Friday, July 19, 2024

Spring Clean Your Life, Not Just Your Home

HomeFeaturesSpring Clean Your Life, Not Just Your Home

by Devan Stuart Lesley

March 19 marks the official first day of spring 2024! That means it’s time for spring cleaning. Decluttering the home has long been associated with the “renewal” season and brings multiple benefits. Studies have linked a tidier home with reduced levels of stress and depression; higher quality sleep; an enhanced sense of control and ability to concentrate; and healthier, more active lifestyles that release more endorphins and burn calories. 

 But it’s not simply about organizing your closet or emptying that junk drawer. It can apply to many other aspects of daily life including your digital intake, social connections, emotional state and financial concerns. It all starts with asking yourself, “Why?”

“We think of decluttering as a process of letting go. But that’s very mid-story,” says Heather Alice Shea, Founder and CEO of Jacksonville Beach-based Atmana Academy, a life coach training school. “Nobody’s asking, ‘How the hell did it get here? Why is it in my life?’ We have to become increasingly aware of what we allow into our lives. That’s the true beginning of decluttering.”

Here are five ways to declutter beyond your home:    

Digital Devices and Accounts

An easy first step is to clean up your computer desktop by organizing files and deleting unnecessary ones. Sort through emails and unsubscribe from newsletters or promotions you no longer find useful. Also clear out old messages and files from your phone to free up space. Close any accounts that you no longer use including old email addresses and unused memberships. And update passwords to protect your online security. 

Social Media

Regularly addressing your social media habits and connections has become crucial to your overall mental and emotional wellbeing. 

“People have a love-hate relationship with screen time,” Shea says, noting that many people use social media for work and for its positive aspects, such as staying in contact with friends. But the negative can seep in, too, including the tendency to compare our lives with the images others post that may not reflect reality. Not to mention, “rabbit hole” nature of social media can prove an unproductive time suck. Shea recommends limiting the number of times you log into social media daily and set a timer for each session. 

Unfollow business or interest accounts that no longer align with your interests or values. And remember that cyberbullies come in all ages. Don’t be afraid to delete them. 

Real-World Relationships

The same sentiment goes for offline relationships that no longer serve you. Distance yourself from people who make you feel drained and prioritize spending time with those who bring positivity and support into your life.

Finances

Review your budget and expenses to identify areas where you can cut back or save more effectively. Financial Educator Kristeen Khountham, with an office on Jacksonville’s Northside, recommends looking first at our eating out expenses. 

“People tend to spend a lot more money on eating out than they realize,” Khountham says, noting that when she advises clients to print out their bank accounts and highlight all food items, they almost invariably mark grocery store transactions but not restaurant visits. 

She also recommends taking a hard look at your debt, particularly credit cards and loans, as well as your investments. Take note of interest rates, terms and conditions on each account and make moves to improve where you can. For instance, if you have a history of on-time payments, credit card companies often will lower your rate with a simple, polite phone call. 

Also crucial is organizing financial documents. Khountham recommends keeping hard copies of documents collected in one spot; a spreadsheet with account information, logins and contacts explaining all that’s included; and digital copies saved in at least two places in case the physical files are destroyed and/or a computer or hard drive crashes.

Distractions

Visualizing the life you truly want is the first step here. Once you’ve done that, minimize or eliminate anything in your life that doesn’t contribute toward that goal lifestyle. 

But don’t stop with a single spring clean! 

“I assess this stuff in my own life every 30 days,” Shea says. “Once a month, I burn my calendar to the ground and ask myself, ‘Do I still need to be spending time on this? Is this person still serving me and my goals? Do I need to change anything based on its impact on my day-to-day life?’ I recommend everyone do the same every 30 to 60 days.” 

The benefit? “This type of decluttering allows us the time and energy for what truly matters. It’s the single greatest thing you can do to increase your overall wellbeing and happiness in life.”   

Visit Heather Alice Shea, Atmana Academy

Kristeen Khountham: 

https://wealthwave.com/kristeenkhountham/
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