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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Spring is a great time for a reboot

SPRING cleaning is an annual ritual to spruce up the home, but have you thought that a mental and emotional overhaul could be just as beneficial?

“This is a great time of year to look at how you can refresh your approach to life,” says Louise Presley-Turner, life coach and author of self-help manual The Game Of Life.

“It could be trying new ways to tackle unsatisfactory ‘corners’ of your life, curbing bad lifestyle habits, or perhaps sorting out any niggles with family and friends so you clear out any emotional clutter.

“All those things can hold you back, affect your happiness and affect your general sense of wellbeing.”

So don’t just blow away the cobwebs in your rooms, follow Presley-Turner’s nine-point plan to reboot the way you think.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR MIND

Transform negative internal voices in your head. “Many of us are limited by negative self-talk, which may be a result of what we’ve been told about ourselves during our childhood or caused by life experiences. I call it the ‘inner critic’.” says Presley-Turner.

SORT IT OUT: Make a habit of facing up to those thoughts, challenging them and retraining your mind to be more positive, she advises.

“Say to yourself, ‘That’s not true, be quiet’ every time a negative thought like, ‘You’ll never do that’ occurs and you’ll find they’ll become less frequent.”

Encourage a positive inner voice to give you messages such as, ‘I can,’ ‘I am successful’ and ‘I will try’.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR PRIORITIES

Allowing yourself to be at the bottom of the list for attention and care will only result in leaving you feeling tired.

“If you find yourself saying ‘yes’ when you know you ought to be saying ‘no’ it probably means you’re not using your time well,” says Presley-Turner.

“Pleasing everyone – work, friends and family – isn’t just impossible it saps your energy and wellbeing.”

SORT IT OUT: List each area of your life in order of importance, then analyse roughly how much time you want to spend on each section to help you recognise when your time or emotional boundaries are overstretched.

Also, list enjoyable activities you would like to do. Each week, value yourself by choosing to do one thing from the list.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Passion and intimacy can naturally wane in long relationships as routine and the demands of family life take their toll.

“Everyday life can mean you gradually become less of a priority to each other,” says Presley-Turner.

SORT IT OUT: Ensure you communicate every day, even for just five minutes, and really listen to what each other is saying,” she says.

“Respect your partner even when you disagree, and never belittle them in front of others.”

Get physical: If you rarely have physical contact it can be a sign that your relationship has gone off the boil. “Hold hands in public, spontaneously offer hugs and kiss, and regularly tell your partner ‘I love you,’” she suggests.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR HEALTH

Feeling physically less than 100 per cent, or bothered by neglected health issues, will impact on your life and wellbeing.

SORT IT OUT: “Take responsibility for your health. If necessary, make appointments to see a doctor for a general health check-up so you know if ailments are affecting your outlook or energy levels,” says Presley-Turner.

Boost motivation, she suggests, by hiring a personal trainer, joining a slimming club, and treat yourself to a spa or a weekend away twice a year so you regularly recharge your batteries physically and mentally.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR FINANCES

Money worries are stressful but organising finances will help you lead a more balanced, harmonious existence, says Presley-Turner.

SORT IT OUT: “Analyse your last bank statement by splitting spending into three categories so you have a clear picture of where and how you spend your money,” she advises.

Mark household bills which must be paid, such as a mortgage, with the letter ‘A’; services which are a necessity but not crucial, eg mobile phone bills, Sky TV, with a ‘B’; and mark a ‘C’ on luxury items such as DVDs, shoes, takeaways.

Consider the ‘C’ items and identify three ways you can cut back on those in a week; consider the ‘A’ and ‘B’ items and investigate where and how savings could be made by perhaps negotiating better deals.

SPRING CLEAN THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE

Are there people in your life who consistently drain your energy?

“These are ‘energy vampires’ – people that are always in some kind of crisis or another and love to bombard you with their problems,” says Presley-Turner.

“Life’s hard enough without dragging someone else’s baggage around too.”

SORT IT OUT: “List individuals who sap your energy and don’t feel guilty about this, and then list others who lift your spirits when you’re in their company,” she advises.

“Spending as much time as you can with the latter, and avoiding negative conversations can have an amazingly positive effect on your wellbeing and general happiness.”

SPRING CLEAN YOUR VISION

Regularly breaking promises to yourself about making life changes can lead to a lowering sense of disappointment in yourself and a general feeling of failure.

SORT IT OUT: Set specific and measurable goals, Presley-Turner advises, by identifying up to three areas of your life where improvements are most needed.

Set a goal within each area such as saving £1,000 a year, putting passion back into my relationship or changing career, she suggests, and write the goals on a card which you display prominently.

“Take five active steps every week to move you towards each of those goals,” she says.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR ROUTINE

Hectic lifestyles can make it seem impossible to find time to refresh mind and body.

SORT IT OUT: “Early morning is the best time for both body and spirit as you’re rested, fresh, and the world around you is probably at its calmest,” advises Presley-Turner

Set the alarm half-an-hour earlier, she says, and use this extra time to meditate, do gentle exercise, or simply sit and have breakfast in the garden.

Fill your “sleep tank” by having two early nights each week to boost energy levels.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR CAREER

Although we spend most of our lives working, many of us unnecessarily tolerate unfulfilling or unsuitable jobs because we can’t see a way to change them,” says Presley-Turner.

SORT IT OUT: “List your likes and dislikes, passions and values, talents and abilities,” she advises.

“Take an objective look at your current job – how many of your qualities does it match and use. Friends may also help you evaluate this.”

For a career change: clarify options by listing “pie-in-the-sky” ambitions and more realistic ones. Research each, considering how suitable you already are for a career and what more you may need such as training.

Seek advice from those already in that “wished-for” job and see if their contacts could help you. Improve current employment by identifying five ways you would improve your working week, whether working from home once a week, to getting an out-of-office lunch break. Take action to achieve them.

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