tell you, my dear reader, to heed my advice and short circuit the burnout right now. Give yourself permission to enjoy that joyful wiggle room in your busy lives.
We have talked about this time and time again. Getting outside does the soul wonders. Being trapped indoors can make you feel like you’re drowning in your to-do list. Your mind starts closing in on itself and you will soon feel depleted. Being busy and doing busy work for the sake of being busy won’t get you anywhere faster than the person who takes the time to go for a 15-minute walk. Sunshine, nature and fresh air are gifts from the Gods of Joyful Abundance. And, they’re free and no millions required.
Be with People You Really Like
Spend time with people who lift your spirits, this is a huge one that is so common sense, but no one seems to practice this anymore. In my days, we didn’t have smartphones, so we wrote letters and physically visited our friends. We had no distractions and really spent the time to bond with them. Kids these days don’t do that anymore and I find this a really sad thing. Get with a friend and put away your phones for Pete’s sake!
I also want to warn you about “emotional vampires”. These people will drain you of your life force faster than a toddler on sugar! You need to recognize these people and understand that they are different from a person who is actually a good friend who might be “down” from having a hard time. These vampires want more from you than is fair and they never seem to have time for when you need them. You will be left empty and resentful. All I will say is just trust me on this one, identify them and run. Far.
I hope these tips and thoughts about renewal strike a chord in you. This time of year is ripe for self-renewal, as ripe as a June strawberry! It’s your time to be in the physical sunlight, the warm glow of the long day, and to reenergize. Practice creating the Joy List and review it every day. Give yourself permission to prioritize your own care and happiness into your schedule. Everything is possible with you, so you need to take care of yourself every day, in both big and small ways (e.g., a nice home spa treatment does wonders). You are a must, remember that.
To break it down super simple, let me leave you with this final thought. You are the only you there is and will ever be. You have one lifetime to be uniquely awesome. So, do it, just do it! Practice your version of renewal of self-worth, create resolutions to do better, refresh your spirit, and revel in the joy of your one life.