SPRING CLEAN YOUR MIND & BODY
Who else is excited to be saying goodbye to chilly winter & hello to beautiful spring? I am! As fortunate as we in Australia to experience four defined and unique seasons, by the end of August I am usually pretty happy to be welcoming the warmer months.
Another reason for my excitement is that I know winter is not always an easy season for a lot of people, in terms of mental wellness. "More than half (54%) of Australians say that they experience increased difficulty waking up in the morning in winter compared to the warmer months. ... More than 1 in 4 experience increased irritability (28%) and a feeling of pessimism (26%) during the winter months as well." It's quite alarming isn't it?
Growing up in Melbourne where it's chilly for a huge chunk of the year, I can absolutley relate to the mental hurdles winter brings. Grey days can = grey moods. And grey moods = lower motivation levels. As we move out of winter & into spring it's important to give our mind and bodies the best chance of feeling positive, well & fuelling our immune systems with nutrients & preventative care. To get into tip-top shape, I've popped some ideas below. Some of the ideas might seem obvious, however it's quite amazing how many of us can forget the simple basics.
Keep Your Immune System Strong
- Wash your hands properly and often! Even though winter is done, the flu and other lurgies can still hover around. Sneezes, coughs & runny noses are not quite done yet. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing for the day, lather your hands with soap a few times (or more!) per day & avoid using common hand towels. The last thing you want as the weather warms up, is to be stuck inside with an unwanted bug.
- Load up on veggies! From healthy, hearty soups, to salads, roasts, barbecues and even veggie packed juices or smoothies, there is a stack of ways to make sure your body is getting enough vitamins, nutrients & antioxidants each day. Antioxidants especially, are vital for our general wellbeing & they are fantastic for preventing cell damage as they're high in Vitamin C and E. If your skin is looking & little dull and colourless post winter, loading up on veggies such as kale, spinach, red cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin can do wonders.
- Find your local farmers markets & stock up on fresh fruit and veg produce (and organic if you can). For the freshest of produce, go and befriend your local markets. I swear the stuff you'll find to cook with is brighter & has more flavour! + the organically farmed produce is pesticide free which is a mega plus for your insides! Don't forget to bring your own material bags, baskets, bottles and even your old egg cartons when you are shopping at the markets. NO plastic is the key.
- Drink LOTS of water! If you can get into the habit of drinking 2 or 3 litres of water each day, you're doing a very good job. Water helps our bodies to flush out toxins & stay hydrated. If you find water hard to drink, adding lemon, cucumber, ginger or mint to your bottle is a nice way to keep it interesting. Plus you'll get an added hit of vitamins at the same time. Do the planet a favour & grab yourself a reusable (i.e. non-plastic) bottle. You can find them pretty much anywhere these days, even at the chemists. One reusable bottle could save you from consuming over 200 bottles in a year - or more. Imagine the reduction of plastic water-bottles if everyone did this!
- Try to get some time outside everyday. Vitamin D from natural sunlight is so important for our mindset & since it's now September, we should be seeing a lot more of it. Going for a brisk walk to work or eating your breaky/lunch outside is a simple way to get some rays. As well as a good mood booster, we rely on Vitamin D as it helps our bodies to absorb calcium, which we need to keep our bones strong + keep many other important bodily functions on track. Remember that UV rays are super strong between around 11am and 3pm (even when it's grey). Wearing SPF whenever your outside is a must - especially for Australians. Finding a good tinted moisturiser or a foundation with SPF can provide good sun protection. Keep in mind however nothing beats actual sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen under your makeup as a primer is a good habit to fall into. Do yourself a favour & look for SPF30 or SPF50 - Broad Spectrum.
Spring Clean Your Mind!
- Similar to the point above - get outdoors! Exposing your body to natural light can do wonders for your mood & mindset. I personally thrive on sunlight in terms of a source of happiness and rejuvenation. A little warmth on your skin is a beautiful feeling as it's extremely awakening & calming. Again, remember to wear sunscreen!! Even if you're inside, UVA rays can penetrate through glass (meaning, yes! You can get burnt inside!!). So again, make sure that the SPF you're using is Broad Spectrum which means it'll protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
- Workout. Staying fit & active. Engaging in some challenging workout sessions is almost a guaranteed way to boost your mood. A hit of natural endorphins should never be underestimated as it's impact is almost instant & always positive. Remember to push yourself if you can. If you're doing 20 sets of something - give 40 a go... of 50! Feeling a strong burn might hurt at the time, but it's a short term pain for a long term gain. Both physically & mentally. I find that when my body is strong & toned, my mindset is more balanced. I feel empowered.
- Focus on getting a great sleep. The change of seasons can make people feel a little frazzled - it's very common! Getting a good nights sleep is vital, so you can wake up feeling rested and reset. Fight the urge and the addiction ... and switch off all technology (especially social media apps on your phone!), a few hours before you jump into bed. This will allow your mind to slow & your eyes to switch off. When you're in bed, think of everything and everyone who is great in your life. Don't think this is corny, as it's definitely not. The impact of practising a little gratitude in your life might actually surprise you. Gratitude allows us to be present in our own lives, rather than constantly being spectators of other peoples lives. If you befriend yourself and your life, your sense of self-worth and confidence will improve rapidly.
- Make a list. The start of a new month often makes people want to reset & refresh. If you're one of those people, good on you! Your set of goals might seem overwhelming but don't let stress get the best of you. The answer? Lists! And I am the QUEEN of lists, and the biggest advocate of using them as a way to stay on track and continue moving forward. I write lists all year long for everything & I swear by them. If you want to use spring as a foundation to "spring clean" your day-to-day lifestyle, I'd suggest you get into the habit of writing a list each and every morning. Tick off what you've achieved at the end of each day and make sure you allow yourself to feel good about it. The smallest of achievement, is still a GREAT achievement. If there are things you didn't get to that day, just add them to your list the next day. I sometimes have things on my list that seem like they've been there forever, but that's ok. The best you can do, is your best. Remember, life is NOT a race. Slowing down is never a negative, it's a sign you're taking control.
- Be Social/Get Social. If you've been in a little bubble of hibernation during winter - it's time to get out & see people. Your friends, family, colleagues - whoever. Socialising is a great way to get your body moving & your mind ticking. It can be a great distraction if you're worrying about something. People, when you least expect it, can bring you clarity & perspective.
Spring is such a special time of year. Nature is blooming, the air is warming and the skies are clearing up. Try and replicate these occurrences internally as well.
You don't need to reinvent a "new you", because the current one is unique & wonderful. If you're coming out of a tough winter however, do yourself a big favour. Befriend and nurture your body and your mind. Do what you can to reignite your energy & your zest for life - and sometimes it's the simplest little things than can have the most amazing effects.
We only get one lifetime, so let's make it a ripper!!
SOURCE OF MENTAL HEALTH QUOTE https://mccrindle.com.au/insights/blogarchive/winter-blues-having-real-impact-in-australia/