Forming New Life Habits: Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine

Form New Life HabitsWith chirping birds and blossoming flowers, spring brings not only beauty but also hope. Not only to nature but also its inhabits–including humans. As humans, we awaken when the weather becomes bouncier. Springs tells the body to move out of hibernation-mode and into renewal.

Unfortunately, some of the residual effects of winter take the spring out of our step. For instance, the unusually harsh winter in my area, left me unable to train adequately for a recent half-marathon. Plus my general exercise routine also took a hit. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I have a new beginning. The setbacks that happened were just an opportunity to learn more, and develop extra options next winter. Now I can start anew.

So can you. Now that it is spring, how can you start over or freshen up some old life habits. Here are some ideas.

Change What You Eat

Spring is an excellent time to experiment with lighter foods. In the winter, we normally crave heavier, more comforting food. Springtime is a chance to cleanse. Do this by adding more raw foods to your diet. Try greens foods such as watercress, broccoli and dandelion leaves. Add some sprouts to your sandwiches. Snack on cherries and strawberries.

Change Your Exercise Routine

With the weather being warm but not too hot, this is an excellent time to shake up your exercise routine. Try walking for 10 minutes every day. Train for an upcoming 5k. Take up a new sport such as tennis. Check out active.com to find activities and competitions in your area. No one exercise is for everyone. Nevertheless, almost everyone can find at least one enjoyable physical activity.

Stress Less and Let the Sunshine In

The sun is shining more. Take advantage of it. Lighten your mood and energize your body by going outside at least ten minutes every day. Sunlight adjusts your circadian rhythms and the level of melatonin in your body. Circadian rhythms and melatonin are related the proper functioning of the body’s sleep and wake cycle.

Form a New Life Habit

It’s easy to stay warm and comfortable. However, if you stretch beyond your comfort zone, you’ll benefit in surprising ways. You may discover a new passion, inspiration, even an alternative career adaptation. So, give yourself a chance to adapt and grow. Make it a goal to try something you always wanted to do in the next three months. Commit to this goal. Don’t talk yourself out of it.

A Short Guide to Self-Acceptance

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." ~Oscar Wilde

I’m not perfect. You’re not either. And that’s okay. Every day we’re bombarded with images of the perfect life, body and home. Sometimes it seems that like we never will measure up. Not true. Everything outside us is an illusion. What real is what we feel. To open ourselves up to a happier, more fulfilling life, we must accept ourselves– warts, pimples, cellulite and all.

Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you stop all attempts to grow. Self-acceptance does means that you accept your strengths along with your weakness; that you know what you can control and what you cannot. In reality, for instance, it may mean accepting that dieting and exercising may never make you look like a supermodel, but these behaviors within reason may help you feel better and more energetic.

If you’re unsure about how to pursue the road to self-acceptance, check out these tips below.

Avoid Comparing Yourself

Don’t demonize or worship someone else’s life, accomplishments or setbacks. If you’re not that person, you don’t know the true story behind their actions. You don’t know how hard the work. You don’t know what going inside their family or inside their head, for that matter. Instead, use yourself as a yardstick.

Exercise: Be mindful. When you are around friends and family, become aware of how many times you compare yourself, either negatively or positively. Notice how it makes you feel.

Don’t Fight the Feeling

It’s normal to get upset, jealous, anxious or angry. The key is not to stew or to force positive affirmations. Ride the wave.

Exercise: Take five minutes. Sit still and watch your thoughts. Don’t fight the thoughts or the emotions. Let them come and go.

Mistakes Happen

When you fail to reach your goal or temporarily have a mishap, remember that you’re human. You will always make mistakes; everyone will. Avoid judging yourself too harshly. If you make a mistake, own it and learn from it.

Exercise: If your mistakes are overwhelming you, take a step back and evaluate. Grab a journal or a piece of paper. And write your perceived mistake. Come up with at least three ways you can prevent it from happening again or handle it differently.

Appreciate Yourself

You’re special. You’re wonderful. You have a purpose. Remember to acknowledge and thank yourself regularly.

Exercise: Many people take themselves for granted. Show yourself gratitude every day. It’s not enough to take care of your physical needs. Step it up. Do something every day that makes you feel loved and appreciated. Give yourself flowers, take a bubble bath or indulge in a guilty pleasure.

Four Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

You can’t escape stress. It’s both needed and inevitable. What’s not needed is chronic stress that occurs when you have downtime to reset your mind and body. Chronic stress is not simply feeling annoyed and fatigued. If you don’t take care of your stress now, serious mental and physical health problems may happen. Chronic stress leads to a host of problems ranging from headaches and depression to constipation and heart disease. It’s always helpful to have a few stress management techniques handy to help you effectively cope.

If you are looking for ways to reduce the burden of stress, consider the following stress management strategies.

Take a Deep Breath

Breathing deeply calms you down, centers you and reduces burdensome stress. How does such a seemingly simple technique work? Breathing from the diaphragm or belly activates your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of our nervous responsible for calming us down).

Exercise: Take a moment to notice whether your breathing pattern. Are you breathing deeply or shallowly? Next, inhale for four counts. Exhale for four counts. Repeat up to five times, or until you’ve calmed down.

Emotional Freedom Technique

Some people tap stress out by saying an affirmation and then tapping on specific body points. Despite its seemingly weird method, it may work for you. This emotional freedom technique is a form of exposure treatment. The theory behind the emotional freedom technique (also known as tapping) is that acupressure combined imagining a situation reduces the body’s overreaction to stress and anxiety.

Exercise: Click here to check out Gary Craig’s (the founder of the EFT technique) free gold standard EFT tapping tutorial.

Tap into Your Support System

A good support system can buffer the effects of stress and negativity. On a biological level, social support reduces cortisol release and increase oxytocin release. Oxytocin helps you become more resilient to stress and its effects.

To experience this, build a social support system. A social support system doesn’t have to be a formal group. Nor does it consist of only family and friends. You just need to be comfortable around these people. Your support system should also have people who boost you and not tear you down.

Exercise: Make a list of people who make you feel accepted and fill you with a sense of self-worth. Contact at least one of these individuals every day, preferably during times when you feel stressed.

Listen to Classical Music

A strong link exists between music and our emotions. We can use music to rev us up. We can also use it to calm us down. Like with deep breathing, when you listen to classical music you activate your parasympathetic system and encourage positive emotions. An added bonus, listening to classical music after experiencing stress can lower your anxiety levels.

Exercise: If you have access to Songza, Spotify, or a similar service. Subscribe to a classical music playlist. Listen to the music before, during or after stressful activities. If you don’t like classical music, listen to music that you enjoy. You’ll experience similar benefits.

What works for you? Please share your experience below.