Once upon a time I would flush my system out with a deep herbal cleanse at the first sign of spring. I would chug down maple syrup and cayenne pepper cocktails for a week while fighting back nasty cases of the dizzies as I envisioned myself frolicking through meadows of wildflowers donning squeaky clean pores and other bodily vehicles of elimination.
But due to back-to-back pregnancies alternating with stints of front-to-front nursings, I haven’t participated in a dietary detox in over eight years. Instead I’m mindful to keep the seasonal eggnog lattes and late night chip forays to a minimum and spring detox in other areas in my life.
I adopt a simplicity detox; I flush out the complicated.
Upon first sightings of crocus, I draw my attention to the excess of stuff that has been sneaking into our lives while we were enjoying our long winter’s nap. With removal or minimizing of this stuff (which comes in many forms) we make room for what matters most to our family; slow living, choosing quality over quantity and more time to allow for deeper connections to grow.
Here are three major areas I like to shine my simplicity-seeking light on this time of year:
Our Physical Surroundings
Imagine half of the clutter from your home magically vamoosing into thin air (and not because of a break-in). How might that feel?
Where do you feel tension melting away from considering this minimalist scenario? Envision how much easier and quicker it would be to tidy up with a little less clutter around. Imagine less landing pads for dust fairies to land on and squabbles over ‘mine’ minimized due to less belongings. Finally, eyesores washed away from line of vision.
My guess is, and experience proves, even the quickest run through the house with a donation box and garbage bag in hand is equivalent to about a half hour full scalpel massage. Clear out all that you have out grown as a family, is no longer fun to look at or just simply no longer aligns with your family’s values (if it ever has held that status; but thanks anyway, Uncle Who Has Not A Kid Yet).
Deactivating Extra-curricular Activities
How is the course of your week flowing? Are outside commitments piling up then spilling into precious family time? Are too many lessons, practices and meetings cramping out the vision you once held of a simple, slow and luscious childhood for your kids and personal downtime for yourself?
Take a moment to write out the activities that are currently in rotation in a typical week for you, your partner and the kids. If you see many hopping busy days in a row it’s time to pull on your ‘I wear the slow living pants in this family’ pants and take a few of crazy-making items off the weekly agenda.
The deep and delicious connections typically happen in those moments when there is nowhere to go or be but with each other.
Now is a prime time (no pun intended) to take a fresh peek into how much screen time might have slipped through the drafty cracks during your hibernation. When cabin fever strikes it is tempting to keep feeding the dvd with videos or tv shows to keep the kiddos entertained and looking adorable with the fireside-like glow of the screen off their cherubic faces.
Are the requests for a movie popping up more frequent than you are comfortable with now that you would prefer to see them scamper across the freshly green grasses like little lambs? Or maybe a video game gifted from a well-meaning relative at Christmas is getting harder and harder to pry from chubby, repetitive motion inflicted yet surprisingly strong fingers?
Either way; remember to be gentle on yourself. The first step is to bring awareness to the discomfort sponsored by this screen time situation. The next step; imagine how simplicity will flow with cutting out, or at least minimizing, this invasive aspect of modern life.
This one might present you with the most dramatic withdrawal symptoms (depending on the age and current exposure levels) from your little ones (or yourself) but remember ~ you and your partner call the simple living shots.
Resistance to change will be met by everyone in the family, including you, and is a totally normal part of the cleansing process. Once you have moved through the change process and then review what works, or what can be tweaked to make work, the smallest of steps will move you toward the seductive simplicity of spring living you have been imagining all winter long.
And what to do with all this freshly squeezed space in your life that you just created?
Here are some simplicity-rich infusions to supplement this cleanse:
:: Offer the kids a corner of the garden to call their own and to help them plant a few of their favourite veggies or flowers in
:: Implement a new family theme night (pizza night, reading out loud night, puzzle night)
:: Craft a spring nature table together and then fill it with daily walk findings
:: Press flowers into the biggest book you can find in the house then remember to pull them out in the fall for crafty gifts
:: Begin a new morning ritual (rosemary essential oil infused face wash, morning verse, breakfast fixings smorgasbord)
:: Dive deep into a fairy tale (read it every day for a week or two, draw pictures together from it, engage in crafts related to it)
:: Spend longer amounts of time outside by taking some typically indoor activities out there like painting, eating, reading, daydreaming…
:: Creep outside more in general (hikes, bonfires, picnics)
Take a moment to think up one small change to churn out the excess that doesn’t belong in your carefully crafted home life. Clean out your family love tracts with this one simple intention and be back on the path that nourishes and gently guides us closer to our consciously chosen family values. You’ll be blissfully frolicking through spring meadow with cleared out simplicity pipes in no time!
Kathy Stowell likes to scamper through the meadows of the small hobby farm she lives on with her husband, two small kids, mini-dachshund, giant cat, six chickens, rooster, milk cow and her sweet baby, Buttercup. She offers coaching and online workshops to help mamas achieve their maximum simplicity-induced bliss ~ including her freebie; 10 Days to Get You from Crummy to Yummy, Mummy!