I find it amusing that I am writing a blog post about seasonal health tips. There was only one season I was aware of having grown up in sunny Florida my entire life – summer aka flip flop season.
Que Olaf singing “Summmmeeeerrrrrr!”.
Us Floridians would become giddy if the temperature dropped below 20 degrees so we could put on our one, very stylish, novelty, winter coat and tall “winter” boots. I honestly never drank coffee before moving to Switzerland, as I thought coffee was something you drank to keep you warm – then I had kids.
It was the one and only reason I was nervous about moving to Switzerland almost 8 years ago. How in the world would I deal with a real winter? At first, it was a bit of a shock, like when I didn’t see the sun for days (sometimes weeks) on end. But in all honesty, it really opened my eyes to all that the change in seasons (good and bad) have to offer. Winter really is a time of hibernation; when we thrive on warm, delicious soups, and spend time in quiet reflection with shorter days and longer sleeps.
But I also see the negative side as a Health Coach, as many get caught up in the ‘hibernation’ aspect of winter. This means that when springtime comes round, we’re left feeling a little sluggish and not our best physically. But that’s the best thing about spring! It’s the season of rebirth and the perfect opportunity to reboot your health.
Healthy Spring Diet
Spring is a perfect time to evaluate your diet and incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into your daily routine. Think about switching out a healthy smoothie for a meal once or twice a week. Seasonal vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus and cauliflower, all have amazing health properties. They also help curb sugar cravings and aid in liver detoxification? Perfect for any lingering toxins hanging on from our sometimes overly heavy winter diet.
TIP #1: Sometimes it can be difficult to pack a heap of veggies into your diet, so be sneaky with them. Try grating carrots into meat patties, blending spinach into a smoothie, adding them to sauces, or making zucchini noodles.
As a family, we often add spinach and mushrooms to our scrambled eggs in the morning, or serve a meal with a side of avocado or other raw vegetables. It only takes a few extra minutes and you’ve got an extra helping of healthy veggies.
Although my kids are pretty healthy eaters, it doesn’t hurt to grate some zucchini or carrots into healthy homemade muffins. They add to the sweetness factor and are so delicious, the kids don’t know that you just snuck in something healthy into their treats.
Healthy Spring Movement
In the cold winter months it can be easy to put exercise on the back burner. Don’t be too harsh on yourself for what you’ve been doing. Just remember exercise has countless health benefits for not only your digestive health, but it increases energy levels and helps promote better sleep.
Spring is the perfect time to embrace outdoor exercise. The days are getting longer and the temperature isn’t too hot yet (unless you live in Florida of course). This is an excellent opportunity to get back on track with physical activity.
Be inspired to try something new – even if you just go once
Keep in mind that physical activity can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, dancing, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Try an outdoor yoga class, a Scottish Highland Dance Class, join a training group or grab your friends for a brisk morning walk. You are more likely to stick with an exercise plan, when you are accountable to others.
To manage stress and boost your mood, go outdoors and plant some spring flowers or vegetables. Pulling weeds, lifting rocks, carrying pots, and pushing a wheelbarrow all increase your physical activity. Think about all those squats that tend to come with yard work.
Studies have indicated that regular interaction with the natural environment can result in a range of health benefits. Getting back to nature can help you connect with yourself and improve your overall sense of well-being. Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week on average to stay healthy.
Tip # 2 – Maintaining your exercise momentum may come down to knowing the “motivating why,” Then, the “how” to do it becomes easier. Also preparing yourself the night before, committing that you will be ready for exercise the following day makes it more likely to happen. Write it in your planner and have your clothes ready to go. Even better, have a buddy that you are accountable to as well.
TIP #3 – Don’t forget that with increased exercise it is important to stay hydrated. If you maintain a good water intake you won’t fatigue as quickly and will enjoy your exercise for longer.
Healthy Spring Mind
If we’re working on all these fantastic things for our body, it’s important to also look after your mental state. Just as you may spring clean your home, it is important to also spring clean your mind.
Take this change in seasons as an opportunity to think about what is and isn’t serving you in your life. What habits you want to get rid of and what do you want to work on? It’s time to start putting those goals into action
Tip #4 – Write a list of your goals and write the steps needed to get there – be as detailed as possible with these steps. This way you know exactly what you need to do to get to your goal. Make sure to mark out milestones along the path to reaching your goal so that you have clear markers of your achievements and opportunities to celebrate them.
Keep your food supply updated and healthy
Your kitchen may be due for some spring cleaning, too. One aspect of spring cleaning is to literally to clear the cupboards. A kitchen filled with the wrong kinds of food can sabotage your healthy eating intentions for the season.
Tip #5 – Have healthy snacks on hand, mixed nuts and dried fruit for example, energy bites that are so easy to make, hummus and cut up veggies. The key is to be prepared. Try to reduce your reliance on processed meals and snacks, and avoid added sugars in foods and beverages.
Studies show that exposure to toxic chemicals can have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health and has been equated recently with being as damaging as second hand smoke. It impacts your hormones, your limbic system and immune system.
It’s easy to assume that what we buy in the store is safe for us to use. Lurking in your cleaning cabinet, laundry room, or under your sink are nasty chemicals that can wreak havoc on not only your health but the environment as well. What do you think happens to all those nasty chemicals once they are washed down the sink or tub?.
I encourage you to take a good look at the amount of chemicals you use daily. Shampoos, soaps, make up, cleaning supplies, perfumes and consider switching to non-toxic options.
I personally made a switch to essential oil based cleaning and skin care products several years back and haven’t looked back. They are safe, effective and affordable alternative. I love not only making my own cleaning products and lotions, but teaching others how to do the same. I find them more effective as well as more affordable. Plus I don’t mind giving my kids a spray bottle and have them go to town on the windows
In conclusion, there are so many reasons to love each season but I think Spring is the best time to take charge of your health and there are so many areas to make those changes.
If you would like all my Healthy Spring Tips as well as some great recipes and green cleaning advice, then check out my Healthy Spring Reboot eBook.
Wishing you all the best this season!