(Photo from @of.earthandlight)
A home is so much more than just a place to crash after a long work day. Personally, I don’t just value my apartment being a safe haven where I can restore, I require it. Coming home to a space where I can feel deeply at ease means releasing the daily build-up. It means that I’m able to give back to myself in a way I can be proud of.
Maintaining a healthy home, to me, is a form of self-care that provides the solid framework that continues to support me through my life, relationships and career. Naturally, spring is the perfect time for a renewal of this commitment to my nest, and it’s likely the perfect time for you too, boo.
Come the first signs of the new season, it becomes obvious how stagnant and how heavy winter was, especially here in Canada. This shift always reminds me that it’s important to make a point to clear out the old so I can feel more aligned with Mama Earth. I believe our mood and overall well-being is influenced by the spaces we spend the most time in, and so things like dusty air or sterile colours, harsh light, or funky smells can sap our life force in a subtle, but real way.
Because a home should help restore, and even inspire, spring cleaning should be made a priority to invite inspiration back in, just as Mother Earth does. If you’re ready to make changes to care for your holistic haven, here are 7 simple ways to revive your home this spring!
1. Bring Awareness to the ‘Rules’ You Run Your Home By
We all have certain ‘rules’ we live our lives by, whether we’re conscious of them or not. Gretchen Rubin, in The Happiness Project, pointed out that these overarching principles aren’t so much resolutions, but, more like personal commandments (think: ‘don’t eat anything at a kids party.’ ‘Always be nice and be fair.’) They’re often knowledge-drops we heard once and haven’t forgotten. Either way, they are beliefs that determine how we go about our lives, in all areas.
Think about your ‘rules’ for your home. Do you always make your bed in the morning? Or, no shoes inside, ever? No tech in the bedroom? No pictures of exes? Take a minute to bring some conscious awareness to your rules, and see if they do actually serve your best, healthiest home, and if so, bring a little more intention to them to further amplify how they do. Building on what already works is key for any change.
Some of my rules for keeping my home feel good include: no scroll-holes in bed. No dead plants. No dead candles. No incense ash. No half-full garbage containers. No tacks in the walls. Vacuum the minute when I start to think ‘…should I vacuum?’ Always have a bottle of wine in the fridge and chocolate (good for my abundance mindset–for you it might be something else). Articulate your own rules and decide how you can make them really work for your best health-supporting home.
2. Clear Out The Chemicals, Swap in Healthier Products.
How many ancient cleaning products are lurking under your kitchen sink, in your bathroom cupboards, or even your bedroom closet? Even things like, super old skincare products or cosmetics that may be leaking toxins into the air and just taking up valuable space. With old products (same goes for spices, in my books) if you can’t remember buying it, toss it.
Make room for fresher product and swap in eco-friendly cleaners (Seventh Generation is one of my favourite green local brands that makes everything from dish soap to laundry detergent) and stock up on baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda is a super effective stain-remover, sanitizer, deodorizer, polisher, and degreaser. It’s literally the best. This one simple swap will give back to you every single time you clean.
3. Refresh Your Air Quality.
After winter, the air in your space can hang heavier with boot-dirt-salt particles (especially if you have a carpet), space-heater-dryness or even worse, cooped-up pet-smell. Invite lightness back into the air with some of these purifying moves:
Splurge on getting a pro carpet cleaning if your place is fully covered wall-to-wall in carpet (so much crap gets stuffed down into those fibres). Or, you can just hack it: shake baking soda over the surface and leave for at least an hour, then vacuum it up.
Diffuse essential oils. Clove, mint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus are all antibacterial. Diffuse any of them in a diffuser if you have, or, you can just combine with water in a spray bottle to freshen up the airspace.
Buy yourself some flowers. The simple act of buying yourself some flowers (a bouquet or a plant, whatever you fancy), can make you think happier. Not just because it feels good to treat yourself – one study found that participants felt less negative after living in a home with flowers for a few days.
(Photo from @of.earthandlight)
4. Conjure Ambience with Warm, Soft Light.
As someone who suffers from migraines and tension headaches, escaping the office and giving my peepers a break from fluorescent light/blue-screen-light coming at me from every direction means releasing a noticeable amount of tension around my eyes. It adds up. A warm ambience conjures a sensual kind of vibe. I have a pink Himalayan salt lamp and I love beeswax candles for the glow they cast. Both of these release negative ions that can help clean the air of pollutants, including “electronic pollutants” that come from phone chargers, laptops, and TVs.
5. Eliminate Electronic Clutter.
That is, visible cords or wires, routers with their blinking lights and sounds. This is all (as I like to think of it) ‘ambient distraction.’ I know for me this is one of the things I tend to think is innocuous (like looking down at my phone, even if I’m not going on Instagram) but it sends a cue to my brain that I’m literally living in this stuff. At home, I want to feel free of the very-pervasive, very-accepted internet addiction, not constantly reminded of it.
6. Throw Shit Out You Should Have Thrown Out, Like, Months Ago.
Dish rags. Pet toys that are past their prime. The condiments in your fridge that you’re honestly sick of looking at. The shitty dollar store cutting board/doormat/towels you bought when you first moved in that are basically in tatters. These are all sources of bacteria, funky smells and general gnarliness. Get real with yourself, do the self-loving thing, and throw. All. That. Shit. Out.
7. Create One Dedicated Space for Mindfulness
Whether it’s a corner with a meditation pillow, a comfy chair, or a clear area of floor where you can sit your bod down and burn a candle without setting something on fire, having a designated ‘zen space’ makes space for mindfulness in your life! When I meditate at home, it doesn’t just help me feel healthier and clearer, it helps the space feel that way, too.
Personally, it’s not necessarily the length of time that I meditate, or how “good” I can be when I put my mind to doing it, it’s that I do it. That I make a point to. That I sit in a designated space (for me, it’s a rolled-out yoga mat in a corner at the end of a hall), and act on the intention that ‘I am going to meditate.’ Going to my mat helps train my brain to know that here, I am unplugged, I’m present, and committing to doing only what brings me joy. Nothing else. My time. Then, I’m more likely to do it on the daily.
(Story by Contributor, Kait Fowlie)