March 20th marked the first day of Spring, but depending on where you live, winter might be lingering. For those of us in the Northwest, we've experienced everything from a week straight of rain and fresh snowfall on the mountains to glorious days that reach 75 degrees. I suppose spring is known for this fickle weather, but every time a nice day rolls but the signs of the new season are undeniable.
Cherry blossoms, daffodils and tulips are in full bloom. Daylight (or at least, day length) is up to 11 hours. People are combatting allergies and neighbors are planting their gardens. All the changes make me giddy.
Here are a few self care practices for the new season that focus on the traditional "spring cleaning", getting out into nature and holistically feeding your mind, body and spirit.
Self-Care for the Mind
- Fill Your Space With Fresh Blooms: Fight those grey or lingering winter days with vibrant flowers. I find it practically impossible to walk by flowers and not smile. The energetic colors help boost my mood and studies have shown that rooms with plants/flowers increase brain performance and encourage creativity. Bring on the blossoms!
2. Clear Out Space (physically and mentally): Have you ever noticed that a cluttered physical space translates to a chaotic mental state? I will be the first to admit that even though I don't enjoying shopping, I own a lot of stuff. My basement is full of gear and books I haven't looked at in years and my closet has pieces I cling to even though they don't get much use. Having too much, or trying to navigate through clutter can produce excess stimuli and stress and who needs that? Take a morning to go through a room or a junk drawer and start getting rid of the excess s#&t.
- 4 Foolproof Ways to Fit Decluttering Into Your Schedule Today by Apartment Therapy
3. Learn Something New: As we get older and comfortable in our routines, it's easy to live on auto-pilot. Studies show that about 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. We rely a LOT on habit. Learning a new skill stimulates neurons in the brain, fights boredom, increases learning speed and literally changes your brain chemistry.
Self-Care for the Body
1. Go On a Hike or Nature Walk - device free: Deprive yourself of a modern luxury (the smart phone) for a few hours and find yourself fully present in nature. Sunlight, time outside, and moving your body helps release stress, fuel inspiration and just feels damn good. Fresh air might not be the cure for every ailment, but it's a good place to start.
2. Rinse Your Sinuses: If you suffer from allergies, rinsing your sinuses is a natural way to wash out mucus and allergens. I purchased the Sinugator (what a name, right?) last season when I was sick and I couldn't believe how much could be stored in my nasal cavity. The saline solution that is used for rinsing restores moisture and eases inflammation of the mucous membranes which makes it easier to breathe. Neti-pots are a popular product for nasal irrigation and can be found at most drugstores for less than $20.
3. Create a spring-inspired meal: Get into a relationship with a local farmer and sign up for a CSA. You get to help a small farm stay viable and receive a box of freshly picked produce and products throughout the growing season. Win Win right? I'm personally inspired by the company "Imperfect Produce". They take fruits and veggies that would otherwise be wasted (because they aren't cosmetically beautiful enough for grocery stores), and deliver it to customers’ doors for 30-50% less than grocery store prices. You can customize your box and you help fight food waste!
Spring Recipe Ideas:
Self-Care for the Soul
1.) Create a Joy Ritual: What I love the most about joy rituals is that they can be super small and easy to integrate into the day. Try it out! Grab a piece of paper and jot down everything you can think of that brings you happiness. Circle the top 5 that you feel drawn to and try to include one or more of them in your day. My current joy rituals include;
2.) Plant a Garden: You don't need to be a green thumb, or have much space to create your own garden. Go small with an herb box or go big a few of your favorite vegetables. Having contact with the earth and getting your hands dirty is a grounding ritual. Lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, and broccoli all rank high on the list of easiest veggies to grow. Though a little research will go a long way in helping you figure out what grows best in your area.
3.) Limit E-mail and Social Media Time: According to a study published by Business Insider, we touch our phones approximately 2,617 times a day! Technology addiction is real and we're just beginning to see the mental health risks that are associated with too much screen time. A majority of my work is digital, but even after work is done I feel myself reaching for my devices to check social media or look something up on Google. I've found the best way to rid the urge, is to just turn off my phone completely.