People say you’re naturally drawn to the season you were born in. I was born in May but I never found the appeal of spring. Summer was for vacation, delightful days at the beach, cocktails and the seaside. Winter was for snowball fights, Christmas, hot chocolate, comfy pyjamas and the smell of cinnamon in the air. But Spring? Moody days, cold rain showers, clothes not to warm or too thin, spring fever, no particular food dishes to enjoy… a bummer.
Until I noticed something, one inexcapable thing that I enjoyed each Spring, more and more: Delete + Start again. While January is the official month of making resolutions, turning a new leaf and all, I find Spring gives me the energy and the will to change things and if the case, start over.
In January, I’m still recovering after the holidays and in no mood to except that Christmas passed, once again, too quickly. But come March, the first rays of sunshine appear, tulips and hyacinths are in bloom, blueberries and raspberries start to show up in stores and one after the other, couples emerge from their long winter nap to walk hand in hand on narrow park alleys.
As for me? I’m finding energy from God knows where. Energy to write more, go to the gym, take care of my skin and face, eat better and organize my life. To all of these, I found one thing instrumental: a brutal spring “cleaning”.
A look at everything that I was doing wrong, every detail that kept me from living my best. Then, after this harsh meet up with reality, I deliberately started doing the opposite. I stepped up my beauty game after a couple of years of going with what was safe. Then, I totally rethought my work game, in a way that doesn’t leave me exhausted at the end of the day. And I started seeing food, hydration and doctors differently.
The whole story would take much more lines and time of your life to read, so I’m gonna put the essential stuff in a #tips list:
How to spring clean your workdays
1. First, make a list of everything you want to do besides work. Go to the gym? Take a course? Play more with your camera? Don’t wait until you have time for your hobbies, incorporate them in your daily schedule. Put the amount of time each would take and where there is the case, the exact time you need to do that/be there.
2. Once you have that, make a schedule from Monday to Friday, from hour to hour. Let’s say you wake up at 8am. Put in the time needed to take shower & the usual, then the time needed to make breakfast etc. At work, puts hours for each task/group of activities like 12:00 pm -2:00 pm work on presentation, 2:00 pm -3:00 pm lunch, etc. Done? Now, see what are the hours left for you. If there are too few, try making your lunch break shorter or aim to finish your tasks faster.
3. Now, include fixed activities : yoga classes for example. If they take place on Tuesdays and Fridays, reserve Monday. Wednesday and Thursday for Photoshop tutorials/camera practice/catching up on reading/painting, etc. Save between 1-2 hours for one activity/day. Don’t make my mistake – I tried putting blog posting, work and gym in the same time and it didn’t work. Pace yourself.
4. Consult your chronotype. On one article, I stumbled upon this quiz conceived by Michael Breus, PhD. I found I’m a bear, that I’m most efficient until 2pm and creative until 10pm. I learned I need my 4pm snack and should drink coffee one hour and a half after waking up. Basically, I was working against my body! So, I tried to adapt the previous schedule to this ideal one. Like, blog in the evening, work in the first part of the day. Wait to pour my first cup of coffee because I’m very energetic after waking up at 8.30 or 9am NOT 7am like I struggled to! Do the quiz and learn as much as you can about listening to your body.
How to spring clean your eating regimen
5. In terms of food, you heard about my radical switch to smoothies. My lesson and tip for you? Cherish seasonal food. Forget about French fries from fast-food diners, pizza, microwave meals and frozen foods. Throw all of those away or try to eat less of these and buy fresh produce as much as you can.
6. Cook more at home. Begin with small, easy-to-do recipes like salads, cream soups, grilled meat with healthy side dishes – risotto, grilled/boiled veggies -. Try to have your basics at hand always (onions, potatoes, carrots, parsley) to which you can easily add your favorite greens – spinach, broccoli, peas, beans. Give flavor with tomato pasta, basil, rosemary, etc. When you don’t feel like cooking, boil some eggs, add some cheese and a fresh cucumber/tomato/bell pepper.
7. Use the Internet to find interesting dishes. When you make a #JamieOliver savory meal, cooking becomes fun, not a chore. I found that I postponed cooking because I didn’t want to cook traditional dishes, like my mom used to. The moment I stumbled upon quirky recipes or savory ones, the kitchen was my favorite place to spend time in. Put some music on my iPhone and I was ready to partaaay! With pans and pots.
8. Go wild with smoothies, lemonades, orange juice and water. Hydrate well by drinking water and fruit-infused drinks. Increasing my water intake made my skin clearer and more smooth. Which is saying a lot for a person with dry skin, no inclination for body lotions, masks and exfoliating creams.
Finally, go to regular check-ups. I started March with a visit to my eye doctor which turned out to be extremely lucky, since I badly needed new lenses. Well, I ended up with new glasses (that not only look better but make my world less foggy). Then, I went to my dentist, only to find out that I needed plenty of work dome (nothing too serious, thankfully). Now, I’m planning to go for a blood test to make sure I’m altogether okay. Until this year, I went to the doctor only when something bad happened and I skipped on my blood tests. You can imagine the “surprises”. Now, I’m being proactive and making sure I’m okay – mind, body and soul.
Cherish yourself more, starting now.