I don’t know about you, but this cold, dreary weather has me dreaming of Spring! When I say the words ‘Spring Cleaning’ what comes to mind? Maybe deep cleaning your kitchen or decluttering your basement? But what about your health? Perhaps your physical and mental wellness need some Spring Cleaning too! Read-on for some tips and strategies to Spring Clean Your Health Routine. It may be just what you need to roll into Summer a little leaner, cleaner, happier, and healthier.
Tune-up your eating habits
This Spring, go back to the basics to uncover the foundation for good dietary habits. Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, not only in quantity but also variety. Strive to “eat the rainbow” by incorporating different shades of colorful fruits and vegetables throughout your week. Opt for local, fresh produce when possible.
Maybe enroll in a local crop share/community supported agriculture (CSA) or visit a farmers market. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Local Food Directories site can help you find a CSA or farmers market near you.
Diversify your diet by trying new recipes and reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods you consume. Reduce added sugar, especially in your drinks and replace with water whenever possible. Drinking more water can protect against dehydration, especially as the weather gets warmer, as well as aid in digestion, regulate body temperature, and help you manage your weight (especially when you drink water instead of sugary beverages).
Recalibrate your sense of balance
Spring is a perfect time to recalibrate your sense of balance between work, home, family, social obligations, etc. There are many areas in your life that can impact your overall health and wellness, such as your career, finances, relationships, and social life. Taking the time now to re-evaluate your level of satisfaction in these areas will help you better understand where your life is thriving and what areas could use a little work. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Circle of Life exercise is a perfect interactive tool to help you visualize where your life may be in or out of balance.
Freshen up your fitness routine
If the cold weather has you in a workout slump, then Spring is the best time to freshen-up your fitness routine! As the days are getting longer (and warmer), Spring is the perfect opportunity to spend more time outside. Look for any opportunity you can to be physically active outdoors. Whether it be going for a daily walk, running, cycling, playing sports, hitting up a playground with your kids, or going for a long hike on a weekend afternoon, being active outside will not only benefit your physical health, but boost your mental health too!
Spring is also a great time to try something new. Perhaps there’s a new yoga studio in town that you’ve been meaning to try or maybe your local fitness center is offering a new class. Go give it a try! What do you have to lose? Maybe you don’t like it, and that’s ok, but what if you love it? I strongly believe that variety is best when it comes to exercise. Not only does it help with motivation (you are less likely to be bored if you are constantly changing things up), but different workouts will strengthen different muscles in your body, improving your overall level of fitness.
Elevate your mindset
Your mindset can make or break any health routine. By elevating your mindset and focusing more on the positive, you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success! Stress can weigh heavily on our minds and be very detrimental to our physical, mental, and emotional health. Look for healthy ways to reduce stress, such as prayer, meditation, or yoga.
Practicing gratitude is also a great way to reduce stress and improve your mindset. It can be as simple as reflecting on your surroundings such as warmer weather, blooming flowers, and longer days or taking a few minutes each day to write in a gratitude journal. Reflecting on what you are grateful for can help reset and refocus any negative thoughts to more positive ones.
Another way to boost your mindset is to practice daily affirmations. Daily positive affirmations can help create hope and optimism, and when practiced consistently, can help us feel more confident, empowered, and in control of our lives, goals, and dreams. Check out this article for some examples of positive affirmations that you can integrate into your daily routine.
Spruce up your self-care routine
Striking the balance between selfish and selfless can be tricky, especially if you are a parent or in another position where you are constantly providing care to others and likely putting their needs in front of your own. But you can’t pour from an empty cup, right? So in order to be the best version of yourself and continue to pour into others around you, you need time to rest and recharge. Self-care is a very trendy word right now, and there’s no one “right” way to practice self-care. When it comes down to it, self-care is simply doing something just for yourself. Something you truly enjoy, that’s just for you. This can be reading a good book, going for a massage, or drinking a cup of your favorite tea.
Getting exercise, eating healthy, and prioritizing sleep are also forms of self-care, and sleep in particular is often undervalued. We ‘Spring Forward’ for Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 13th and this change can often mess with your sleep patterns. This year, I encourage you to use this time as an opportunity to reset your sleep schedule and establish a consistent bedtime and evening “wind down” routine. Allow yourself time to calm your brain before jumping into bed for the night and expecting to fall asleep right away. Ensuring you get adequate sleep is tremendously beneficial to your mental health, alertness, and energy levels and one of the best forms of self-care you can practice.
Transform your future
Finally, don’t stop with “Spring Cleaning,” instead commit to making these changes for the long-term so you can embrace a lifestyle of healthy living. Are you tired of the diet cycle? Maybe you try something and it works for a bit, but then you fall away from it and end up right back where you started! By embracing these healthy habits for the long-term, you can finally get out of the hamster wheel and onto a new path to health and happiness. With any new habits and long-term changes, starting small is best, and accountability is key. For some internal accountability, try setting goals for yourself, making a plan to start small and build from there, and don’t forget to show yourself grace along the way. If you need some external accountability to help you, find an accountability partner (significant other, friend, sibling, etc.) or consider working with a health coach. Be Well Health Coaching offers 1-on-1 coaching to help you totally transform your health and well-being, as well as group coaching programs that provide the benefits of 1-on-1 coaching while also the opportunity to engage in a community of like-minded people to support you along the way. The next group program - Spring Clean Your Health Routine - launches on April 1st and spots are limited! Sign-up today.
Happy Spring Cleaning!
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.