Is it us, or does spring seem to blow in a feeling of fresh starts – along with pollen and dander? Springtime just seems to serve as a checkpoint in our lives that calls on us to say "out with the old, in with the new." We take that to mean it's time to clean up, declutter, and re-organize ourselves – at home, in spirit, and in the body.
Similar to how a new year motivates us to make changes in our lives, spring ushers in that same start-again feeling. As the sun shines bright, the green grass grows, and the birds start to sing, you can begin to emerge from your winter hibernation. Here are five reasons you should ride that motivational wave you're feeling and not skip the spring cleaning.
- Decluttering Reduces Stress
When your space is free of clutter, Cheeto bags, and clothes on the floor, you'll be able to complete daily tasks more efficiently because you'll have everything you need readily accessible. You can start small with your drawers or closet. Remove clothing you haven't worn since Obama was in office, those gross undershirts with the yellow stains, and socks with holes in them that you keep holding on to for some reason. Many stores allow you to donate used clothes for coupons. Rearrange your drawers and closet so it works for you. For example, hang your clothes according to color, and place your underwear in one drawer, socks in another, belts, and workout gear in another.
- Sunshine and Singing Birds Lift Your Spirits
If your space is a pig pen, we're guessing you're not opening the windows to let in the sun or singing birds – but you should. In 2017, a UK study found that the more birds people could see in their neighborhoods, the better their mental health. Plus, opening your windows lets in that amazing springtime breeze that ventilates your home, according to the EPA. Lack of ventilation leads to an unhealthy amount of indoor pollutants coming from daily cleaning products, some furniture, and just the building itself. All of this impacts your mood.
- Working Out Is Better Outside
If you've fallen off your "new year, new me" fitness game, spring is the perfect time to pick it back up. A 2011 study found exercising outdoors increased energy levels, decreased tension, and made people feel revitalized compared to working out inside. In Japan, health experts recommend people spend time walking outdoors, a practice called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, because it's proven to lower levels of the blood pressure-raising stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is such a bully.
- Eating Out Is Killing Your Waist —And Wallet
When's the last time you cooked something in your kitchen? No, fixing a bowl of cereal, or heating up a Hungry Man doesn't count. Could it be because you don't know where anything is? You're probably not inspired to cook because you can't easily find the tools you need. Take-out on the regular impacts your wellness and your wallet. Cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, take everything out and put back only the stuff you actually need. Place frequently used items within reach and the stuff you only break out once or twice a year in the back. Another tip is to invest in drawer dividers to separate the utensils you've just thrown into that one big drawer. We know the one.
- Your Mind Is In Motivation Mood
Spring cleaning isn't just about cleaning, dusting, decluttering. Harness the renewed sense of life you're feeling and reflect on the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Did you want to apply for a new job? Spring is a good time. HR managers have a sense of urgency to fill roles before budgets are spent and everyone goes on summer vacation. Maybe you want to take up a new activity. Research shows, adopting new activities requiring learning, and ongoing practice can be one of the best ways to improve cognitive skills like memory recall, problem-solving, and processing speed. Bonus points if you can do it outside.