We often hear “spring cleaning” get tossed around like a salad this time of year. And while I am all for cleaning out the junk in my home, I think “spring cleaning” is good for our bodies, too. And when our homes are decluttered, our spirit is lifted. A weight is removed from our shoulders.

Here in Michigan, the sun has been in hiding most of the winter. We get through our cold days with warm foods and little to no exercise. We might have good intentions to work out, but if our schedules are heavily loaded (and which they always are as moms), we push our health aside.

This time of year right now allows us to move outside more, so we might as well utilize what is given to us. Thanks, nature.

In our homes, we probably see that our garages have accumulated junk, as do our basements over the cold months. Once the sun glares into our windows, we start to notice the dust on the light fixtures we didn’t see just a month ago.

We see in a different light. The rose-colored glasses have been lifted and we notice all the clutter that is filled in our closets. So many toys our kids have and we think, “time to throw some out.” We get an extra spring in our step and we want to go for a walk, maybe a jog. Our bodies are in tune with nature, so it makes complete sense we feel the rhythm of the season.

Every year around this time of year, there are certain things I do to “cleanse” my house and body. Here are my top five:

  1. Declutter. This sounds obvious, but it’s something you really need to do at least once per year. Now is a perfect time! We accumulate too much crap, especially during the winter. We become pack rats for some reason. This is a terrific time to go through your clothing, to see what you can donate to the Salvation Army. And not only in your closet, but your children’s, too. Kids grow fast. My 5-year-old insists on wearing old clothes (even if they no longer fit), and then she looks absolutely ridiculous.
  2. Dust. If you’re like me, you do this year round. But, surprisingly enough dust isn’t always visible during the winter months (thanks to the gray skies), so make sure you get out your dust mitt and get to work! The walls, ceilings, cabinets, etc.
  3. Window Washing. Again, this is obvious, but when the windows are clean – your whole house feels better. And in the winter months, our windows in Michigan take a beating. I recently discovered Norwex products and am in love. Their window cloth is ah-maazing! You literally use water and a towel to get sparkling clean windows. It’s magic!
  4. Open your windows and/or sage your home. Let’s face it, our windows are closed all winter long. Our house wants fresh air, just like we do. So, when the temp breaks a little – crack ‘em open! And another good thing to do this time of year is to sage your home. If you don’t know what that means you can Google it. It’s basically a way to cleanse – based on Native American traditions. Many psychics, spiritual healers, believe in the power of sage to kill negative energies. I don’t know about you, but, if I can abolish any bit of negative energy, it’s worth a try.
  5. Get moving. With your body that is. Spring brings with it a feeling of renewal, a pep in your step. Go for a walk or a run. Whatever, just get moving! There are SO many great free exercise videos on YouTube. You don’t need anything but your phone to workout. So, the only excuse you can make is the kids. But they eventually sleep, right?!

I promise you, if your house is open and free from clutter and your body is given a nice dose of endorphins from exercise – you will feel an awakening! A spring awakening!

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photo credit: Be-Younger.com Jumping via photopin (license)

photo credit: Be-Younger.com Jumping via photopin (license)

As a kid, it was very common for me to hear other family members complain about their bodies. I can remember shopping with my mom and hearing, “I look so fat,” many times. I also can remember my grandmother eating pie and donuts often, and saying, “Well I’m fat anyway,” if someone commented that she ate too many sweets.

I was always an average sized kid. I never watched what I ate or even thought twice about what I put into my mouth until I was about 15-years-old. My sister joined a gym in high school and started monitoring everything she ate. Then my close friends started eating everything with a “fat-free” label. Even when I babysat, the mom only had Diet Coke in her fridge. It seemed everyone was conscious about their body and what they ate or drank. They say behavior is contagious, and I guess it’s true. Because I too became aware of everything I ate.

Like my sister, I also joined a gym. We’d work out together after school and when we graduated high school, would meet at the gym after work. Always with one goal in mind: to burn fat; to fit into our jeans; to feel good about ourselves. I worked out every day of my life for years. I’d work out when I was sick, too tired, and didn’t have much time. It was probably a bit addictive… Actually, I still work out, but for an entirely different reason.

My body craves movement. I am not one to sit still for too long, and good thing, because my kids never let me anyway. But, after being pregnant twice, I have learned something about myself I never paid attention to before. If pregnancy taught me anything, it’s how to listen to your body. There are days I am tired to do anything other than laundry, and on those days I simply go for a walk or do no exercise at all. There are days when I have the urge to run a half marathon… and on those days I do some cardio or weights. There are days I don’t have time to exercise. And so I don’t. The difference now is, I truly enjoy exercising. And I enjoy it even more when my 4-year-old wants to participate. Like really participate. Sometimes she gets in the way. Sometimes she just watches. And sometimes she joins in (but always quits before it ends). And I know this is a good example for her.

If I ever hear her complain about her body, like when she can’t poop, or when she gets a boo-boo, I always remind her, “You only get one body, treat it kindly.” I wish someone would’ve told me that as a kid. I only remember hearing others complain about their bodies. But our bodies do the most important work for us. They carry our souls. They allow us to feel, to express ourselves. They give us mobility. How lucky we are if our body is healthy.

I will constantly remind my girls as they grow, to always respect their bodies. I think some people push themselves to the limit in terms of exercise, not eating enough or the right foods, and not getting enough sleep (which we can’t always control). And most of us know it’s wrong. We know we are sabotaging our bodies but do it anyway. In the long run, it doesn’t make us any healthier. It actually ages us.

I know if we listen to our bodies and treat them with TLC, they will always be happy and willing to carry us through our journey of life. As a mom, I feel it my duty to make sure my children love and respect themselves, their whole selves.

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