New beginnings aren’t just for the New Year. Spring is a time of rebirth, when dormant plants and flowers come back to life, the days are longer and temperatures start to warm up. We’ve all heard of spring cleaning your home, but what about spring cleaning your health? The renewed energy we experience in the spring makes it the perfect time to revamp things a bit. I always try to approach things by asking what we can add in, rather than what we need to take out. Here are a few things most of us could use more of in our lives.
Eat the rainbow.
The bounties of spring make eating your fruits and veggies a lot more enjoyable. There is nothing better than fresh, local produce. My husband and I love hitting up tour local farmers market on Saturdays. We can thank these weekly visits for adding sunchokes, Thai eggplant and mizuno to our repertoire — keeping things interesting is a game changer!
Spring is also a great time to plant things in your own yard. Even if you only have a patio, tomatoes and herbs are great options when you have limited space. Having your own herb garden also reduces waste– you just cut off what you need! Also- no more of those pesky plastic cartons.
Spend quiet time in nature.
The Japanese practice forest bathing, which is simply spending quiet time in nature. No phones or cameras, just you, the trees and some mindfulness. One Japanese study found that forest bathing significantly reduced scores for depression, anxiety, anger, fatigue, and confusion (you can read more on this study here). Don’t live near a proper forest? No worries- your local park, nature trail or beach will do the trick. Once there, all you have to do is sit back and take it all in. Sounds pretty good, right?
Breathe new life into your exercise routine.
Speaking of being outside in nature, spring is a great time to build an outdoor exercise routine. Bike rides, walks, runs, kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing– whatever you fancy. Exercise is one of the most essential parts of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, in the UK, they prescribe exercise to people with mild depression before they prescribe antidepressants. Of course, there are also the more widely known benefits such as weight loss, heart health and increased energy. Maybe you even change your happy hour habit into a beach walk with friends! Also, once you start enjoying the benefits of exercise, you might even be motivated to sustain a routine year-round.
Don’t let your sleep suffer.
Ok, this isn’t actually “cleaning up” a habit as much as it is preserving that good sleep habit that comes more easily in the winter. With daylight savings, longer days, and even allergies, our sleep might suffer a little. Not to mention, drinking al fresco is a favorite springtime activity for a lot of people, and alcohol can definitely affect your sleep. I’m not saying cut out those happy hours entirely, just make sure you eat something and alternate those cocktails with a glass of water. A little mindfulness in this area goes a long way.
Declutter and organize your home.
This is actually an act of self care. Being organized saves you time, energy and money. When everything has its place, mornings run a little more smoothly, we feel more prepared to handle life’s curveballs and being at home just feels more peaceful and serene. Not sure where to start? Think about what space would have the most impact if it were organized, then make a list of everything that needs to be done here. Once you gain some momentum, the other spaces will be easier to tackle.
Hopefully at least one of these spoke to you. Making one small tweak to your habits can make a difference and will most likely make it easier for other changes down the road. Whatever change you are hoping to make– start with one little action step. Remember to be flexible– change is a process of trial and correction. But most of all, be kind to yourself. Happy spring!