How to "Spring Clean" Your Health Routine
Spring cleaning needn’t be just around the house – you can also spring clean your body. Here are some simple ways to make spring a time to renew your health and wellness routines.
Get outside in nature – and get some sun
Spring always means nicer weather, so if winter has kept you cooped up indoors, spring is a terrific opportunity to get reacquainted with nature. Take a hike through the woods, go on a picnic, or simply sit in your backyard.
Studies suggest spending time in nature reduces stress.
One study found that “green” exercise – physical activity outdoors – leads to positive short- and long-term health outcomes, including improved self-esteem and mood.1 The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture believes so much in these benefits that they coined a term for spending time hiking through forests. The term Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is encouraged to counter nature deprivation and get more people outside.
If you find it difficult to spend more time outdoors, then consider bringing the outdoors inside. Freshen up your home or workplace with spring plants or flowers.
Not only do these plants help decorate your home or workspace, houseplants are also natural air purifiers and can raise the humidity of the air around you. Indoor plants might help reduce stress, too.
Refresh your workout routine
Now that nature’s hibernation season is over, spring is an opportunity to commit to a new workout routine. A stagnant exercise routine leads to boredom and the propensity for muscle memory – both can minimize your fitness results. Switch up your exercise routine by incorporating more outdoor activities.
Not only will exercise help shed “winter weight,” it also can be a way to relieve stress and help the body remove toxins.
Fat cells in the body are made up of more than just fat. These cells store good things like vitamins and hormones, but fat cells also store bad things like pollutants and toxins. When we exercise and lose weight, fat cells shrink, which helps flush out toxins and pollutants from the body.
Take a technology “detox”
Although technology has made life easier, too much technology can make life more difficult and leave us feeling stressed out. Consider a technology detox that cuts back on too much stimulation.
Designate a technology-free time during your day or set aside one day of the week when you avoid watching TV, using your laptop, spending time on social media, or using your smartphone.
In addition, you can use an app to track your screen time. Apps like Moment track the amount of time you spend on your smartphone and will allow you to set limits to reduce that time.
In addition to exercise, a clean and healthy diet is great for weight management and helping the body to detox. Thorne’s 10-Day Detox Program is a great place to start. It’s designed to help the body cleanse by providing an easy-to-follow diet and suggested supplementation that supports efficient cleansing.*
Restock your spice rack
Not only will herbs and spices add flavor to your food, they also benefit your health. Certain spices, such as these 5, offer particular benefits for a healthy heart and blood vessels.
However, spices left sitting in a cabinet for months on end are less potent.
That’s why you should take the time to spring clean your spice cabinet. Throw out old or expired spices and restock with fresh ones. Buy spices in smaller quantities to keep them fresh and to avoid throwing them out next year. And fresh spices are more prevalent this time of the year. Spring is also a good time to plant some herbs.
If it’s too early to grow them in your garden or purchase them at the farmer’s market, then try growing them on a sunny windowsill in your kitchen or purchasing them in the produce department at the grocery store. If you don’t use them up before they start going bad, dry them by hanging them in a bunch upside down in a warm dry spot.
Create a better sleep schedule
Sleep affects just about every aspect of health, from physical and mental performance to mood and weight control. Yet many Americans don’t get enough good sleep. Here are some simple steps to renew healthy sleeping habits this spring:
- Eliminate light in the bedroom
- Avoid blue screens one hour before bedtime
- Exercise daily
- Don’t eat before bedtime
- Commit to a relaxing pre-sleep ritual
- Consider nutritional supplementation to support sleep’s natural triggers
- Test your hormone levels related to sleep to understand why you might be having sleep problems
Do something about your stress
Along with sleep, stress can affect our health in big ways. Stress can result in multiple unhealthy behaviors and moods – such as overeating (especially junk food), skipping meals, smoking, self-medicating with alcohol, wakefulness at night, and irritability.
And chronic, long-term stress can lead to serious health issues.
Therefore, managing stress is critical to good health, and you should definitely make de-stressing a part of your spring wellness routine. Engaging in regular exercise, getting restful sleep, drinking lots of water, finding a relaxing de-stress ritual, eating healthier, and avoiding stress when possible are valuable strategies to reduce and cope with stress.
- Barton J, Pretty J. What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environ Sci Technol 2010;44:3947-3955.