The chilly winter months go hand in hand with making hibernation a ritual – of just giving in, curling up, getting warm and battening down the hatches – but with that often comes the seasonal hazard of departing from a healthy routine with more comfort eating and less exercise entering the cosy picture. Though with temperatures gradually thawing, now is a good time to ease out of hibernation mode and banish bad habits that may have crept in. Here are some simple ways to get back a healthier lifestyle back on track.
Embrace the Outdoors
With temperatures now on the milder side, it is the perfect time to get some light physical activity going on outdoors. Not only can it rev up our energy levels and help our cardiovascular system work more efficiently, our bodies also need vitamin D from sunlight to keep our immune system bolstered. Start slow; avoid making the mistake of going too hard, too soon and consequently losing motivation. Start with a short walk or a gentle hike, combining exercise with getting amongst and enjoying nature. Try three 20-minute sessions a week to build a foundation and keep things manageable. Dipping into some mindfulness practice while you are outdoors has also been shown to be beneficial for both mind and body in ways that seated meditation may not.
Embrace Seasonal Ingredients
Make the most of the new season fruit and vegetables coming to the fore as the weather starts to warm up. Whether you’re tossing into a salad, grilling on your resurrected barbie, spreading on your toast, or simply eating fresh and raw, try your culinary hand at some colourful, flavoursome dishes using new season produce such as yams, watercress, asparagus, artichokes, courgettes and avocado as well as grapefruit, pomegranate, strawberries, tangelos and tamarillos. Sprucing up your diet for Spring with light, fresh meals full of colour is the perfect way to ease you out of a seasonal funk.
Pull Back on the Snooze
It is easier to become accustomed to pulling the covers over your head for an extra hour (or two) of sleep over the colder months but now is the time to resist that urge and push yourself to get up a little earlier than feels comfortable. Over-sleeping can throw off our sleep cycle, leave us feeling foggy-headed and even augment depression. Taking in a dose of morning light for at least ten or 20 minutes a day, also helps to keep our internal clock in order.
High intensity workouts are not for everybody. A great way to improve your outlook and raise your energy level in the wake of the winter doldrums is to start a simple routine of some quick and easy morning stretches. Not only will it help you to organise your thoughts before stepping into the busy day ahead but it will also promote blood circulation and decrease the risk of injury especially if done at the start of a more in-depth workout. Aim to stretch after taking a warm shower first-thing to ensure the blood is pumping and your muscles are looser.
Spring Clean Your Home
Throw open your windows and wave good-bye to winter with a good, old-fashioned deep spring clean. Replace caustic cleaners with greener, more natural alternatives and freshen your indoor air with a finishing touch of some all-natural essential oil aromatherapy. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree oil, as well as orange, lemon and grapefruit oils are great all-rounders for their anti-bacterial, naturally purifying and cleansing properties, and will help to refresh and purify your home while reviving your mind and body. Consider adding in some indoor purifying plants to help increase air quality and reduce mould spores, while introducing some vibrant greenery into your home.