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When spring is upon us, we often find ourselves clearing out the dust bunnies and decluttering our homes.
If you’re in the Northern hemisphere like me, you’re probably ready to embrace the transition to greater warmth and sunshine.
The dark, cold days of winter have left me spending too much time indoors and eating a diet that is heavier than ideal. Now that winter is finally departing, I’m ready to lighten up my daily routine of diet, movement, and personal habits and it has me thinking: what if I applied that same spring-cleaning logic to my wellness and self-care routine?
The fresh sense of hope that comes along with springtime makes it the perfect time of year to push the reset button. I’ve discovered that sometimes a turn toward better health and loving self-care isn’t necessarily about huge, sweeping changes. Sometimes, small consistent steps can lead to significant shifts that support vibrant health and expanded energy levels.
Below are a few suggestions to help us spring clean our self-care routine this season.
Find a Spring in Your Step:
- Get outside at least once a day. If you have a dog, you have the perfect excuse to get outdoors! Fresh air, sunshine, and connecting with nature do wonders for our mental and emotional health. I love it when the days grow longer and I’m able to take a walk after dinner—I find the additional movement relaxing at the end of the day, plus it helps my digestion.
- Make a commitment to do some type of exercise each day. We don’t have to spend an hour at a gym every day. In fact, you don’t need a gym membership at all. A combination of vigorous activity, strength training, and gentle movement—like yoga—creates a nice balance. Finding a variety of movement keeps injury and boredom at bay, but ultimately, it’s about finding activity that makes you feel good in your body.
Eat the Rainbow for Better Health:
- Eat more fresh fruits and veggies. This is a great way to lighten up our diet as we come out of winter. The simple act of adding more fresh produce to the menu can greatly improve the quality of anyone’s diet (eat the rainbow!). How better to be kind to yourself than to feed your body the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and energized? Spring and summer are the best times to find a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially at local farmer’s markets. If we make one of our meals each day a big salad, we’ll easily get our daily dose of vegetables. Try a mixture of greens, a variety of veggies on top, and get creative with additional toppings. I look at my salads as something to experiment with—exploring with different nut-based dressings, sprouts, beans, whole grains, and roasted veggies on top.
- Clean out your kitchen and ditch the processed, “franken-foods.” Eliminating processed foods and committing to whole foods is another simple way to lighten up and improve the quality of our diets.
- Drink water. Drinking water throughout the day can be the ultimate detoxifier. If plain water doesn’t appeal, experiment with infusing it with citrus, herbs, or essential oils to add flavor without added calories or sugar. Personally, I have made this work for me by having a reusable water bottle (that I love) near me at all times—this has been a great reminder to hydrate throughout the day.
Declutter your Calendar and Make Time for You:
- Make time for meditation and/or reflection at the beginning of the day. In my experience, “me time,” is the ultimate self-care factor in helping me realize the best versions of myself. This practice allows us to check in with ourselves, create intentions, and set the tone for our day. Even if it’s not possible every single day, making times for ourselves on a regular basis helps us set the course for our lives. Springtime is the most hopeful and enlivening time of year, so it’s a powerful time to set intentions for the future.
- Express yourself. Even if we don’t think of ourselves as being “creative,” finding an outlet for healthy self-expression is good for our souls. This looks different for everyone, but expression can be found through writing, cooking, ceramics, painting, or dance. Trying various avenues of creative expression can be cathartic and healing on multiple levels and it can be a lifelong adventure of experimenting. I used to think that I shouldn’t waste time on something if I wasn’t “good at it,” but now I understand that it’s the creative process that counts. We don’t have to be the world’s next Van Gogh or a Pulitzer prize winner to reap the benefits of expressing ourselves through paint or words. The real question is, do you enjoy the time and energy you spend creating?
- Review the primary relationships in your life. Take stock of those closest to you—who supports you and lifts you up when you are down or unsure about life? If the “Sum of Five” theory holds true, we should carefully choose the five people with whom we spend the most time with because they have the biggest impact on who we are. On another note, modern life has a way of isolating us if we let it, so our need to be intentional with connection and community is stronger than ever. The trick is finding our tribe. A great place to start is building real connections with people through shared interests. My yoga community is where I find my tribe, but yours might be found at the Crossfit gym, an art studio, or through an online community.
I’ve always felt that spring is the most auspicious time of year for a fresh start, so let’s take loving care of ourselves this season. Even if you live in an area without a noticeable change in seasons, it’s still a time of rebirth and renewal. Happy spring!