7 Ways to Refresh This Spring

It seems that the end is near — the end of winter that is. Those long, dark, and cold months can leave us gloomy and tired. Take a note from nature and use spring to hit refresh: gain a new perspective, eliminate bad habits, or set a new goal. Warmer weather and a new you equals positivity all around.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. Clean somewhere you haven’t in a long time

There’s always that one spot that you avoid cleaning, but now’s the time to do it. It isn’t all about having a spotless house. Removing excess clutter or dust will ease that nagging in the back of your mind.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, found that by cleaning and organizing her home, she could create a more serene atmosphere. Although most of us think about our homes when it comes to spring cleaning, don’t leave out other options like your office or car.

Take this time to address whatever chore or overgrown mess has been bugging you all winter. Your spring cleaning project could be as small as coming up with an organization method for your mail, going through your inbox, or donating some of your rarely-worn clothes. The focus here isn’t the size of the task, but how long it has been bothering you — this way, you’ll find some instant relief upon completion.

DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images

Source: DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images

2. Spend quality time with a furry friend

Hanging out with a pet could be the ultimate feel-better solution. Just being in the presence of a furry friend can make you happier. Research from the journal Hormones and Behavior has found that all you need to do to get a beneficial boost of oxytocin is look your pet in the eyes; look longer, and you’ll get an even bigger dose of oxytocin.

Having a pet around has been proven to diffuse stressful situations. Take advantage of those feel-good attributes, and spend some time with your own furry friend. If you don’t have a pet of your own, volunteer at an animal shelter — you’ll be making two lives happier.

Fitness, yoga, exercise

Source: iStock

3. Take some time to breathe

A moment alone, positive imaging, or daily meditation can bring about huge changes in your life, physically and mentally. Meditation, in most forms, is like a workout for your brain. Practicing mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety and depression. With the relief of stress, meditating brings about physical changes.

NPR reported that regular meditation can lower blood pressure, and it can reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging. According to research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, it may even provide about a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness. Although it won’t solve all your problems, meditation will put you into the calm, centered state of mind you need to deal with all that life throws at you.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Gain a new perspective

As Oscar Wilde said, “The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.” Removing yourself from your regular routine can shed new light on your life or difficult situations that you’re dealing with. Try to pull away as much as possible by spending time outside, unplugging, reading, or taking a trip.

If you’re having trouble at work, try putting yourself in your co-worker’s shoes. In a piece excerpted from Paid to THINK: A Leaders Toolkit for Redefining Your Future, which can be found via Fast Company, David and Lorrie Goldsmith said, “When staff members took their summer vacations, I would step into each role to get a sense of how their functions were connecting with and contributing to the organization as a whole.”

In an unfamiliar place, there’s a whole other set of social norms, rules, and customs. Putting yourself into a new situation often brings insight into the problems you’ve left at home or work, and you’ll usually come back with a new, positive approach to the situation.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Eliminate a bad habit

Habits are formed when you do something over and over again, which can be great. The problems begin when you start repeating a behavior you don’t want, without necessarily realizing it. This spring, be honest about your habits, and vow to get rid of a bad one.

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, the authors of Change Anything, The New Science of Personal Success, break down how to change your behavior into four steps:

  1. Identify crucial steps: If you can, single out the moment or time that your habit started. Also, identify during what part of your day you engage in the behavior.
  2. Find your vital behaviors: Focus on actions you can take to break the habit, even if it means working in small steps.
  3. Engage in “sources of influence”: In other words, use positive techniques to start altering your perception, like a personal motivational message or visualization.
  4. Turn bad days into good data: Bad days happen, but they don’t mean you’ve failed completely; instead learn from your mistakes and adjust.

Add that to your spring accomplishments.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

6. Start a skin care routine

Skin is your largest organ. Skin is your body’s coat. It protects you, and it’s time that you protect it. If you don’t have a regular skincare routine, it’s time to get one — even if it’s minimal.

Every day, your skin has to fight off sun, wind, pollution, and more. To help combat mother nature, set aside some time every day to invest in your skin. A basic skincare routine looks something like this: cleanse, moisturize, repair, prevent.

Removing makeup and dirt that accumulate on your face is one of the most important, and easiest, things you can do for your skin. Pick a gentle cleanser that’s as natural as possible. Your moisturizer and repair cream or serum choice will depend on your skin type and any issues that you deal with, such as discoloration or acne.

Prevention, we’re talking SPF here, is another must for youthful, healthy skin that lasts. Without proper protection, damage from years of unprotected time in the sun eventually shows up in the form of wrinkles, sun spots, and uneven pigmentation.

All said, a basic routine like this would take about 10 minutes and is extremely affordable. And who doesn’t like an affordable way to look and feel amazing?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

7. Set a new goal

There are those times in life when you feel like you’re just floating around. Setting a goal will help you stay focused and motivated. This could be something you want to achieve in your personal life or at work, or it may be something you’d like to scratch off your bucket list. How you go about accomplishing your goal is equally as important as the goal you set.

A lot of times, we set a goal and a deadline, but we neglect the schedule. “The problem with this is that if we don’t magically hit the arbitrary timeline that we set in the beginning, then we feel like a failure … even if we are better off than we were at the start,” says James Clear, author of Transform Your Habits.

Set up your goal-reaching calendar so that your focus is on making small, but consistent, steps. If you’re diligent about hitting those mini-marks, chances are you’ll have no problems accomplishing what you set out to do, without a big, daunting deadline looming over you.

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