This week we will talk about Spring Cleaning our Relationships. This probably sounds like a strange thing to do, but if you think about it, we all have relationships that don’t bring us joy or could even be toxic. This interferes with our health and happiness in life. You have many relationships in your life: parents, grandparents, children, significant other, extended family, friends, teachers, coworkers, bosses, neighbors, etc. The quality of these relationships indicates if you will have a good quality of life and health. You want to feed yourself with quality relationships, just like you want to eat quality food for optimal health. Everyone relates differently, so there is not one right way of relating. It is just like one diet isn’t right for all people. Some want the married, white picket fence and 2.5 kids life while others are satisfied volunteering with children or having nieces and nephews in their life. Others relate better by choosing to hang out with close friends on their time. It’s important to cultivate relationships that are healthy and support YOUR individual needs, wants and desires. Not what society or others tell you to do. Community is the key ingredient in personal fulfillment. These days we have too much isolated time – TV, phone, i-pads, email, and social media. We feel this IS a real life, but it’s really the good stuff people want you to see. Having extended family far away also could leave you feeling isolated and lonely. We are designed to be in community. High quality friendships add depth and meaning to life. Dan Buettner & Nat Geo & Nat Institute on aging have done studies of to find where people are happiest and live the longest. They found 5 Blue Zones, as they call them, in the world. They have found if you create a core community of 2 to 4 people who you spend more time with than others you will be healthier and live longer. They are people you admire or have qualities you resonate with. People who will support you and inspire you. Take initiative this week to spend more time with someone like this, even if not currently in your circle(s). Make space for them in your life. Here is your spring cleaning exercise. Look at your relationships the same way you look at your wardrobe. Many of us keep too many “clothes” in our life that we haven’t warn in years. They are out of style, don’t fit, are just sentimental. It’s the same with friends – some old friends are draining and have little to offer in return. Maybe they are still smokers, drinkers or drug users and you moved on from that lifestyle. Sometimes old lovers just hang on and won’t leave you to move on. Some people may be the type that are always in crisis and zap your energy. Clean out your relationship closet. You say it’s too hard to let go? Start by downgrading them at first or distance yourself. Don’t be afraid of feeling alone. In the mean time you will also maintain or increase time with your quality friendships and make space for new healthy relationships. Can you think of one relationship in your life that is not healthy? If so, start “spring cleaning.”