Spring is here and with it comes many opportunities to nurture your health and improve your overall wellbeing. Warmer weather and the rejuvenating spirit of the season can be motivating for improving one's mind, body and dedication. If you've already let your new year's resolutions fall by the wayside, spring can actually be the perfect time to make your health related goals a priority again. Here are some great ideas and activities you can incorporate into a healthy lifestyle while celebrating the new season!
Clean house and destress The age-old term "Spring Cleaning" can apply to both your home, work space and your mind. Warmer weather allows you to open windows and let fresh air into your home. It's important to take time to sort through belongings that haven't been used since last season and possibly donate those items to local charities or resale stores. Considering that many of us are working from home for the time-being, it's also important to clean up and organize our home-office space. Try making sure your work surface is clutter free and away from distraction. Clean out drawers, throw away old sticky notes and file away important documents. Having a cleaner home and a more organized work space is very effective for reducing stress.
Go green and enjoy seasonal foods Have you been surviving on comfort food this winter? Fresh fruits and vegetables are more plentiful come springtime, allowing you to more easily increase your intake of these healthy foods. Try swapping out your comfort foods for lighter dishes that better reflect the new season, like salads, fruits and veggies. Consider replacing your chips and other unhealthy snack foods for baby carrots, celery sticks and hummus dip. Replace your heavy steak and potatoes for a light fish dish, like grilled salmon paired with seasoned asparagus. The greenery that is starting to emerge around you may inspire you to check out the local farmers markets, which are a great way to purchase fresh produce and see what the season has to offer. Try seeking out new recipes to best utilize these seasonal items and try incorporating them into your balanced diet.
Get out and exercise more often With the refreshing spring temps and less snow on the ground, nature trails, bike paths and parks are more easily accessible. Exercising and being outdoors after a long winter can work wonders for boosting your mood and improving your mental state. It also probably feels more achievable to start a new exercise regiment in the sunny springtime as well, rather than in the cold, dark winter. Some say springtime is the real new year, and some people find their exercise resolutions easier to stick to in March, April and May with more outdoor recreational activities available.
Plus, studies show that natural light significantly increases energy and productivity. Runners can enjoy getting back outside for their jogs, but if you prefer other forms of exercise, try a bike ride, hiking in the mountains, brisk walking on many of the available park trails or gather some friends together for a game of pickle ball, tennis or even frisbee golf. Getting outside in many ways can help relieve stress and can also provide an opportunity to be present and enjoy people you love, both of which are very important ways to round out your self-care routine.
Be mindful Let spring help move you forward into a new season if mindfulness, welcoming positive thoughts and happiness into your life. Try to set aside some personal time to collect your thoughts and focus on positive things in your life, or even consider expressing personal gratitude on a regular basis. Consider quiet activities in which you can focus your mind solely, such as art, yoga, meditation, journaling, or even just watching the sunset from a nice quiet place. Consider letting go of negative thoughts, being more open to forgiving those around you, and forgetting upsetting events in the past. Any activity that relaxes you and allows you to quiet your mind is a step towards healthy and improved mindfulness.
Reconnect with others Now that our winter hibernation is over, it's time to reconnect and re-enter our social lives. Contrary to popular belief, it is still possible to feel connected and to have a fulfilling social life given our current and limited circumstances. A social life may not mean the same thing it did prior to the pandemic, but we can make it a point to call a friend or family member, FaceTime with them or even drop off a friendly note at a loved one's house expressing gratitude for their relationship.
Establishing a feeling of connectedness is important for mental health and for our wellbeing. While many people prefer staying indoors during the winter, the warmer springtime weather may serve as a motivating factor to get outside. While still adhering to social distancing guidelines, it is indeed still possible to plan other types of social activities.
Sometimes when a challenging situation presents itself, it opens the door to new, more creative ideas. Try thinking outside the box, like organizing a strategically spread out picnic in the park where your friends or loved ones bring their own food, a no-contact scavenger hunt where participants take pictures on their phones of the items they found, or even a friendly neighborhood game night over zoom. There are still lots of ways to reconnect and spend quality time together while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Try treating the first few weeks of spring as a fresh start with these tips in mind. Rediscover health and wellness with the onset of more sunlight, warmer weather and fresh air.