Wellness Tips that You Can Start this Spring to Better Your Mind & Body
Spring - that fresh time of year when birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and we start to feel the warmth of the sun. I love Spring because there is an overall feeling of transition and new beginnings in the air. It’s the perfect time to clear the clutter out of all aspects of your life and incorporate some healthy new habits into your day to day routine. Below I’ve listed out a few of my favorite spring activities and daily rituals to help inspire you to make the most of this beautiful time of year.
Supercharge Your Day With a Cold Shower
One of my favorite morning rituals any time of year is to start the day with an ice cold shower. Now hear me out, I know what you’re thinking, “that sounds terrible, I like my hot showers just fine thank you.” I’m not saying that you have to be under cold water the entire time. Start with a warm shower as usual and do your regular routine, then take a few deep breaths and turn the water to cold, continuing with deep controlled breathing throughout the experience. Try standing under the water for at least 10 seconds your first time and slowly increasing your time weekly. Why do this, you ask? There are MANY benefits to cold water exposure, starting with the simple fact that it wakes you up and makes you feel energized and refreshed immediately afterward. In addition to this, cold water showers can also:
- Reduce Stress
- Improve Skin & Hair
- Improve Circulation
- Stimulate Weight Loss
- Improve Immunity
- Improve Lymphatic Circulation
- Speed Up Muscle Recovery
- Relieve Depression
- Increase Will Power
Feeling a little more inclined to hop into some cold water now? Bonus points if you live near a lake, river or pond that you can (safely) take a full plunge into! Once you start incorporating the benefits of cold water exposure into your daily morning routine you’ll start feeling like there’s nothing the day can throw at you that you can’t handle. Interested in learning more? Wim Hof is the ultimate guru on cold exposure- check out his methods and breathing techniques here.
The benefits of regular exercise on the mind and body are lengthy and indisputable. Spring means longer days with more light, which in turn means more time to fit in a daily workout. Setting aside some time each morning works best for me and puts me in a great mood for the rest of the day, but it will be up to you to figure out what time of day works best with your schedule. You don’t have to go into every workout with the goal of putting a full hour of exercise in, even fitting in 20 minutes of physical activity can do wonders for your overall wellbeing.
Aside from picking the time of day that works best for you, it’s also important to pick an activity that you enjoy and want to keep coming back to again and again. Do you like jogging, swimming, yoga, or lifting weights? Personally I enjoy mixing up a combination of all of these.
High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is a great way to maximize a short amount of time, not to mention there are several benefits of this type of training including:
- Burns calories & fat in a short amount of time
- Boosts metabolism
- Continues burning fat & calories hours after your workout
- Improved heart health
- Increased endurance
I’ve created a simple, full body 30 minute HIIT routine that you can try in the gym or outside on one of these gorgeous spring afternoons. Bonus is that you don’t need any equipment to do this workout, but if you feel like an added challenge grab some 5-10lb dumbbells and incorporate them as you see fit (ex. hold a dumbbell in each hand as you do lunges or squat jumps).
The idea here is that the workout is broken down into 2- 6 minute sections. You have a certain number of reps for each exercise (ie. 15 sit ups, 20 lunges etc.), go through each exercise in the first section, and then repeat them all again. Repeat the exercises in order as many times as you can in 6 minutes. Do not take any breaks until your 6 minutes are up, and then you get 1 minute of rest before moving on to the next section. It will keep your heart rate up, challenge you, and make you feel amazing! Ready to get sweaty?
6 Minutes (As many rounds as possible):
5-Inch Worm to Push Up
1 min rest
6 Minutes (As many rounds as possible):
10-Squat to Side Kick
1 min rest
Repeat both sections
Drink Your Water
So your day is already off to a great start - you’ve got a workout in, enjoyed the benefits of a cold shower, and are feeling positive and energized. Now if you haven’t already, go get yourself a nice big glass of water. You may have heard the age old myth that you should drink 8 - 8oz glasses of water per day, but it turns out your necessary amount of daily water intake is just as unique as you! A general equation to calculate how much water is right for you would be 0.5-1oz of water for each pound you weigh.1 So if you’re 150lbs multiply that by 0.5-1oz it gives you a range of 75-150oz/ day. Your exact needs will depend on how active you are, the climate you live in, and your general body type.
Spring is the perfect time to up your water intake or start a water drinking habit because you can make it fun with unique additions! Fruit, berries and herbs can all be added to water to give it a little flavor and make it irresistible. Here are a few classics that you may even be able to find growing nearby:
- Pineapple Sage
Being sufficiently hydrated has a myriad of positive effects on your body! It increases energy, relieves fatigue, promotes weight loss, flushes out toxins, boosts your immune system and will help give your skin that healthy spring glow.
