29 May 2008

Spring clean your body, mind and finances

In winter we spend most of our time indoors and often this leads to a build-up of clutter. A cluttered desk, wardrobe or room is usually an indicator of a cluttered mind as well. We hold onto material possessions that we no longer need and this creates trapped energy in our lives as well as in our homes.

Ask yourself “Is my energy lifted when I think about or look at it? Do I absolutely love it? Is it genuinely useful?”

If you answer “no” or “sort of” to any of these questions, then let it go. Give it away, recycle it or trash it.

Your mind

This same principle applies to the clutter of limiting ideas and memories in your mind. If they are not serving any purpose to your life, it’s time to say good-bye. Relaxation activities such as yoga and meditation may help with clearing head space to allow you to work on new ideas and attitudes to the past, present and future.

Your wardrobe

As you transition your wardrobe from cold weather to warm weather, fill some bags with clothes you haven’t worn and drop them off to your favourite charity. A general rule to follow is that if you haven’t worn it in over a year, you won’t miss it.

Your body

Spring is naturally the most popular time of year to begin a cleansing program. A cleanse can help you shed unwanted kilos and improve energy. According to Chinese medicine, spring is associated with the liver – an organ essential to digestion and the elimination of toxins. Some foods and drinks that are especially troublesome for the liver include alcohol, fried foods, meats, caffeinated foods and beverages and chemicals such as colourings, flavourings and preservatives – not to mention the harmful effects of drugs and tobacco. An overworked liver may cause low energy, stress, mood swings and inflammatory conditions.

There are many kinds of cleanses to choose from based on the needs of the individual. Most recommendations include a few days of fresh fruit and vegetable juices along with plenty of water and an increase in exercise and sweating to help rid the body of excess toxins. Adding more greens to your diet will help to cleanse and build the body. Water with lemon is a great way to start the day. Make sure you check with your doctor or dietician and get professional advice before you make radical changes to your diet and exercise regime.

Along with what you eat, how you eat your food is also important to your overall health. Eating a meal under stress disrupts the body’s ability to properly digest and absorb the nutrients provided by the food. Before you begin to eat, take a few slow deep breaths into your belly. As you eat, chew well and stop when you feel full. These subtle changes can bring a great deal of healing to your body.

Finally, spring is always a great time to start that exercise program you’ve been avoiding.

Your finances

  • Check your bank statements to make sure you are only paying for what you should.
  • Check your loan documents to ensure your lender has calculated the interest correctly. The amount of errors reported from loan statements is incredible.
  • Take the time to review your telephone accounts to make sure you are only paying for what you use. Check for any hidden facilities or service charges that you are not using. If you are out of contract on your mobile phone shop around to see who now has the best deal. Often the deal you got 12 months ago has been out performed by one of their competitors. It pays to check this out.
  • Take the time to use a one page yearly calendar and write down your meter readings for your water and electricity on the first of each month to check every once in a while against your bills.
  • Overhaul your insurance covers. Make sure you get new comparison quotes on insurances for your house, income, life, medical and motor vehicle when they fall due. Don’t forget your landlord’s insurance.
  • Check and consolidate your superannuation policies. See if you have any lost super by visiting the many websites available to help your search. If you google “lost super” and click on “pages from Australia” you will find many options. Some examples are: ww.unclaimedsuper.com.au, www.ato.gov.au/superseeker and www.findmysuper.com.au.
  • Save a few dollars each week for the children’s education. You will be surprised at how fast university comes around.
  • Open a Christmas Club account and start saving for those Christmas expenses now.
  • Put a few dollars away each week for a holiday or a day out to spoil yourself. After all, you also need to take care of yourself and enjoy a few luxuries now and then.
  • If you haven’t spoken to us in a while, call the office so we can discuss whether you still have the best loan solution for you based on the current market and your most recent financial circumstances.
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