You did it. The long, stormy winter is over and spring is here! Daylight awaits us in abundance, warmth without having to turn on the heating, and the world is starting to get really green and leafy again.
But before you reach for the bleach and marigolds, it’s worth considering Spring cleaning with a difference – one that reprioritizes your health for the season.
We asked the experts for advice on how to reinvigorate our daily routines to give us the spring we all need.
Choose your diet
Meals are fresher in spring. Asparagus (which is anti-inflammatory), broad beans (high in folic acid), and peas (an excellent source of vitamin C) are in season, and heavy carbs can give way to lighter, brighter plates.
All of this means it can be a great time of year to strengthen your gut microbiome (the good bacteria in your gut that help take care of digestion and your immune system), says Louise Mason, nutritional therapist at Optibac Probiotics.
“Research shows that the greater the variety of foods you consume, the better your gut health and overall health,” she says. She suggests “eating a new food every day for a month” to increase that variety. That’s no excuse to try a new brand of cookies though – sorry!
“Try to eat Fermented Foods daily, like sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha to keep your levels of good bacteria balanced,” says Louise. They’re packed with gut-boosting probiotics — live bacteria and yeast. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is also key, she says. “These foods provide the gut with prebiotics that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.”
Taking care of your gut can also help you ward off spring colds as about 70% of your immune system resides in it. It is also believed that your gut and mental health are inseparable and support each other. “This link is understandable since 90% of your serotonin [happy hormone] is made in the gut,” says Louise.
Is anyone not on a mission to get more zzzs? You may schedule an early night’s sleep to avoid being woken up by your alarm on bright mornings, but this may not produce the restful outcome you desire.
“When spring comes, you may find yourself waking up earlier because the sun rises earlier in the day. This can make you want to go to bed earlier, but it’s really important not to go to bed until you’re feeling really tired because the longer you lie awake in bed, the more likely it is that you’ll lose your bed unconsciously associate with being awake. says Kathryn Pinkham, founder of the Insomnia Clinic.
Everybody is sleep cycle is different, but research suggests that going to bed between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. is best for your health.* Drastically changing your bedtime to much earlier can disrupt your cycle and, in turn, your health. “Instead, make the most of the lighter evenings and do something you enjoy before bed if you’re really tired,” adds Kathryn.
Follow your deepest desires
We can all get complacent at times, even in bed, so consider this new season a chance to do so Clean up all relationship cobwebssays life and relationship coach at Mamma Wellbeing, Kapil Gupta.
“As we become more intimate in relationships, we often stop sharing our desires,” he explains. His top tip for turning those longings into reality? Write down what you want—in life and in love—and take time to listen to your partner’s dreams so you can act on them together. “Sharing keeps the current flowing.”
When you get in the mood, sex coach Josefina Bashout advises you to stop focusing solely on positions and orgasms. “Instead, take the pressure off and re-explore each other’s bodies,” she says. She advises trying “deep abdominal breathing,” either alone or side-by-side in bed, to “clear the energy stuck in the body, increase sensitivity, and improve your connection.”
this traditional tantric practice should make you calmer, more present and more receptive to touch. Just take a deep breath into your stomach and count to seven, then breathe out seven. Repeat and sync with your other half to make it more intense.
On a practical level, sexual health charity Brook argues that the best thing you can do to cleanse your sex life is to get an STI test. Ideally, you should be tested every three to six months, or any time you have a new sex partner in your life. You can get tested at a clinic or order a home test kit that you mail back. After all, good sex is safer sex.
As we become more intimate in relationships, we often stop sharing our desires. Sharing together keeps the current flowing.
Kapil Gupta, Relationship Coach at Mamma Wellbeing
The feeling of being depressed inexorability of life, instead of being energized by the start of a new season? Counselor and life coach Alison Tinsley says you should look in your journal and see what portion of your week is devoted to others and what portion is devoted to you. This will make it clear if prioritizing your own needs is something you need to work on.
“From there, you can create a rotating list that meets everyone’s needs, including your own, so that your self-care is at the top of the list at least two or three times a day – for any period of time from a few minutes to several hours. You are just as important as anyone else in your life!” she says.
Alison also suggests setting aside time for regular breaks throughout the day. Download the Stand Up! app – reminding you to stop what you are doing, get up and take a break. “This can create space to breathe, reflect, and make more informed decisions, rather than allowing our emotions to do it for us,” she adds. Sounds like the antidote to a stressful day at work!
Tackle this junk draw
Still keen to get out that feather duster? You can totally bind Spring cleaning for your home jump into spring cleaning for your well-being, says Lynsey Crombie, aka the Queen of Clean. “The old adage ‘Order in the house, order in the head’ has stuck around for a reason,” she says.
Decluttering means “mentally and physically sorting out the things we don’t need in our lives,” Lynsey adds. “It will help you see what you have in your life, what you no longer need in it, and what you want.”
Additionally, a UCLA study found that women who live in crowded apartments are more prone to depression and fatigue, and have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Tidying up can actually be cleansing, “it makes you feel lighter and less stressed and anxious,” says Lynsey. She recommends starting with a drawer or closet and asking a friend for help if you’re scared of decluttering but know it will benefit you.
Or try the Beat The Boil challenge, where you put the kettle on and multitask to the max to see how many small cleaning jobs – from wiping down kitchen surfaces to washing up – you can do before your kettle rings. Perfect time for a cup of coffee, then…
- Source: *European Heart Journal
https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/17974578/spring-clean-health-body-mind/ I’m a health expert – here are five tips to strengthen your body and mind this spring