Updated: May 5, 2019
You don't have much time to add wellness spring cleaning to a busy schedule, but the body, mind, and spirit needs a freshen' up too! Seasonal changes are not easy on the psyche, here are a few ways to incorporate internal spring cleaning, while still having time to roll with the punches of life. The information posted here is not intended as medical advise, it is a guide to help people towards a path for wellness; all medical questions should be directed to your physician.
1. Nutrition: Take Action by Adding a Mindful Eating Day Once a Week
I do seasonal dietary cleanses to reinforce healthy eating habits, to get back-on-track. Though some cleanses can be extreme, eating mindfully can be simple and easy. Always keep any allergies or dietary restrictions in mind when choosing your mindful menu, each persons dietary needs are different. Consult your physician with any medical questions associated with nutrition.
Choosing one day every week makes mindful eating a snap, here's how.
1. Journal. Write down what you wish to accomplish with your daily nutrition. Figure out which foods and beverages are holding you back from ultimate health. What would you like to add to your diet for optimal health? How do you feel about your current nutrition? Analyzing the relationship with food helps to identify which changes need to happen and how to get there.
2. Make a food plan for the day of mindful eating. Write this plan in your nutrition journal. Choose a day, and create a healthy menu for yourself.
3. Ditch the addicting foods for the mindful eating day. These are the foods that provide a crutch for stress and routine. Replace them with water, herbal teas, and plant based meals with lean proteins (if appropriate for you). Choose lite healthy snacks in the mindful eating menu. Support the liver for cleansing with fresh squeezed lemon water throughout the day. Think and journal on how you feel and how to make changes for a regular diet.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
All parts of our human bodies require plain water to function.
Appropriate levels of water intake can make you feel (and maybe look younger)! Our basic needs for survival include air, water, food, shelter, massage therapy😊 and chocolate (well, maybe not chocolate). The human body is made up of about 60% water (this includes our skin, this is where the "look younger" piece comes in). That's over half of our body weight! Our deep connection with water is cellular, to the very last drop. When you are dehydrated, all body systems move slower. Cells actually slow-down, the brain can't function the same as when it's hydrated, and all vital organs depend heavily on water. It's our job to keep our systems working in homeostasis, by replacing lost water. We lose body water just from living. Breathing, sweating (even if you don't feel a sweat), and urinating, all contribute to water loss. Alternately, some medical conditions can contribute to bodily fluid imbalances, where water retention can cause health imbalances or disorder. Always take responsibility for your unique physique and consult a physician if there are any medical questions about your water intake.
*Here are easy ways to maintain water intake throughout the day.
1. Carry a water bottle with you. Fill it in the morning and just bring it everywhere. Find filtered water sources throughout the day to refill.
2. Use your nutrition to hydrate. Water rich fruits and vegetables add to our overall water content. Foods such as celery, citrus fruits, and broth soups can add variety to the day.
3. Drink herbal tea! Herbal teas help us to take a step back and can have a calming effect in a busy day. Herbal teas are a flavorful alternative to drinking plain water, while still hydrating the body.
4. Add lemon or lime wedges to your water to make it more palatable. Squeeze half a lemon (for juice) into your water. The citric acid in lemon has been proven to aid in digestion in the stomach, helps with liver function, and is good for the skin. Also, the scent of lemon is soothing and helps to balance moods.
5. Drink water with meals. Water has zero calories, so it can help with weight management by replacing sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages and calorie rich beverages. It will also save you money when going out to eat!
*IMPORTANT* Something to consider before chugging a gallon of water. It is possible to drink too much water. Take responsibility for yourself and find out how much daily water intake is right for your unique body type. Here is a link to "recommendations" for water intake levels.
3. Meditate While you Mow. Turn your Chores Zen
Lawn or turf grass, covers more acreage area than any other crop in the United States. Even more than corn and wheat. Americans love lawns. It's true that if we turned our decorative lawns into gardens we could feed our neighbors. Even still, I have a lawn. I don't mind mowing it, but I don't love it. I find myself thinking while mowing the lawn. Here is a great opportunity to use outdoor springtime chores for zen moments. It's easily done, and you get your lawn mowed while incorporating meditation into daily chores. PS, if you don't have a lawn, you can apply this meditation activity to other daily mundane chores, such as washing dishes, or raking the lawn. I coin these as Zen Chores.
1. Get going on your task, get into the flow of what your doing. Notice your surroundings. What smells and sounds are around (we know what they are if your mowing, but take note anyway).
2. Take stock of what's in your brain, ponder it for a moment. Then see your thoughts, in your minds eye, as passing clouds. Each thought becomes a cloud on a light breeze. Eventually, clear the sky of thought clouds. This is where you are fully aware but clear of thought. Focus on your breath and your task without analyzing it. You are in the moment.
3. Take it a step higher and incorporate a daily meditation practice, finding a quiet space to tune in is essential. Meditation is the ultimate spring cleaning for the mind, and the health benefits are evidence based!
4. Get a Massage!
"Of course. 'Get a Massage' is on the list, she's a massage blogger!"
It's true though, my knowledge of the health benefits of massage are scientifically based, as well as anecdotal. There will be several future blog posts about massage for health. One of the most overwhelming [scientifically proven] benefit of therapeutic massage is it's ability to reduce the negative effects of stress. This is why receiving massage during seasonal changes is so important. Relax and reset your wellness patterns as we head into spring and summer. Many of my clients report that their massage treatment plan is a catalyst to maintaining other positive health behaviors. And it feels good, especially after doing spring yard work (like mowing the lawn).
5. Howl at the Moon
All I am saying is, take a moment each day and night to connect with nature. It's a sad day that MD's are now prescribing "nature therapy" to counteract the negative effects of our unnatural ways of daily living. The advice I am about to give here is completely anecdotal. Based on my own experience, I highly recommend standing outside each night to take a few deep breaths of air, and looking at the night sky, take it all in. This is my time to think about the universe, spirit, night sounds, and the magic of life and nature. If the moon is out it's a lovely sight to behold. My neighbors might think I'm bat shit crazy, but when the mood strikes I belt out a howl or three at the moon. It's a liberating feeling, I dare you to try it tonight.