The birds are a little louder, the sun is a little brighter, and the tissue box is only half full. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, Spring has arrived! At the equinox, when the sun crosses directly over the Earth’s equator, most of us gladly welcome the changing season, after a winter that was much too long, harsh and frigid.
For many cultures around the world, this season symbolizes awakenings and new beginnings. That means, if you have already forgotten your New Year’s resolutions, lost your way to the gym, or devoured your daughter’s Girl Scout Cookies, you can have a fresh and healthy start right now. As the weather warms and we begin to shed layers of clothing, think about also shedding unhealthy habits that may have developed during the colder months.
Take advantage of the longer days by waking up with the Sun. You may have discounted your grandmother’s proverbs about birds, worms, and wisdom and wealth; however, it is true that people who awaken earlier are both healthier and happier than those who have an addiction to late nights and the snooze bar. Since African-American women are known to have very low levels of vitamin D, seeking the early sun will help with that daily dosage needed to fight depression, osteoporosis and the flu. If your allergies are already in full bloom, or just the thought of being outside makes you sneeze, try taking bee pollen as a dietary supplement, even before symptoms appear. Added to a green smoothie, salad, or cup of yogurt, this powerful “superfood” can boost your immune system, increase your energy level, ease digestion and relieve symptoms related to asthma and allergies.
Spring cleaning does not simply refer to your baseboards and light fixtures. You can cleanse your body from the inside out. Try a 5 day fruit and veggie cleanse to rejuvenate your sluggish immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems. For 5 consecutive days, you can enjoy only the best water, fruits and vegetables that are available in your area. Seasonal offerings include: apricots, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, carrots, collard greens, mango, mustard greens, pineapple, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, and snap/snow peas. While you are at it, de-winterize your skin with a facial, body scrub or body wrap. The more we cover up during the cold weather months, the less we moisturize. Treat yourself to a detoxifying, toning and moisturizing spa experience that will make you forget all about those winter blahs.
Now is also a great time to make-over your make-up drawer, remembering that cosmetics do expire. The idea of tossing out- or recycling- a $22 tube of mascara can be sickening, but doing so will certainly help to decrease the risk of bacteria-related infections and break-outs.
The next stop should be your medicine cabinet, where you will throw away any medications that have expired and wipe down any others that may have been handled by contaminated hands. If you have not done so within the last 3 months, also change out your toothbrush and just for fun, think about trying a new kind of whitening toothpaste with a little spring zing.
With only 3 months before sandal and sundress season, the spring is the perfect time to become more active. Sure you can renew your commitment to your gym or find a new yoga studio, but there are also many activities that you can include in your daily life. Try something as simple as exploring your local farmer’s market when shopping for your seasonal cleanse. Walk to as many retail spaces or entertainment venues as possible in your area. When driving to a shopping center, park in a space that is a small hike from the entrance. Take the stairs wherever you are, whenever it is safe. If you are using a pedometer, you will be surprised at how many calories you can burn in a day with a few extra steps. If you have an adventurous side, try an outdoors boot camp, hiking or trail running.
Instead of spending this spring reminiscing about how great you used to look at Daytona Beach, Virginia Beach or FreakNik, you can follow these simple suggestions to get closer to your health and lifestyle goals for 2010- regardless of what has happened (or has not happened) in these first three months. It is not too late- in fact, think of it as only the beginning.