By Abigail Brenner
When we think of renewal we often think of rebirth; something old dies and something new is born. This year, winter seems to be hanging on, unwilling to give way to spring and the promise of new life. Although we have a little way to go to really enjoy the warmth and light that spring brings, we can still begin to think about what we can do to renew ourselves and to make new the life we live in.
I love writing about this topic because it’s so hopeful. By allowing our lives to mimic the cycles of nature we are reminded that no matter what happens to us there are always opportunities to shift a situation, to optimize our chances, and/or to start all over. Spring is a wonderful time of the year to consider who we are and how we want to be. It’s a great time to consider making changes and to set the course for the year moving forward.
Here are 5 ways to help you regroup, reprioritize, renew, and perhaps, re-invent yourself. Many of these are actual things you can do, while others are ways to “re-think” who you are and what you want to be.
1. Streamline Your Life.
Although not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a concept that has been recently re-energized and re-imagined in the popular movement of “decluttering" your life. There are two big areas to consider.
De-clutter Your Living Space. Do you use everything you have? If not, get rid of anything you no longer need. “Someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure.” Donate clothing and household items that are in reasonably good condition to an organization or charity, and books to your local library or hospital. Learn to do with less. In fact, some people make a conscious decision to limit all purchases for a period of time. More drastically, some people elect to downsize their living space, economizing on a smaller home or apartment.
Clear out mental and emotional clutter. Why not use this season of renewal as a reminder to get rid of things that are weighing you down and consuming your time and energy? What do you value most in your life? How much quality time do you spend with the people and the things you care about most? What is the best way to use your time to create the life you want to have?
2. Begin something new.
3. Start a Practice.
A new discipline will ensure that you invite mindfulnesss into your life. A daily practice affords you a timeout from your every day routine. This is a gift to yourself; a commitment and promise to honor who you are.
4. Be in Nature.
The outside world connects us to the cycle of life and the meaning of the seasons. Sometimes, when the world is still and Nature is dormant we need to be quiet and still as well. When the world comes back to life we are reminded that what has been still and quiet within us is ready to germinate and grow again. The cycle of life is the best reminder that nothing stays still, that life is always in constant flux, and that change is the norm.
5. Take a trip.
Travel to some new place—country, state, or some place you’ve never visited close to where you live. It doesn’t matter how far away you go; that’s not the point. The point is to find the newness within yourself as you react to a place you’ve never been before. Do you feel excited, anxious, uncomfortable, free, or anything else?