Note: I originally published this article pre-COVID – but I really think every action step I provide is relevant and helpful for re-establishing healthy routines during this transitional and challenging time. Have a read, and don’t forget to be gentle with yourself!
Spring is in the air! Can you feel it? Ok, maybe not quite yet but the days are getting longer and I’m pumped! If you’ve been in hibernation mode, don’t worry it’s ok! Hibernation mode is not only natural, it’s normal and healthy to do a little less in the cold winter months (check out this blog about it here).
But sometimes that transition from hibernation to rocking our spring/ summer groove is a little rough. (read: I actually had a nap part way through writing this blog #reallife).
So, how can we gently coax ourselves out of hibernation? With love and kindness?
I’ve got 5 simple action steps you can take to help you put your spring back in your step and re-energize you:
1. Move (with Joy).
Surprise, surprise. The fitness professional is talking about movement – but I’m not talking about fitness (not specifically at least -scroll down if you’re looking for more fitness specific ideas), I’m talking about movement. Play. Have you every noticed how children move when they play? They just let loose and move with ease. It’s lovely. They don’t think about it as a chore or something they should do, they just MOVE.
Action step: take a cue from children & reconnect to your sense of PLAY. What to do? Put on your favourite music and dance. Meet a friend for a walk and talk. Hit the park and throw a frisbee or find some friends to play a game with. But move with JOY. Want to do more? Cool. But no pressure. But I will say this – 20-minutes per day adds up to great health outcomes (it’s in the science)! So lean in (with love) and have FUN!
2. Laugh (from your belly).
Laughter is a beautiful way to lighten up your mood and help you come out of your hibernation cave. BONUS: laughter has a lot of short term and long term health benefits! Short term it stimulates the heart, lungs and muscles and releases endorphins (feel good hormones). Long term it can improve your immune system, alleviate pain and improve your mood!
Action step: find ways to incorporate laughter into your day. Schedule it if you need to. Seek out funny things. YouTube videos or a visit with a funny friend are my go-to’s. Check out this new instagram page from Ellen Degeneres all about cute animals! Or this compilation of squirrel pictures. Or pretty much anything from this hilarious comedian.
3. Drink water.
I know, I know, us health professionals harp on this one a lot, but it’s because it matters. Your body is composed of 60+% water and simply through activities of daily living (aka breathing and eliminating) you lose water. Which means you need to replace it. That afternoon slump/ foggy brain? Often dehydration.
Action step: build water into your daily habits! Try having a glass first thing. Or one with every meal or snack. Or make a healthy swap! Instead of grabbing that afternoon coffee, consider making it decaf (not nearly as dehydrating), herbal tea OR straight up H2O!
4. Get outside.
There is more and more research coming out about the impact of “Vitamin N” (nature) on our mental health. According to the results of the 30×30 Nature Challenge “spending 30 minutes in nature for 30 days results in an increased ability to concentrate, more energy and vitality and a significantly increased overall sense of well-being.”
Action step: make a commitment to be outside for just 5 or 10 minutes every day. And remember this doesn’t mean you have to be ACTIVE in nature (no pressure!). Sit at the beach. Soak up the springtime sun. Forest bathe (literally just hangout in nature and let your intuition guide you!). With time you might aim for an average of 30-minutes per day, but remember any time in nature is awesome!
5. Spring clean your social.
One of the most powerful habits I have on social media is to keep my feed clean. If things bother/ irritate me, I unfollow. If it goes against my philosophy or belief system, I unfollow. If it drags my energy down, I unfollow. I actively seek out pages and profiles that lift me up so my newsfeed becomes a source of inspiration and energy.
Action step: This one is simple. Spend 10 minutes TODAY going through your feed with the intention of making it brighter! Unfollow groups, pages, unfollow and even unfriend the odd person if you need to. Happy cleaning!
Of course there are so many other things you could do too – but this is a nice start. And as you embark on your spring reset remember this: progress is perfection. There’s no one “right way” to do this. There’s just YOUR way. So get out there and rock it!