Here’s how to spring clean your habits for better health
Following good habits is the cornerstone that many successful, fit people swear by. But no matter how health-oriented you are, it’s easy to fall into a rut during the cold winter months. When you’re dealing with a case of the winter blues, it’s not too hard to convince yourself to start moving less, eating more, and otherwise neglecting all those healthy habits you might normally be on top of.
So as the seasons change, now’s a great time to do a quick evaluation of the patterns you’ve been falling into in the past couple of months to see what’s been serving you … and what’s better left behind. Let’s do some self-care spring cleaning and establish some new daily healthy habits!
Healthy Habits to Start this Spring
Fine-tune your mornings.
On chilly, dark winter mornings, it’s easy to fall into the habit of repeatedly hitting that snooze button instead of getting up and going about your day. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you might be instantly reaching for your phone as soon as the alarm goes off and catching up on your work emails (and stressing yourself out before you even get out of bed).
Having a good morning routine that falls somewhere in between can help you set the tone for a productive day without immediately overloading. Aim for a good mix of mindful and focused activities in the morning instead: take advantage of the earlier sunrise and wake up a bit earlier, eat a healthy breakfast, hit a quick workout if you have time, and maybe even try a little meditation so you can better tackle the day ahead.
Eat more whole foods.
If you want to eat healthier but aren’t sure where to start, eating more whole foods rather than processed, pre-packaged stuff is a great first step.
Whole foods that are as close to their natural form as possible (think fresh produce, meat, whole grains, legumes, and dairy) retain more of their natural nutrients, which can come with health benefits like boosting your immune system and keeping your heart healthy. On the other hand, manufactured foods that have gone through an industrial food plant before reaching your kitchen (frozen meals, chips, basically anything that you would buy in a box) tend to have lost these valuable nutrients along the way, not to mention the addition of ingredients like sugars, salts, and trans fats.
So if you find that a big portion of your diet is coming from boxes and other packaged foods, choose whole foods more often. If convenience and time are big deciding factors in how you eat every day, you might consider setting aside some time to meal prep for the week so you always have something healthy to grab when you need it.
Spend more time outside (and less time staring at a screen).
We spend a lot of time glued to our screens. It’s even worse if you’re working from home – so many of us start the day scrolling through our social feeds to shuffling over to our computers and then ending the day zoned out to whatever’s streaming on the TV, without even the commute time to break the cycle. Unfortunately, all that screen time is linked to issues like poor sleep, eye strain, and poor stress regulation.
A great way to interrupt this endless cycle of screentime is to unplug and go outside when you can. Go for a nice walk in the morning, step outside during your work breaks, or explore some nearby trails or parks in your downtime. As an added bonus, getting some sunshine first thing in the morning can help you “reset” your circadian rhythm, which becomes affected by too much blue light from your screens. What that means for you: better sleep tonight!
Drink more water.
Staying hydrated is one of those things that always seems to end up on our list of New Year’s resolutions but inevitably gets shunted to the wayside over time. But now that the weather’s getting a little warmer, it’s the perfect time to recommit to drinking enough water to keep your cells happy and hydrated.
Keep a clean water bottle on hand wherever you go so you always have access to drinkable water whenever you need it. If you have a hard time keeping up with cleaning your water bottles regularly, we recommend LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis for a self-cleaning bottle that you can take on whatever adventure you have planned!
Movement is medicine, and too many of us aren’t getting enough of it to reap its rewards. According to the CDC, only 1 in 4 US adults is getting enough exercise! In the short term, low levels of physical activity can negatively affect your sleep, productivity, and brain health … and in the long term, it’s linked to some pretty scary consequences like increased risks for Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle; just look for ways to move more. Start by taking a couple of walks around your neighborhood, hitting a ten-minute bodyweight circuit, or walking to your destinations instead of taking your car. The little things add up!
Make some time for mindfulness.
We can’t talk about health without talking about mental health, especially in today’s busy “grind mentality” culture. When you’re constantly on the go and thinking about the next item on your to-do list instead of focusing on the present, it can mess with your mental health, your sleep, and your overall wellness. The good news: practicing a little bit of mindfulness is a great way to improve your psychological well-being!
Dedicate some time every day to being present and mindful – that means disconnecting from the screens and wrangling your wandering thoughts to focus on whatever is going on around you right now. This can be as simple as a couple of five-minute meditation sessions. Even your midday coffee break can be a great time for this; just focus on the taste, smell, and resist the urge to think about whatever you’ve got to do next.
Do some actual spring cleaning.
Don’t underestimate the value of a literal spring cleaning! Go through your house and clean any allergens, dust, mold, mildew, or bacteria that might have been building up in the past couple of months (bonus: it’ll help you get active and on your feet in the process). Set aside just ten focused minutes every day to keep your living space a happier, healthier, and more pleasant place to be in.
The start of spring is an excellent time to reevaluate and reset your healthy habits before the more active summer months really kick into high gear. Give your daily routine a little once-over and implement some of these healthy habits so that you can really work on becoming your best self!