Browsing social media has become a popular pastime for many of us in recent years. With millions of photos, news articles and videos at the touch of a button, we can often find ourselves in a vortex of information and over-stimulation that is hard to get out of. At times, this can be quite entertaining, which is why we may find ourselves doing it without even realizing it. But did you know there can be a dark side to being so overly “connected” all the time?
Excessive use of social media has been associated with many negative side effects such as high anxiety, depression and poor quality of life. Part of the reason for this is the fact that when we browse social media we’re constantly comparing ourselves to those people that we see online. Instead of being out making the most of our time, we’re looking at all the cool things other people have done. Next time you have the urge to log on to social media, try putting the phone down and finding something else to fill that time with instead, whether it’s exercising, reading a book, or talking face to face with a loved one.
Just because you take a break from social media doesn’t mean you have to give it up forever. Try temporarily de-activating your accounts for a week and notice the impact it has on your daily routine. If you don’t want to go that far then start simply by deleting the apps from your phone so you aren’t tempted to check them frequently. Social media can be a great tool, but it needs to be used wisely in order to be effective.
Get Outside & Enjoy the Fresh Spring Air
Two of the best parts about spring are the warmer weather and longer days. This means more time to get outside after a long day spent at work, whether it’s for a walk, a workout, or some quality time working in your garden. Did you know that research shows fresh air and all the springy scents that come along with it can actually help to relieve stress & anxiety? Added oxygen in your system can also release more serotonin which can make you happier and more relaxed. Instead of tackling that pile of dishes or diving into dinner prep when you walk through the door, make some time for yourself! Ditch the phone, put on a comfy outfit, and go enjoy the beautiful outdoors and fresh air.
One of the best ways to unwind after a long day and ensure that you’re able to enjoy your afternoon as fully as possible is to re-set your brain with some walking meditation. Use this as a time to let go of all your thoughts and worries, clear your mind, and re-focus your energy on whatever you have planned for the rest of your day.
If meditation isn’t really your thing, then get out to your garden or pot some plants in a space that works for your house. Studies have shown that a strain of bacterium in soil has been found to release serotonin, decrease anxiety, improve cognitive function and even prevent some diseases! A bonus of getting your hands in the dirt is that after a few months you’ll have fresh produce or beautiful flowers to show for your efforts.
Life is busy and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of day to day obligations, but if you can set aside even thirty minutes to get outside, breathe in the fresh air, put your hands in the dirt and free yourself from mental and digital distractions, you might be surprised to see your life (and mood) improving in more ways than you thought possible.
It’s hard to want to be inside during spring, but it really is the perfect time to open all the windows & doors and start shaking the dust off of everything inside (literally). Going through your house, clearing the clutter, dusting, washing, and cleaning your space can do wonders for your physical and mental health. You won’t be breathing in all of the dust & bacteria that may have collected throughout the winter, and clearing the clutter will help give you peace of mind that you can use your free time to enjoy yourself rather than worrying about chores.
Here are some tips to make Spring Cleaning a breeze:
- Clean from the top down, that way any dust or debris that fall from the ceiling fan or upper shelves won’t land on a freshly cleaned counter.
- Use non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning supplies. One of my favorites is Mrs. Meyers, they use plant-derived ingredients and essential oils to create a product that works great and smells so good I actually want to clean.
- Pick one room at a time and tackle that one fully before moving on to the next. Create a list you can work off of and give yourself timelines so that you don’t keep putting it off until you suddenly realize it’s Fall and you still have a messy home.
- It’s the perfect time to deep clean all the items you rarely think about during daily chores. Clean the inside of the fridge, wipe down cabinets, wash the windows, dust baseboards - now’s the time to get detailed so you don’t have to do it later.
- Work off of a Spring Cleaning Checklist to make sure you don’t overlook anything. Taste of Home offers a great checklist.
Cleaning can be fun and feels so great once it’s finished. Put on some great tunes, let some fresh air in, gather all your yummy smelling cleaners and get down to business! You’ll feel so much happier once it’s finished, and your daily cleaning chores will be a breeze.
I encourage you to wake up early tomorrow, resist the urge to check your phone, get a workout in, take a cold shower and see how it impacts your mood for the day. When you get home in the afternoon set aside some “you” time, get outside, go for a walk, work in the garden, or make a plan for some spring cleaning. You might just find some of these activities become daily habits, and will help you take full advantage of this beautiful time of year.
Customer Service Manager | Erin Baker's