I was speaking with a new friend recently who revealed that she opted out of setting a New Year's Resolution, and instead decided to set an intention for change at the Spring Equinox. I thought this was such a beautiful concept since Spring is representative of New Beginnings in a much different way than the reset of a Calendar Year. Spring brings growth & new life, and hope & fresh opportunities. It almost seems silly to NOT take advantage of a chance to change and grow in the month of March. I invite you to consider some of the following ways to Spring Into Action.
1: Express Yourself Creatively
"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."
- Kurt Vonnegut
Please, please, please, learn from my mistakes, my friends...
Express your creativity for the joy of it, and completely disregard any thoughts of whether or not you are "good at it." I spent the majority of my life avoiding things that I didn't believe I was naturally talented at. This was good for my ego, but not for my soul. It wasn't until just last year, when I enrolled in The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, that I finally started to understand the role Creativity plays in our health.
Since there isn't one specific region of the brain where creativity is "located," the act of being creative requires multiple neurological systems to work together. There is a positive correlation between creativity and learning, problem-solving & divergent thinking. Creativity also improves mood and emotional regulation, and has been linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression. And depending on the outlet, creative activities lead to better immunity, greater levels of physical fitness, improved hand-eye coordination, and quality of life & longevity.
I'm sure the arts are the first thing to come to mind when thinking of creative endeavors.
Artistic expression - to most - looks a lot like the subjects we were offered in school.
Drawing, painting, sculpting
If any of these appeal to you as an adult, but you aren't pursuing them, what is holding you back? For me, it was the memory that I didn't excel at these when I was younger that convinced me that I simply am not creative. I hope you will join me in revisiting any of these areas that you may have tried but decided that they weren't for you based on your skills and abilities at the time.
Or maybe there is something else that has appealed to you over the years but you rejected the notion because it seemed silly, frivolous, or expensive. (But maybe now those trapeze lessons are totally within your budget, and you just wanna fly, baby...)
Creativity is not restricted to the arts, though. Since creativity is solution-based thinking, you can also flex your creative muscles by...
Rearranging a room
Organizing drawers, closets or cabinets
Repurposing items in your home that are no longer used
Finally, creativity can be as simple as...
Changing up your morning routine
Using your non-dominant hand to do a familiar task
Choosing a new route to work or school or another regular drive
Inventing a new Sandwich. (Believe it or not, I found this gem in several articles.)
2: Do a Little Spring Cleaning
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it’s on your home, your head, or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”
- Peter Walsh
This quote really says it all. When did you last take the time to assess all three of these?
Starting with your Home - does it feel like your sanctuary or your never-ending To-Do List?
My advice is to move through your house - room by room - and feel it out. Take notice of which rooms inspire relaxation and peace and which rooms make you feel anxious, claustrophobic or agitated. And then, take it one step at a time.
If the thought of de-cluttering makes you feel overwhelmed - fear not! You are not alone. There are so many resources to help you get a handle on this, but you can get started quickly right here on YouTube!
And next is your Head - what is taking up valuable Real Estate that is either beyond your control or not your load to bear? Speak it out, write it out, or dance it out, but get it out! A great way to find out what is actually on your mind is to meditate, so if you missed last week's Words of Wellness, check out it out here.
And finally your Heart - what has it been longing for or has had enough of? If there are things your heart has been whispering, odds are you need to let go of something or someone to attain them.
Unfortunately, this form of de-cluttering is usually the most difficult. Maybe you continue to entertain relationships that are no longer serving your best interests - or worse - leave you feeling drained. The same way those Sketchers boots you loved in the 90's don't have the same appeal, there are probably friends or acquaintances that just don't fit the lifestyle you've been working toward and that's ok.
If you need a pep talk about breaking up with the people in your life who are so last season, here is a great article on how to mindfully and lovingly break free.
3: Connect With Nature
"If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.”
Do I need to bother telling you the health benefits of sunshine, fresh air, and movement? I'm betting not. It's more likely you know all of the reasons to spend more time in nature, but don't necessarily prioritize it. If you aren't someone who enjoys the mainstream ways of spending time in nature - walks, hikes, rides and paddles - maybe there are other ways to get the benefits that don't take up as much time or energy.
Have you considered...???
Outdoor games like Cornhole or Yardzee
Going for a scenic drive with the windows down
Or Night Time activities like...???
Catching and Releasing Fireflies
Enjoying a Campfire
**Bonus points for doing any of these without your phone.**
4: Commit to Your Growth
"Nothing on this earth is standing still. It's either growing or it's dying. No matter if it's a tree or a human being."
- Lou Holtz
Whether it's intellectual, emotional, or spiritual, personal growth is a necessary component of overall health and well-being. This is a completely bio-individual choice, and can range from sharpening your mental skills by doing crossword puzzles or learning a new language to attempting to find more meaning in life through expanding your spirituality practices.
The key here is to grow. Expansion of knowledge and experiences are necessary, and it may require adopting new thought patterns or beliefs. I knew I was craving Self-Growth when - after 35 years of rejecting the idea of religion - I was finally able to look into spirituality that wasn't religion-based. That was a decision that changed the course of my life forever. But I had to unlearn many "truths" and abandon many limited beliefs.
Take a moment to think about any areas of your life that feel overly comfortable. In that comfort, is there joy and fulfillment, or is it just what is familiar?
Are there things that you feel may make you a better spouse, parent, sibling, friend, boss or employee if you learned them?
5: Share Your Light - Burn Twice As Bright
“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
– Mitch Albom
Any meaningful connection with others in a community that shares values is so very imperative to a happy and fulfilling life. Feeling connected to others has surprisingly similar benefits to creativity, including lowered risk of anxiety & depression, improved immune function, and a positive correlation to brain health. For more on why connection is a basic human need, click here.
In my personal experience, I have found three things that really light me up, when it comes to connection.
Joining a Group or a Class - Virtual or in Person Whether it's my cohorts from my Yoga Teacher Trainings, my mentors and practice partners from my Guided Meditation Facilitator program, or any of the members from my Facebook groups, I am always energized, inspired, and fulfilled after meetings or get-togethers. I have found that sharing our experiences - both challenging and triumphant - has been a great source of comfort and encouragement for me in both my personal and professional life. Maybe there is a group out there that could support your current goals or dreams.
Building on existing relationships Recently, I was invited by someone I adore to a gathering of women who had shared qualities and interests. It was an incredible experience, and we all felt a need for community and connection being met that evening. Look around your social circle and see if there are any mini-communities you can create that could build one another up.
Volunteering! Recently, my boyfriend and I volunteered for a Polar Plunge charity event hosted by the local chapter of The Special Olympics and had an exceptional time. We met many like-minded fellow volunteers, had meaningful interactions with the athletes, and got to know our local community a little bit better. All while raising awareness and funding for a good cause! What charities, organizations, or local community needs call out to you? Does your heart desire to Connect & Serve? If you aren't sure where to start, try this!
I sincerely hope this Spring brings you the New Beginnings that your soul craves.
And please feel free to comment or reach out if there's anything I missed that might help others!
Big Love, Bright Light, and Purely Positive Vibes,