Spring Cleaning in Recovery Revisited

  • I want to revisit the idea of spring cleaning or cleaning house: getting all your ducks in a row and clearing out the old outdated stuff and making room for the new. 

     

    You can achieve an improved version of yourself when you let go of the clutter in your house and your head that ties you to the past.

     

    It might not happen overnight.  Who among us hasn't regretted something that happened 10 or 20 years ago as if it happened just yesterday?

     

    How can we clear our minds and keep our thoughts lean and serene as well as the contents of our drawers and closets?

     

    It takes courage to confront what isn't working.  It takes guts to gut things out and stare at empty space.  Yet all of us need to risk letting go.  Each of us most of all needs to embrace the uncertainty of life and let go of the need to know with certainty that now is the right time to do something or to whittle down our worrisome thoughts.

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    I recommend one strategy: developing a fitness routine.  Aerobic exercise like walking or using a treadmill or Zumba will boost your mood.  Strength training will sharpen your mind and is the number-one tool for losing weight.  Taken together, these activities will activate your motivation.

     

    With a clear head, you can tackle the closets.  If you are unsettled and prize neatness and order, taking fifteen minutes to sort and organize the contents of your closet and drawers, will untangle your thoughts and you will be free and clear of worry.

     

    Also: I recommend keeping on hand  clothes that are only in your current size.  It will be a psychological boost to buy a few new items when you gain or lose weight.

     

    For every one thing you buy, it's a good practice to get rid of or donate one or two old things.  I do this consistently.  Your apartment should not be a graveyard of unused objects gathering dust and creating a hazard in your cabinets and on shelves.

     

    As for the chaos in our heads: it's not ever too late to make a change for the better after years of ingrained habits and automatic negative thoughts. 

     

    Give yourself ample time to tackle your feelings and thoughts.  See a therapist either a talk therapist or cognitive therapist because you could see a significant difference after a few sessions.

     

    Read my SharePosts on Cognitive Therapy Part One and Cognitive Therapy Part Two and on Choosing and Using a Therapist Part One and Choosing and Using a Therapist Part Two.

     

    A round of sessions of therapy could help you conquer internal roadblocks and give you tools to manage your worry better.

     

    An attitude of gratitude will serve you well as you embark on letting go and moving forward and making changes.  Our struggles are here for a purpose: they're the catalyst for change. 

     

    You can accept what happened at the same time you work to change what's going on.

     

    I'm the kind of person who pulls out all the punches when another person disrespects me.  Along the way in your life friends and romantic partners will come to you and exit at the moment they are supposed to enter and leave.

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    The loss of a friendship is always the hardest.  It's easier to donate your old clothes to the Salvation Army than to come to terms with the idea that you will be moving forward alone without this person.

     

    You can start spring cleaning in January to beat the winter blues and blahs so that when spring rolls around you've refreshed your mind and feel rejuvenated.  I also like to do a royal clearing out at the end of summer into the beginning of fall and at the end of winter into the beginning of spring.

     

    I turned 48 this week so I'm 2 years shy of the big 5-0.

     

    As you get older, your point of view will change.  Muhammad Ali  is quoted: "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."

     

    I stand here a changed person because of what happened to me years ago.  It gave me tons more compassion and an open mind to act in the spirit of forgiveness.

     

    Also: I would certainly hope you're not holding on to clothes or thoughts from 20 years ago.

     

    All of us need to clear out our closets and our heads along the way to be able to let new people and experiences into our life.

     

    The act of doing spring cleaning will pop up with more urgency at different times in our lives.  Pay attention to the voice inside that's telling you it's time to let go.

     

    I recommend leaving one era and moving into the next before the era leaves you.

     

    This is where therapy can help you get unstuck and marshal the courage to tackle new goals head-on.

     

    I'd love to hear your comments about the topic of spring cleaning now.

     

    I'm going to explore in the coming months other recovery strategies and techniques.

     

    Stay tuned.

Published On: April 28, 2013