Springing Forward Series Part One: Spring Cleansing

By Maisha Ahmed

spring cleaning illustration

When we hear the word “cleansing”, we usually think of the act of cleaning something tangible. And when it comes to spring, what else could be a better way to define cleansing than through our non-spoken tradition of spring-cleaning? I’ve always wondered why we seem to go through this transformative stage specifically in spring and always contributed to the day being longer and feeling more energized but as you will read in our blog there are also some interesting cultural and religious reasons as well. In addition, we will also address a different kind of cleansing: one that involves cleansing all aspects of a person’s life.

The Various Cultural and Religious Influences on Spring Cleaning

Have you ever wondered what exactly is the purpose of spring cleaning? It’s so fascinating to view the purpose of spring cleaning through the lenses of different cultures. It is said that in Iran, the new year actually begins on March 21. The celebration lasts for two weeks in which symbolism of renewal and optimism is utilized through activities such as burning and planting as well as a thorough reinvention of houses. Everything from rugs to drapes and bedding are often cleaned and changed; the transformation of the house signifies that the new year and spring has arrived. In a similar fashion, the Chinese culture also incorporates cleaning homes as part of their new year tradition. It is seen as a way to get rid of bad luck and welcome good fortune

There is also the Jewish tradition of Passover that also plays a role in spring cleaning. The holiday marks the departure of the Jews from Egypt. It is said that the slaves, including Jews, in Egypt were fed unleavened bread hence the Jews adopted the bread as a symbol of reminder of the hardships they have over-came. It is also stated that keeping unleavened bread during Passover is looked down upon so many Jews often clean their homes before Passover to ensure they didn’t miss any bread. This is often used as the origination of spring cleaning.

A Different Kind of Cleansing

woman with tea illustration

As stated before, generally the term cleansing is related to the cleaning of tangible items hence why we briefly learned a little bit about the popular tradition of spring cleaning. However, since spring also signifies a season of change, it is also the perfect time and opportunity to detoxify one’s body, mind, and soul. Listed below are some tips to cleanse all aspects of one’s life and self:

  • Cleanse Your Diet-It seems like bitter food has cleansing ingredients that affect the blood and liver positively as well as provide assistance with congestion. Recommended food includes endives, bitter melon, and daikon radish
  • Cleanse Your Body-Epsom salt baths plays a role in activating fluid movements in the tissue as well as increasing perspiration. The Sulphur in the salts is also a great detoxifying agent.
  • Cleanse Your Clutter-Cleaning the space around you is a great way to develop healthier habits. My environment often seems to reflect the state of my mind. When my room is messy, it is like a mirror image of my mind in which my thoughts are often disorganized and I feel more stressed. When I have a cleaner environment, I tend to be more at peace.
  • Cleanse Your Thoughts-Don’t underestimate the effects of mental well-being. Something I like to do to balance out all the negative thoughts that seem overwhelming is write in my gratitude journal. Each page has a question that makes me reflect on at least one positive aspect of my day. It keeps me grounded and helps me realize that despite all the negativity surrounding me, there are people and things in my life that motivate me to keep pushing forward.
  • Cleanse Your Relationship-I can’t stress enough on how important it is to identify and get rid of toxic people in your life as hard as it may seem. If completely cutting contact is out of the question or too difficult to achieve, start off by slowly easing off the frequency of the contacts.