Is it March already?! The beginning of spring always feels to me like a fresh start. If I could pick one season, spring would be my favorite. The air smells different, everything in bloom and the birds chirping… it’s my definition of heaven!
Consequently, nothing feels more natural than starting fresh and raising the bar a little more every month.
Lent has started and -from a Christian background- it is a great opportunity to cut back on anything that does not serve me. I find great peace in reflecting my consumption in general (habits, foods, information, thoughts) and make a conscious decision to give up certain things for the 40 days of lent (or often for good). I find it is a beautiful tradition – I actually think it was the first ‘challenge’ ever invented 😉 The old men knew what it takes to implement a good habit.
I like to think of lent as a season of cleansing and rebirth. Financial Fasting
February Recap & Takeaways
In the last blog post, I told you all the habits I planned to implement in February. And I am quite happy about the routines and daily habits.
I prioritized my health and wellbeing and practiced mental and physical self-care more religiously. That included some journaling and ‘thinking’ time, some body pampering with hot lavender showers and coconut oil face massages. Drinking hot ginger lemon water first thing in the morning and cistus tea over the day has helped me stay hydrated, alkalize the system and flush toxins out.
Small things like this have given me a little health kick and I already feel so a lot better. All in all, I have raised my energy levels
My February lifestyle changes are definitely a keeper, so they are going to stay in the month of March (and beyond). The system of ‘habit stacking’ is just my way of implementing changes incrementally and have a month to improve and fine-tune my systems and routines before I take on another ‘challenge’ the following month. It gives me the opportunity to get to know myself better and see what works and what needs adjusting.
More Regular Sleeping Rhythm
Lately, I have pushed a few deadlines and stayed up late to work. I kept a journal of my everyday tasks as well as noting how I am feeling overall, how my energy is like, what I accomplish and where my weak spots are. The journal quickly revealed that staying up too late made me feel very heavy and low the next morning (duh), impacting my productivity.
So, during the month of March, I am planning to have a stricter curfew and pair that with a good bedtime routine.
Bedtime Routine & Less Screen Time
I am guilty of having still too much screen time in the evening, so I am planning to cut that after a certain hour. I spend almost the entire day in front of a screen, so although I have cut Netflix and Youtube in the past few months dramatically, I still spend the larger proportion of my day in front of my devices.
Blue light from screens affects natural melatonin levels and has been found responsible for premature aging, so I am also considering getting blue-light filtering lenses in my reading glasses,
The thoughts we have before sleep are extremely important (as explained in this blog post). I will put more effort into creating a completely screen-free routine two hours before going to bed that I can look forward to. I plan to move my workouts, journaling and reading in the evening, so that in ties in nicely with my routine.
Spend More Time Outside and Strengthen My Core Muscles
My body has thanked me for every movement last month. I have noticed my posture suffering from the mostly sedentary lifestyle lately, which showed especially during horse riding and during longer walks where I lacked some support in my back and core. To better my posture, I have scheduled more yoga and rebounder workouts into my everyday routine to strengthen my core and improve my overall condition and get my body back into balance.
Next to that, I am dedicated to get every bit of spring sunshine and spend time outside whenever I can.
A Little Money Makeover
‘Money March’ as like to call it! Spring is great to fresh things up. Who doesn’t love a little makeover, so my money is no exception.
With a tax season coming up, I like to go through all my paperwork, declutter my money life, set some short-time goals (like manifesting a particular amount of money), revamp my budget categories (YNAB link), shop around for investments or higher yield accounts, or just take targeted action towards my goals by scheduling time for implementation of my money goals and brainstorming new ways to make things happen.
A little money spring clean brings new, fresh energy into money matters, and every time, something good comes out of it!
If you are not in the habit of taking time to spend with your money, now is a great time to start. Start with physical cleaning of the house and organizing, sort and file your papers, declutter your budget by going through transactions and see what can go, which fees can be cut or avoided, do some admin, close dormant accounts… There is so much to ‘declutter’ around your finances!
Doing simple things like that already feels like a breath of fresh air. Order brings clarity, and clarity brings confidence. You might start seeing new opportunities and level up your finances after taking some dedicated money time.
Unstuck your money flow by bringing the energy back into flow.
Not really a new habit, I have been doing intermittent fasting for years after reading The Fast Diet and The Obesity Code. I am a huge believer in the benefits and ‘naturalness’ of fasting that helps detox and heal the body and the mind. You can read more on the science behind it in this book.
I don’t do it for the weight loss but fasting a few days a week has kept my weight stable and healthy for years while keeping my energy levels up during the day, so I can go about my day without any disruptions. If I do have 1-2 holiday kilos I want to lose, intermittent fasting is anything I need. I rarely carry any overweight for long because my body is very much used to balance out a feast with a fast. I don’t really have to think about it anymore, it falls very naturally into my rhythm nowadays.
However, I do like to update and revamp my routines though every now and then, so I am trying a few new twists and recipes to add some novelty into my diet. With spring coming, I am craving more fresh foods while I am more of a ‘warm eater’ in the winter months, like porridge and soup #soulfood. So, I will definitely add more fresh seasonal food in my grocery basket next time.
If you’d like to know more details on my fasting routine, let me know in the comments, so I can dedicate a full post to it if you’re interested. Also, follow along on my Instagram account, where I share my day to day in a bit more detail 🙂
I used to do this a lot. However, ‘no spend days’ are not really a challenge for me anymore as I am very aligned with my spending decisions nowadays.
Still, I am a firm believer that a financial fast is a great way to reboot the brain when it comes to money.
What you can do:
- No shopping at all (besides the stuff you need to live)
- Not spending in a certain budget category (like eating out, impulse shopping, etc.)
- Not buying sweets, takeout or fast food
When I did this, I found that financial fasting has raised my awareness on the little things I was just ‘picking up’ during the day (mints, coffee break with colleagues, an energy bar…)
Knowing I could not spend money that day made me extremely good planning ahead, like planning and prepping my meals ahead of time. Also, it has
Lastly, financial fasting has made me shockingly clear how little I actually need to live well.
Last but not least: no spend days have the side effect of saving you some cash money. Make sure you actually save the money you don’t spend: observe where you would have spend money in that moment and take that money and put in savings. No spend days without tracking how much money they saved only don’t make much sense and/or might make you ‘binge’ later.
Because I have been practicing this for years, I have learned what I need, how much and when I tend to overspend.
I can go days with no spending, as I have maximized my resourcefulness, awareness and creativity and inspired my choice to live a more minimalist lifestyle. I have become so conscious and aware of what I buy and consume
Other Ideas for Lent
If you need more inspiration of what to ‘fast’ during lent, here’s a few ideas of things you could implement for lent season or the month of March:
- no alcohol
- no meat
- no spending
- no shopping
- no TV/Netflix
- no social media
- no cursing
- no negativity
- no resentment towards others
- no gossip
- no worrying
- reading every day
- moving your body every day
- treating others with love and kindness
Lent is a great opportunity to let go of things that don’t serve you and make choices that move you more towards a lifestyle that you want.
To a wonderful Magic March!
What habits are you implementing? Do you practice fasting? What are your lent resolutions?