Spring Cleaning within Ourselves

By Karen Cairone

Spring brings an array of opportunities for renewal, revival, and new life.

We clean up our homes.

We weed out our closets.

We perk up our lawns and flowerbeds.

Spring cleaning helps us clean up the exteriors in our lives.

Why not use this time to do a little spring cleaning within ourselves as well? Around the turn of the new year, many of us make resolutions to be better people--we will be more patient, we will have more self-control, we will take better care of ourselves and others.

Spring is a great time to reflect and revisit those commitments. What opportunities within ourselves do we have to build our protective factors? Protective factors help us cope and bounce back in many aspects of our lives. Here are some simple yet fun reflective strategies from Building Your Bounce to help renew commitment to strengthening protective factors within ourselves:

  • Trust: Draw a circle. Reflect on what trust means to you. Inside the circle, write the names of the people who define trust in your life. These people help strengthen your protective factors by providing consistency and a safe place to share and be yourself. Ask yourself, would people put me in their circle of trust--why or why not?
  • Laugh: Share a smile.  With a group of friends, family members, or co-workers, plan to share a weekly story, picture, video, joke, or situation that will make others laugh.  Depending on the size of your group, you can have a laugh a day, or more!
  • Be Calm: Create a positive affirmation. Do you have a mantra that motivates and calms you? Perhaps it's, “I can do this,”  “Believe,”  “Breathe,”  “Life may be crazy, but I am calm.”  Repeat this to yourself in times of stress to help you feel settled and get centered.


Recently, some of our team at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children’s Early Childhood Initiative met for a professional development retreat. We revisited many training sessions we have designed and delivered over the years. We weeded out the unnecessary, pruned back the overwhelming, and planted new seeds of knowledge and growth. I realized that, with these team members, I was inspired to trust, laugh, and be calm.  I reflected and renewed my own commitment to my within protective factors.

What spring cleaning can you do within yourself?

This post was contributed by Karen Cairone. Karen has been with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, Early Childhood Initiative for the past 13 years. While with Devereux, she has co-authored several resources including Facing the Challenge DVD Series, Classroom Moments DVD, For Now and Forever: A Family Guide for Infants and Toddlers, and Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure.  Karen has two upcoming publications with Gryphon House.  Karen is editor of the DCRC national newsletter, and delivers training on topics related to social and emotional health and resilience around the country. Karen Cairone lives in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

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