As the last bit of winter ice melts away, spring is on everyone’s minds. As we all get ready to embrace the warmer weather, blooming flowers, and bright, blue skies, we usually adjust our habits in order to leave the winter cold behind. Meaning, we leave the dark, artificial lights our houses gave us and spend more time in the fresh spring air. We transition our wardrobe, clean our homes, and, believe it or not, adjust our diets.
When you hear the term “spring cleaning,” undoubtedly you picture a weekend filled with cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of clutter in your home. This is an awesome ritual to take part of, and both you and your home benefit. Moving around the furniture, organizing your closets, and sweeping out the dust and stale air isn’t just good for the house. You probably feel better after you do it. This is because cluttered and stuffy spaces affect everything, from your quality of sleep and eating habits to your peace of mind.
However, when you take your spring cleanse into the kitchen—yes, farther than reorganizing the pantry—you will better be able to welcome the new season with a new and fresh energy. Throughout the winter it’s likely you turned to warmer and heavier food choices, which is normal and totally okay.
We all eat differently depending on the season, but it’s likely that your body could use a boost. Just as you clean out your house, detoxing your body of the hearty winter meals, holiday indulgences, and all-around less active lifestyle is hugely important.
So, if you’re still feeling the winter blues and need help transitioning into the new season, here are spring cleaning tips for a healthier, happier lifestyle to embrace the springtime and all its new beginnings.
- Flush your system.
The best way to jumpstart your spring cleanse is by flushing your system with water and tea. Water is essential to any healthy lifestyle. Drinking enough water throughout the day not only hydrates you, but also revs up your metabolism and gives you a spike in energy levels. Specifically, when you drink a glass of cold water first thing in the morning, you give a kick start to your metabolism, which is a great way to start your day. Include lemon to your glass of H2O for added health benefits.
If you find it hard to stick to water throughout the day, then opt for teas. Tea is super hydrating, and most of them are loaded with antioxidants and cleansing properties. In the morning or during that afternoon slump, sip black or green tea. They both give you a jolt of energy from the caffeine, without the jitters. Some great cleansing teas are dandelion, burdock, ginger, licorice root, fennel, and cardamom. If you’re feeling under the weather, reach for oolong, and, when you need to relax or have trouble sleeping, drink chamomile.
- Drink homemade juices.
Don’t let the first point confuse you. Spring is the best season for homemade juices and broths. When you opt to make your own juices and broths, you have complete and utter control over the ingredients, ensuring they are high quality.
The enzymes in fresh fruit and veggies flush out your toxins and give your body the extra nutrients that it’s been craving all winter long. While any fruit or vegetable is a good option, leafy green veggies are particularly cleansing during this transition. Ingredients such as dandelion, endive, parsley, beet, kale, arugula, spinach, chards, and bok choy should be at the top of your list to try.
- Get outside.
Since you’ve probably had to stay indoors all winter long or work out in the stale air of the gym, you’re probably itching to get outside. Don’t hesitate to head outdoors on a nice afternoon. Whether you bring your workout routine into nature or you just soak up some sunshine and fresh air, it will do you some good!
Take a walk or hike through the woods, on weekends complete your yoga session outdoors, or skip the treadmill and go for a run in the spring air. Spending time in nature is good for our bodies and mindset alike. When outside, we tend to slow down, forget about the stresses of the moment, and appreciate the little things. As you know, mental health is part of an overall active and healthy lifestyle. Be sure to pay close attention to revitalizing yours after the harsh winter.
- Manage your stress levels .
We don’t need to tell you to chill out. Stress wreaks havoc on your overall health. Stress can lead to so many problems, such as IBS, bloating, heartburn, headaches, anxiety, palpitations—the list could go on and on! Regular exercise will help reduce stress, but be sure to take time out of each day for yourself. Practice yoga, aim to mediate each day—even if it is just for 10 minutes a day—and take deep breaths.
- Banish bloat.
Bloating is caused by overeating, eating food that is loaded with sugar and carbs, as well as eating raw foods or eating in a stressful environment. During the winter months, it’s easy to do all of these, but, if you find yourself guilty of the above, now is the best time to eat in ways that banish bloat.
Make sure you take the time to eat mindfully. This means slowly chew your food and enjoy your meal. Don’t sit in front of the TV or sit at your desk at work. Also, keep in mind, warm and anti-inflammatory foods are usually easier to digest.
Solid options that ease stomach and intestinal discomfort include:
- Fennel seeds
- Shop right.
This might seem like common sense, but if you shop right, then you will eat right. Head to your local farmer’s market and grocery store for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. When you prepare fresh meals that give you nutrition and energy, you’ll feel better and have the right mindset to welcome spring.