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Get the Junk OUT!

by Marissa on April 17, 2012

Spring represents new beginnings and as the season blossoms, it’s important to prepare the body, mind and spirit to remove the waste it has accumulated during the Winter months. You may have noticed cravings for lighter, greener foods, a sudden urge to re-organize your refrigerator or unexplained motivation to purge your closets. I’ve enlisted some expert guest bloggers to help me explore all of the various ways to spring clean.

Have you ever felt that instant connection to someone? Either upon meeting in person or connecting online? After meeting Erin Haslag, I had that feeling of true alignment and I knew I had to invite her to guest blog. As a fellow wellness warrior and blogger, she’s also the brains — and the beauty– behind Well in LA. She’s breaking it down for us today, because sometimes spring cleaning isn’t about getting rid of the tangible stuff we’ve accumulated but about coming to terms with the internal clutter we’re holding onto.

Guest Post by Erin Haslag of Well in L.A.

I have a confession. I hate STUFF. Clutter. Whatever you want to call it. Nothing brings out my Type-A darkside quite like little piles of things stacked around the house or a sink full of dishes. Sleeves rolled up, hair piled into a bun that toes the line between sexy and frumpy with a deeply furrowed brow as I survey the landscape of my home. You know the look, ladies. My partner is the sentimental and nostalgic type who cannot bear to part with things, like the boxers his third girlfriend from second period class in high school gave him over 12 years ago. This does not help the situation or my quest for less in my dwelling.

Our apartment has ample room for two, but my bare minimalism and Type-A personality wants a place for everything and everything in its place. My skin begins to crawl when things begin peeping out of our closets or cabinets no longer close flush to the wall. In December of last year I said “enough!” and had one of those “come to Jesus” talks about the clutter in my sweetest and most convincing voice. Four carloads later we were the proud renters of a Public Storage unit, a necessity for survival in urban cities with rental dwellings.

I came home and surveyed our now less cluttered apartment, still feeling “ugh”. All that shuffling and clearing should have led to a feeling of accomplishment. I slowly came to the realization that the stuff was just stuff and I needed to come to grips with me (after all, it’s not like a I live in an episode of TLC’s “Hoarders”). What was really bothering me was happening internally. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was so I found a physical outlet to express my frustrations. Have you been here?

It was time for an internal spring-cleaning. I needed to get all the STUFF off my chest that was bothering me in order to truly feel free of the clutter. I began to write down what it is I wanted and assess the roadblocks – namely me – standing in my way. My spring-cleaning methods are for targeting internal clutter. Check in with yourself every 3-4 months, not just the springtime to keep things from bursting at the seams.

The “9-5”: How are things going with your career? Be honest. We spend so much time at or engrossed in our jobs that finding joy in what you do is critical to your long-term health. If you aren’t happy, what would make the situation better? Write out a wish list for your work day and begin to tackle the most feasible solutions to increase your happy factor. Don’t be afraid to have discussions with your employer. The worst they can say is “no”.

Shake It: Our beautiful bodies are made to shake head-to-toe and if you neglect finding time for movement, you begin to feel … icky. If you’re bored with your fitness, find ways to interject life. A seasonal sport? A new routine? Changing the time of day? Getting outdoors? Working out with a friend? Interject variety into your workouts and keep moving.

The Heart: A few years ago I had an assignment to chart how I felt on a scale from 1-10 at various points throughout the day (yes, these are the awesome homework assignments of grad psychology students!). Through this exercise in emotions, I began to become more conscientious of my highs, lows and subsequently more in control. A few years later (and to this day) I began to actively practice giving gratitude for the blessings and people in my life. Being genuinely thankful is one of the best things you can do for your emotional health.

The Head: This one is tough. Our headspace is an incredibly stubborn place. We tend to become stuck. I’m a pen-and-paper person when it comes to self-therapy. I write out situations in life that are bothering me and then make a “yes/no” column to the right of my list. I ask myself if I have control of the situation. Not surprisingly, the majority of my tally marks reside in the “no” column. This exercise may seem silly, but it has helped me let go of situations that are beyond my control. The result is more headspace for the important things, like tackling a creative project, writing or simply relaxing.

Big Picture Goals: Maybe you write your goals out. Or have a vision board. A bucket list. Whatever your preferred method of expressing your big dreams in life, you must get them out of your head and on a medium where you can see them. For most of my personal and business goals, I write out a list at the beginning of each month and have a break-down plan for tackling them at the start of each week. Find a method that works for you by asking people you admire how they tackle their goals. Test it. See if it works. Tweak and implement in a way that suits your style.

Love & Relationships: This one is super-important and tied to every other area on this “spring cleaning” checklist. My thoughts on love and relationships are simple: If you aren’t taking care of the most important person in your life, why should anyone else do so? Love you, make you a priority and take care of the business of caring for you. Self-love allows you to offer the type of love and friendship your desire in your life.

If you still feel the need to scrub floor-to-ceiling, donate your wares, store belongings or re-purpose things after your internal spring-cleaning inventory, I won’t stop you. There is something wonderful about accomplishing physical tasks. Real Simple, Whole Living and Unclutterer are my go-to resources for tackling the external world’s clutter mess. The rest, ahem – the internal spring clean-up, is my responsibility.

About Erin Haslag and Well in L.A.:
Balancing work, life, love and all the in-between when reaching for our big dreams and goals can be overwhelming. Erin of WELL in L.A. works with entrepreneurs, business owners and Big Dreamers everywhere to help them launch their big idea AND make their wellness a priority each step of the way. Join the conversation on Twitter with @WELLinLA (#BeWELL), join the blog conversations or be inspired by the WELL Facebook community! Life is short. Live it WELL!

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