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Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning Guide for the Motivationally Challenged


by Barbara Early

I hate spring cleaning. With. A. Passion.Unfortunately, I also have an aversion to squalor, so I thought I’d share my tips—not cleaning tips really, but motivational tips that have helped me get to work. (Now, if you’re the type of get-up-and-go person who is now sitting in a sparkling clean house, feel free to jump to the comments and leave your favorite cleaning tips.)

But if you’ve been putting off some of those seasonal chores, consider whether there’s a reason. Winter blahs can be hard to shake. Part of that may be a deficiency of vitamin D. Recent studies concluded that anywhere from 59 to 85 percent of the population has some level of vitamin D deficiency. And since our bodies synthesize vitamin D using sunlight, those of us in northern climates will feel the most profound effects—especially after a long winter indoors.

Those deficiencies may cause lethargy and depression that hinder the drive to get up and get things done. Over time, it can also lead to osteoporosis and increased likelihood of dementia in the elderly, so consider getting tested. And if you’re deficient like me, a supplement can help. I recently started taking a fish oil supplement with D3 (Vitamin D is fat soluble), and finally feel like I’m waking up. Of course, that trip to Palm Beach didn’t hurt either.

Vitamin D deficiency isn’t the only thing that can zap your energy. Low iron and/or B-12 can lead to anemia. Thyroid dysfunction and sleep disorders can leave you with little energy and motivation. So before you decide you’re just a couch potato, see if there’s a medical reason for the lethargy.

The next obstacle that can defeat my cleaning impulse is the feeling of being overwhelmed. After a winter of hibernation, I can barely recognize parts of my house. The bonus room that leads to the garage looks like a hoarder moved in when I wasn’t looking. It would be really easy for me to pop my vitamin D, turn on my favorite cleaning music, take one look at that clutter, and then bolt the door and dive into my favorite book. It’s too much.Those deficiencies may cause lethargy and depression that hinder the drive to get up and get things done. Over time, it can also lead to osteoporosis and increased likelihood of dementia in the elderly, so consider getting tested. And if you’re deficient like me, a supplement can help. I recently started taking a fish oil supplement with D3 (Vitamin D is fat soluble), and finally feel like I’m waking up. Of course, that trip to Palm Beach didn’t hurt either.

Vitamin D deficiency isn’t the only thing that can zap your energy. Low iron and/or B-12 can lead to anemia. Thyroid dysfunction and sleep disorders can leave you with little energy and motivation. So before you decide you’re just a couch potato, see if there’s a medical reason for the lethargy.

So I take a 3x5 card and write down ten things I most want to accomplish. I try to make the tasks manageable. Cleaning the garage may be too large a task, but cleaning one wall of the garage might not be. Or one shelf—it really depends on your age, health, and energy level. Since clutter is an issue, I try to throw away, recycle (or set aside for donation) twenty things—and do that every day. It might take a little longer to get to a clean house, but I’m told hunting season for dust bunnies lasts well beyond spring. Of course, if hubby should spot my to-do list on the counter and tackle a few tasks, I certainly won’t begrudge him the opportunity.

Deciding what to keep and what to toss can be difficult. Some questions to ask myself are, “Do I love it? Do I need it? Does it make my life better? Would I even miss it if it disappeared?” And while that may help me decide what to do with that adapter for my old cell phone or the beverage containers my daughter used to take to kindergarten (she’s 20), similar questions can help eliminate those things which clutter up my spiritual life.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)

That activity, that habit, that attitude. Does it make my life better? Does it slow me down? Does it really please God? And out should go anger and bitterness, and anything else that clutters up my life.

Question of the day: Do you have any cleaning or motivational tips to share?

Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and facebook scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. She taught secondary English and science for several years in a Christian school before home schooling her daughter successfully through high school. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy, and was a double finalist in the 2010 ACFW Genesis competition. When not reading or writing, she enjoys cooking, crafts, home-improvement projects, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

9 comments:

  1. When I signed up for this date, I didn't realize it would correspond with Good Friday. For those celebrating, have a blessed day. You can always clean later!

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  2. Barb, I like spring cleaning as much as I dislike it. There is the satisfaction of decluttering. But the time it takes . . .

    I like you 3X5 card plan.

    Our neigborhood is having a yard sale later in May. I told hubby this woudl be good motivation to clean out the closets.

    Cleaning motivational tips? Well, I tell my kids there's no sense complaining about the work that has to be done. Complaining only makes it last longer.

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  3. Gina!!
    It was getting lonely in here. I guess everyone is out at Good Friday services and scarfing down fish fries and hot cross buns.

    You're kids will appreciate those lessons when they're older. I often regret not learning many of those things in childhood. Or am I complaining again?

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  4. Hey Barb! This was a great post. I am so unmotivated and so exhausted lately.

    Sorry I'm late. I had to work today, and it has been busy from the moment I walked in the door. Maybe that's why I'm not motivated to do spring cleaning. But I think I'll blame it on the Vitamin D deficiency. :-) Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny and warm (finally!) So hopefully I can soak up some of those vitamins.

    Happy Easter, everyone!

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  5. Suzie--

    I'm looking for some nicer weather this week too. It's about time for spring to show up.

    It used to be that all businesses were closed on Good Friday. Not so much anymore. Although I have a friend who made it all the way to work to discover she was the only one there!

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  6. I prefer fall cleaning. In the spring (when and if it finally decides to show up) I want to get outside and clean up all the mess left behind by winter. Snow hides a multitude of flaws...

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  7. Blessed Good Friday.

    I get so overwhelmed by clutter and fatigue. I'm going to look into the additional supplements, and I love the 3x5 card idea.

    Thanks for the post, Barb!

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  8. Niki--
    I hear you. I've been splitting my time between the indoor and outdoor projects. I'd much rather be finishing up the outside, but the weather has been decidedly uncooperative.

    Susanne--
    I think 3x5 cards are great because they help keep the task list reasonable. And I always have 3x5 cards on hand. But usually I'm plotting murders on them--fictional, of course. I guess I need to be careful not to get them mixed up.

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  9. I'm not very good at spring cleaning. Usually company is a better impetus to clean for me. I declutter regularly, though. And this winter I decided I needed to spend at least 20 minutes a day outside unless it was pouring rain. So, I feel pretty good, but I still don't want to clean. When the kids get out of school we'll probably do a big cleaning week.

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