No one can argue we had a tough winter. But now, Spring is officially here, and it is clearly time to come out of hibernation.

As I’ve suggested before, now is the time to begin implementing some of the hopes and goals we set for ourselves for the new year. As the earth shows rebirth and renewal in so many ways, it is perhaps the greatest opportunity for us to take a look inside of ourselves. After all, if we cannot set aside time to perform some internal spring cleaning, how will we be able to get down to the brass tacks of carrying out external chores?

I like to refer to this as self etiquette. Many of us have a difficult time allotting time to be kind and thoughtful to ourselves. We are too busy; we have more important priorities; we have fires that need to be put out. In reality, we will be far more effective at handling most of life’s challenges if our own bodies and minds are functioning in the most stress free and tuned in state as possible.

I am a great believer in making lists. I go so far as to have a flip chart in my office. It is loaded with spur of the moment ideas, bills to pay, projects to complete – both long and short term. And there is even one page devoted to inspirational words which help settle me when I am stressed and help center my mind when I need to make important decisions. Lists help me to de-globalize my life. By that I mean, lists take away any overwhelming and negative energies that may overtake my day. Writing something down moves the thought or task from my mind to the paper to let anything potentially stress- filled stop me in my tracks. I break tasks down into steps; I compartmentalize jobs, chores and personal obligations into manageable sizes. What I soon come to realize too is that what seemed like a daunting chaotic morass of decisions and problems are dealt with in a far more graceful, skillful and less time-consuming way than I had imagined.

The more ways that we can be respectful of our minds and bodies; the more times we can show compassion to ourselves; the more kindness and recognition we focus on us, the more skillfully and easily we can exhibit these behaviors towards our families, friends and colleagues.

Spring is the time of year when we inhale deeply a restorative breath; we ‘spring clean’ our houses, cottages, and places of businesses. Many of us return to our gardens and begin preparing the soil for the bounty of summer and autumn. We feel this renewal in our bones and in our souls. With this breath comes an ability to perform random acts of kindness, to praise our loved ones, and to appreciate the world around us. This is the time of year when we can restore our sense of gratitude and to redouble our efforts to help our friends and neighbors who need our assistance. Pay a visit to someone who cannot leave their house. Call a friend just to let them know you’re thinking about them.

I believe in celebrating Spring. It makes me feel better about myself and it makes me more aware of the many blessings I have as well as giving me a renewed strength to handle those situations which are challenging. The magical part of this season is that most of what I learned in adopting this renewal I learned from my family and friends with a healthy dose of intuition. Happy Spring!

Jay Remer is certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol. He lives in St. Andrews, NB, Canada. E-mail your etiquette questions to and visit his website at