There’s something unique about the spring season … with warmer weather comes a lot of hopes and aspirations to get outside in a healthy way, to “spring forward into health” and to “turn a new leaf” on health goals. I love these ideas, if they feel authentic to you, and if you’re implementing them in your life, I am here solidly in support of your efforts. That said, at least half of my clients are finding themselves with extremely full calendars – juggling kids’ events and more social engagements and travel and so much more – and finding it even more difficult to keep health top of mind.
Regardless of where you find yourself right now, I know that the season CAN be a time for renewing our commitments to health. To me, spring is not about forcing yourself into a restrictive diet mentality to “get bikini ready for summer” or anything remotely close to that, but rather, a time to reflect on what is truly serving me, feel invigorated by the metaphorical and physical sunshine, and recommit to the existing habits – and maybe some new ones – that make me feel best.
If you’re on board with that, I have 7 spring health tips that can put a spring in your step this month, and have you feeling excited about forward motion towards your health goals!
- Focus on seasonal produce. There is so much delicious produce in season in spring, and a lot of it is naturally cleansing and hydrating, to prepare our bodies for the upcoming heat! Vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, and arugula are nutrient-dense and can be detoxifying, and foods like beets, leeks, and snap peas can help us transition from winter to spring! Check out this post (written in 2015; back in the day when I used random stock images and blog posts didn’t even have titles! 😉) for more facts on spring produce!If you want a printable guide to what is in season at what time, download my free seasonal produce guide here!
- Implement a daily 2-minute breathing break. You’ve likely heard of the immense power of deep breathing for our health, and the hype is real! Focusing on deep breaths (with particular focus on the exhale, and aiming to make the exhale longer than the inhale) engages our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps switch us into “rest and digest” mode instead of constantly living in “fight or flight” as most of us do throughout the entire day. It’s the reason why, in my Revitalize Health Accelerator, we have “Take 5 Tuesdays,” where we take 5 minutes for ourselves and focus on breath or unwinding.In addition to my daily meditation, I like to fit in at least 2 minutes of focusing on deep breaths each day. On particularly stressful days, it even helps lower my blood sugar!If you “can’t” find 2 minutes in the day, I encourage you to reframe … you CAN, you truly can. And it’s not just me saying that – I work with CEOs, moms of many kids, CEO moms of many kids … you name it, we CAN find 2 minutes to breathe. Maybe that’s in the shower, or while driving, or during a meeting that you don’t have to speak at, but if you make it a priority, you can!
- Stay hydrated. As weather warms up, many of us start to feel more thirst – let’s pay attention! Hydrating is SO important for our energy, digestion, skin, cravings, and so much more. Aim to drink half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces, plus 16 for every hour of exercise you do daily. If you’re a heavy sweater (like me!), you may even want to consider some electrolytes in your water.
- Get outside and smile. Have you ever heard of “forest bathing”? It’s originally a Japanese concept called shinrin-yoku, and it was popularized because intentionally being in (and enjoying) nature offers profound healing power. I know it feels silly, but I try to smile and just be outside at least once per day. Let the sunlight hit your face for a few minutes (it’s great for generating endorphins, too!), leave the technology behind, and appreciate the great outdoors. Feel free to combine this with #2 (breathing) for a double whammy!
- Try a nasal flush. With all that time outdoors … and all the pollen rampant in this season … you might find allergies creeping up on you. It was actually an allergist that recommended a daily nasal flush to me, and I find that it works really well for me! I resisted it for a while because, frankly, it seems kind of gross, but it’s really not that bad in practice. I use a bottle like this, and I just keep it by my toothbrush to ensure I don’t forget to do it daily.
- Focus on true connection when going out. Find yourself going out more lately? More festivities and dinners and events can be wonderful, but they can also provide opportunities to overeat foods that aren’t normally part of our routines. I certainly don’t encourage depriving yourself of anything truly important to you, but I find that many people think of an event as an “excuse” to themselves to eat less healthy food … and then regret it later that day or the next day, wishing they hadn’t eaten mindfully.Instead of looking forward to the food at an event (or, the opposite, trying to “white knuckle” so as not to eat food that you really want, which usually backfires!), I recommend focusing on true connection. We can get a similar endorphin rush by truly connecting with a human as we do from indulging in food! In addition, I’ll commit to only eating from a napkin or plate. It’s amazing how, otherwise, we grab a chip here, a canape there, a pig in a blanket there, a handful of M&Ms there… and we’re not even realizing it! Making a plate allows me to pause, assess whether I really want the food or not, and feel great about my decisions!
- Implement an evening walk, then get to bed. So many of my clients pick up this habit in the spring and love it! With temperatures and (lack of) darkness in our favor, a post-dinner stroll can be a great way to get away from the screens (here’s why blue light is detrimental for your sleep quality!), enjoy the outdoors, connect with your family members (or yourself), improve digestion, and even lower blood sugar before bed. If your routine involves going straight from the dinner table to the couch, consider a mini-step of including one loop around the block first … you might just get hooked!After the walk, get to bed! I highly encourage setting a bedtime for yourself, and sticking to it just like you would a child’s bedtime. There are always things that we “could” or even “need to” do, but putting sleep on the top of your priority list pays off tremendously in terms of productivity the next day, physical health, and mental health! It can be tempting to stay up later during spring, but I suggest going to bed early, and waking up for a powerful morning routine – you’ll be glad you did!
Want to hear these tips in audio format, plus product recommendations, health study reviews, and more? Check out the podcast episode here!
Now it’s your turn … Does spring feel like a time you naturally focus on your health? What is one thing you’re committed to doing for your health this spring?
Want more? In my Revitalize Health Accelerator, I walk you through every step of what it takes to be a well-rounded healthy person. This covers everything from affirmations to emotional eating, from supplements to sleep quality, from macronutrient balance to meal planning. If you’re curious, set up a free call with me here to discuss!