We asked Lucy at Green Salon, the UK's first sustainable lifestyle consultancy, to share her top 5 tips for bringing the practice of mindfulness into spring cleaning. We hope you enjoy her tips as much as we did!
At Green Salon, we’re big fans of the Japanese practice of Oosouji, which literally translates as “big cleaning”. The Japanese do this at the end of the year and they use it not just to sweep away dust but to sweep away any negative energy from the past. It’s a way of decluttering their homes, their hearts and their minds.
We think it’s a useful principle when we’re thinking about spring cleaning and how to turn it from a laborious chore into a way of calming us down and, as Marie Kondo, the Japanese declutterer would say “bringing us joy”.
Here our founder, Lucy Johnson, a sustainability coach and psychotherapist, gives her 5 tips for some mindful spring cleaning:
Put some meaning into your cleaning
As so often in life, mindset is key. If we approach spring cleaning as drudgery, it’ll feel like that. Instead, see if you can think of it as a way of taking care of yourself and your family. Research consistently shows that if we approach our work with gratitude and compassion, we end up feeling more content. It may not immediately strike you to be grateful when polishing taps, but do you really want to wrestle with the mental strife of resentment?
Decluttering your home declutters your mind
We all know the feeling: our home is full of clutter and it’s stressing us out. And it’s backed up by research. A 2009 study found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in parents whose home environment was cluttered. So before you get the mop out, start by sorting through your belongings and seeing what can be regifted, donated, reused, sold or recycled.
When you clean, simply clean
Recent research by two Harvard psychologists found what many more contemplative cultures have long known, that we’re happiest when we’re thinking about what we’re doing. This is the basis for mindfulness, that we focus on the here and now: how it feels when the iron glides over a shirt, or the glint of a beautifully polished tap. If your mind strays, don’t worry, simply bring your focus back to the sounds, smells and senses of what you’re doing in the present moment.
A great way to anchor ourselves in the present moment is by using our breath. Experienced meditators use the breath to bring their minds back in focus. To make breathing even more pleasurable how about using deliciously-scented cleaning products for your spring cleaning? Or use aromatherapy: lavender, ylang-ylang, rose and Bergamot orange all have calming properties.
Make your home a beautiful space
Setting an intention to make your home a calm and beautiful space is also a valuable motivator for spring cleaning. Envisaging a decluttered, shiny clean kitchen is more likely to make it happen than deciding to check out some Instagram reels to distract you from the task at hand. Finding pretty jars and storage containers makes it easier to store the inevitable clutter. And don’t forget to remind yourself of the feeling of satisfaction you’ll have when you sit back and admire the results.
For more information on creating a calmer, greener life visit www.greensalon.co.uk