• Dr. Jill Bakke

Spring Cleaning!

March! Spring is just around the corner. Are you ready to do some spring cleaning? Most of us think of washing windows and doing the deep cleaning that we tend to let pile up. We clean the ashes out of the fireplace and scrub the hidden places in our house, but what about us? Are we spring cleaning ourselves?

I tend to slip into hibernation mode during the cold winter months. I want to curl up under the covers early in the evening and read a book or watch TV. I go out and shovel the snow, but I don’t want to go traipsing around in it. I get lazy and procrastinate. I need to do some spring cleaning of Jill.

What would that include you ask? Well, finishing up some projects long delayed like the photos I want to get into digital form, the book that has one last chore before it goes to the printer, and cleaning out any winter clutter in my mind. That would be any negative thoughts.

Finding solutions for problems can’t be found when I have negative thoughts. Instead I need to congratulate myself for the progresses I have made, perhaps even make a collage or post a list I can look out when I tend to think that I have accomplished little. I will add even what some think of as the smallest gain, like losing five pounds, or keeping current on my personal correspondence. After all, we need to look at all positive gains, the composite, not just the big things we think we have accomplished.

Here is a sketchy list of some of ideas of things to unclutter:

Unnecessary things. Not only possessions we no longer like or use, but our tendency to say yes to things that we have no need to do and things we do because we think we should. Now I don’t mean we don’t make supper. Or we don’t take care of our elderly parent. Do you serve in a volunteer position you don’t enjoy? Can people talk you into things you don’t want to do? But that is only part of looking at our clutter. We need to reevaluate the value of our actions against the time, trouble, and stress that “doing” creates. For me, that meant addressing why I was still ironing my bed sheets. It sounds silly but that was a big one for me to let go of. I loved a bed with crisp sheets, but when I realized how much time and energy I expended ironing king size sheets, I stopped. I simply quit, uncluttering that time, releasing me from its use of my energy and time.

Perfection. Do you have to do everything yourself because no one else can do it “perfectly”? Let go of perfection. Be willing to let others help. You will free up time to do things you love and it may provide others with income (if you hire the task out) or a sense of belonging and growth if you task a child or family member to the chore. Life is NOT perfect. We are NOT perfect. Stop expecting perfection.

Debt! Get the credit cards paid off and keep them paid up. Free yourself from financial stress.

Unforgiveness. It bleeds our soul of peace. It takes energy to be unforgiving. Forgiveness is for us more than the person we forgive. Forgiveness does not excuse the behavior. Forgiveness prevents the behavior from destroying our heart.

Procrastination. This is a big one for me. I tend to procrastinate when I do not think I know what to do next, the task appears too large, or I don’t want to do it but know I must get it done. Yet, when I take the small step of just starting it, the task moves swiftly and in good order. Take that first step.

I think you get the idea. Happy spring cleaning. I am starting to do mine

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