Relax. Reorganise. Refocus. How to spring clean your mind and your business
The cherry tree is bursting with new growth, the daffodils are blooming. The clocks are changing, the days growing longer. And we’re at peak creme egg season – all the tests for Springtime are coming in loud and clear. I have heard the call and already started to spring clean my home; packing away the cuddly blankets, the cosy candles and cwtchy jumpers. I’ve thrown open the doors and windows, changed the air, blown away the Winter and welcomed in the fresh and sparkly Spring. Many Persian households will have just celebrated Nowruz, or Persian New Year, which this year marks not only a new year, but a new century in the Persian calendar. The festival celebrates renewal and healing – things we could all use after the year that has passed.
Decluttering the house, slimming down our wardrobe, deep cleaning our workspace – we know it brings a sense of satisfaction. I try to remember this feeling and in those moments when I feel overwhelmed I quite often pick up the hoover and furiously eradicate dust from the lounge. The combination of a little bit of physical activity and the immediate satisfaction of clean carpets lifts me out of my mood.
We can reinforce this link between decluttering and our wellbeing even further by extending our spring cleaning regime beyond our physical space to include our minds as well. Just like when we organise the kitchen drawer it becomes easier to find the garlic press, when we declutter our mind we become more efficient, more creative and more analytical, as well as happier and calmer. Tara Swart puts it neatly in an article in Harpers Bazaar:
"Simplification is one of the foundations of mental clarity. Paring back the superfluous or unnecessary things in your life can help to conserve precious cognitive resource for the thoughts and decisions that really matter"
If the thought of decluttering your mind feels too much at the moment; you’re too busy, preoccupied, you can’t afford the downtime, that’s ok, there are some small wins you can do right away to start the spring clean.
Get a good night’s sleep
Easy for me to say, right? If you’re struggling with getting to sleep, try these breathing exercises and see if that helps – remember to cut down on your screen time before bed too.
But I think lots of us don’t necessarily have a problem getting to sleep; we just don’t value it as much as we should. Apart from waking up feeling refreshed, a good night’s sleep is really important for a healthy brain; it’s essential for forming and improving memory, our ability to handle stress and that prolonged sleep deprivation can even cause lasting damage to our brains and bodies. If you’re still not convinced that getting a good night’s sleep is more important than one more episode of WandaVision or whatever box-set you’re binging at the moment, then take advice from the American Sleep Association.
I know this is a sore-subject for some people, desperately waiting for gyms to reopen, but it need not be a two hour spin class to bring some benefits. Anything that gets you up and active is going to do wonders for your state of mind; even if it’s a short walk outside, some vigorous gardening, or dusting off that Anne Diamond workout video.
If you’re already leading an active lifestyle, change it up, try an online yoga class or run a new route. Remember exercising is good for your brain as well as your body.
I’m losing some of you now aren’t I. Starting to feel like something you might read in the dentist’s waiting room? I’m not going to pretend I’m up at sunrise every morning for a shot of apple cider vinegar and an hour of saluting the sun and chanting. Let’s be real. But besides the bullshit, there is real value in taking a few minutes, whenever you can, to be still, be quiet and reflect. There are apps that can help, and it gets easier to do and more effective the more you do it, so don’t be too quick to abandon it if the first time feels awkward.
Some of our favourite apps and other resources:
Headspace – As well as guided meditations and mindfulness, the Headspace app has tools to help you sleep better at night and move more during the day.
Things – An app to Get Stuff Done. A cluttered to do list is no use to anyone, this app helps you plan and focus your tasks to make real progress.
FitnessBlender – A husband and wife team who have shared hundreds of workout videos on their YouTube channel for free.
Emkfit – If that all is a little too earnest for you, try this YouTube channel. Think dance, think exercise. Think dancercise.
It gets addictive doesn’t it? Decluttering. If these first steps have given you the bug, then take a deeper dive, and really spring clean your mind – recentre yourself, your values, your vision. And why stop there? Maybe this is the opportunity to spring clean your storytelling too. It’s so easy to fall into habits, doing marketing and communications becomes a routine; we run a social media campaign for International Women’s Day, enter some product awards, write some thought leadership – before we know it, we’re on autopilot, doing marketing by numbers, and it’s lost all purpose.
Spring gives us the perfect opportunity to break those habits and refresh. Take time out to remind yourself of your purpose, your uniqueness, why your story matters. Try this on for size from our very own Andy Williams and Sharon Tanton; The power of the founder’s story. And how to write yours. There is power, purpose and purity in the story of the founding of your organisation. That simple story, well told, can be the antidote to the clutter of a chaotic marketing calendar. Find that story. Hold it. Let it spark joy. And use it to guide what you do next.