Mental Health

Time for Some Spring Cleaning

yellow cleaning supplies and flowers
RitaE on Pixabay

Spring can represent many things.  It can be a time to clear out the cobwebs, both internally and externally.  I like that spring brings sunshine (or at least sometimes) after the rainy, dreary Vancouver winter.  There are a lot of birds near where I live, including my family of woodpeckers, and they all go crazy with the birdsong in the spring.  There’s some nice flower beds in my area, and I love the simple beauty of seeing the flowers blooming.  It makes it much easier to be deliberately mindful when I’m walking out and about (on a side note, apparently we Canadians say this as “oot and aboot”, although personally I don’t think so).

Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo to represent resilience, and I asked a Chinese coworker what he thought would be the best Chinese characters to represent this.  The characters he chose literally translate as “return to spring”, and the tattoo artist created the template for the tattoo from my coworker’s writing (the purple in the photo is part of the phoenix tattoo that I got later).  I like his choice; it fits with spring being a time of regeneration, renewal, and growth.

tattoo: return to spring in Chinese characters
photo by me

Lately, I’ve been trying to examine my thoughts and reactions to see if there are things that really aren’t serving me well that I can work on adapting.  For the first time in quite a while it’s feeling like maybe some change is possible, and maybe some healthier ways of reacting will start blooming.

I’m a very neat person in that I don’t leave crap lying around, but a little dirt has never bothered me.  Over the last couple of years, my mental health hasn’t been very good, so not only have I slacked off when it comes to routine cleaning, I haven’t done a full-scale intense clean for at least 2 years.  I decided that this spring it was high time to give the place a thorough scrubbing.  It felt pretty overwhelming, so I broke it down into individual tasks and have been trying to get 2 tasks done every day.  I’ve discovered that I must have been willfully blind because my home was actually quite disgustingly dirty, but that is slowly changing.  It’s been exhausting, but breaking it down task by task has made it easier to pace myself.

One thing I don’t really have to do as part of my spring routine is getting rid of excess stuff.  I get great satisfaction out of decluttering, so it’s something I tend to stay on top of.  Wardrobe tends to be a bit more challenging as my weight and body shape have shifted quite a bit over the last several years.  I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than getting rid of clothes that no longer fit I should probably just pack them away because they may well fit the next year.

Last year I made a half-assed attempt at planting an herb garden on my balcony, and nothing grew.  To be honest, half-assed is probably an overestimate of the amount of effort I put in.  I will try to make a real attempt this year, and the guinea pigs would be very happy to have a regular source of parsley.

Is spring a time of year that has associations or routines for you?

16 thoughts on “Time for Some Spring Cleaning”

  1. I was just telling my kids we needed to do a spring cleaning! They didn’t get it so I had to explain. 😂 I put cleaning on the back burner while I worked on my book but need to catch up. Spring is a perfect excuse for a new start!

  2. Honestly I’ve lost touch with the change of seasons, holidays, special anniversaries. I have been surviving since my husband’s arrest. I do not know yet how to thrive. I can’t go a week without cleaning and try to make it an everyday routine.

  3. HA HA! People assume us Louisvillians (I live where we have the Kentucky Derby each year) talk Southern and listen to country music. No, and no. When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading the Baby-Sitter Club books, but they also infuriated me. One character, Logan Bruno, was from Louisville, KY (the stories take place in Connecticut, I think), where he’d lived on a horse farm. Right, because all of us here in Louisville live on horse farms. (I’ve never even ridden a horse, and I know no one who’s associated with horses.) Logan couldn’t pronounce his girlfriend’s name. (Her name was Mary Anne.) He kept saying, “Myree Eye-un.” Right, because those of us in Louisville can’t pronounce things without going all dipthong, or whatever.

    I love your tattoo!! It’s great! I’ve never gotten one, but if I were to, it would be of the AURYN from the Neverending Story. Great post!! (And don’t feel bad–my house is filthy as well.)

  4. I also have let cleaning go by the wayside, I task hubby and the boys to do bits and I do a little here and there but it is a situation that bugs me. I’m quite happy not cleaning but I judge myself on my lack of effort, my lack of pride in a clean house. Well done on getting started, it is a hugely satisfying task to complete.
    I love spring, obvious in my poetry really, it’s such a great time of year.

    1. I tend to judge myself too. And it was even worse when my parents would come to visit; they’re neat freaks and were clearly not impressed.

      1. Also for me, wanting approval from people (parents), is another thing to feel I fail at.
        Gosh it’s so hard being me! 😁

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