Like new school supplies in the fall, a clean start in spring clears the air and makes space for fresh ideas. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed I shift my environment and see if that doesn’t shift my mood. A little spring cleaning as self-care.
Rather than forcing myself to complete a task that I am resisting, I pivot. I do something completely different. I vacuum, dust, organize. And that one small activity creates momentum that carries me to the next step. Even if I don’t start my task, I feel productive and am rewarded with the space to begin. I may even have a new perspective on the task and work through some of my hesitation while focusing on something else.
I may be wiping down counters but in the back of my mind I’m laying out a painting or remembering to send that email. Getting outside to weed the garden, or shake out the rug brightens my mood because I’m outside. Clearing physical clutter frees our mental headspace too.
When we give ourselves time and space, instead of guilt and anger, we feel better. And when we feel better we do better work. As Julia Cameron tells us, “treating ourselves like a precious object makes us stronger.” We learn early that we are spoiling a child if we give in to their demands. But this perspective does not mesh with what we all know of ourselves as human beings. When have you ever done something you didn’t want to do and felt good about it?
When you don’t want to complete a task chances are you’re not ready to do it. Be patient with yourself and take your time. When we are kind to ourselves we feel loved, accepted, free to be authentic and creative. Performing at our highest level includes operating at our highest ability. We do that when we nourish ourselves, reward our progress, and gently correct our mistakes.
To get ahead we do not need to punish ourselves. We need only to be more gentle and see what blooms. This spring start small and do what brings you joy first. Maybe you tidy a room or maybe you take a nap. See how being kind to yourself impacts your day and your life.