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By Katie Jenson-Hull / The Radiant Nutritionist
It's spring time! With this seasonal shift brings fresh energy and renewal. Spring is the perfect time to take stock of your routines, make alterations and refresh old habits as well as set new intentions. All helping to reap the rewards that this season can bring. How can we cultivate this vibrant energy within us?
Here are five simple ways to harness the renewed energy of spring and revive or create healthy eating and self care rituals that aren't just for the season but for life.
MAKE YOUR MORNINGS COUNT
Spring is the perfect time to freshen up your morning routine. A good morning routine is so underrated. The perfect routine can set your day up full of energy, positivity and productivity, after all, every morning we wake up is a chance to do better than yesterday.
First up, try swapping your phone and morning scroll with something more mindful. Try to not look or touch your phone for the first hour upon waking. If you've never tried this before it is a total game changer. Your morning time becomes a space just for you without any outside stresses. Instead of checking the news or social media as soon as you open your eyes. Splash your face with cold water, go downstairs, put the kettle on and either do some weights or stretch, just move your body in a way that feels good for 5 minutes.
Make a cup of warm lemon water, fresh ginger tea or fennel tea to aid spring detoxification and to wake the body gently. As a general rule, hydrate before you caffeinate. Take your chosen drink outside to breathe in the fresh morning spring air, watch the sunrise and listen to the early morning nature sounds. Taking in sunlight first thing is critical for circadian rhythm and helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
Morning is an opportunity to spend a little time doing something which nurtures you. Read something inspiring and that feeds your soul. Do a little journaling, write what you are grateful for the day, your thoughts, an affirmation for the day ahead, personal growth or brain dump. This time needn't feel complicated, instead let it be a time that nourishes you and leaves you feeling grounded and ready for whatever the day has in store ahead.
Eat a well balanced breakfast that contains protein. Protein will help to keep you fuller for longer and keep blood sugar levels balanced. Think eggs cooked in coconut oil with a side of avocado for good fats and sauteed spring greens.
EAT SPRING'S BOUNTIFUL AND ENERGISING FOODS
Spring is full of nature's natural detoxifying foods. An abundance of fresh greens such as spinach, rocket, watercress, dandelion and vegetables like asparagus and artichoke. Now is a perfect time to take a look at what you are eating. Pack your diet full with whole, organic produce, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and clean proteins. Eat mindfully with no distractions while sitting at a table. Be fully present and aware of every mouthful, the taste, the smell and how it makes you feel. Aim to chew your food 30 times before you swallow, placing your cutlery down in between mouthfuls. Spring is a time to create new healthful eating habits that support a radiant you. Eat plenty of natural detoxifying foods such as lemons, turmeric and garlic. Try to reduce the amount of refined sugar, simple carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta, coffee and alcohol you consume
Here's a taster of what is In season at spring time:
Fruit: Bananas, oranges, lemons, passion fruit, pineapple, rhubarb.
Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, Jersey Royal new potatoes, kale, leeks, spinach, spring onions, watercress, wild nettles, rocket, radishes, purple sprouting broccoli.
Fish and shellfish: Dover sole, mussels, crab, salmon.
MANAGE STRESS AND APPRECIATE MINDFUL MOMENTS
This spring, work on reducing stress each day. Do more things that make you feel worry free and happy. Being in the moment, not worrying about the past or looking to the future is a great way of managing stress. Find mindful moments each day as a way of stopping and bringing you back to the present time. Find moments in your everyday life from sunlight dancing on your walls, to the scent of beautiful spring flowers and the taste of delicious spring foods.
Having regular breathing breaks can help to trigger our parasympathetic nervous system. Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, watching your lower abdomen extend with every inhale. Exhale slowly. Another great breathing exercise to slow the heart rate down is to:
"Deap breathe in….
Deep breathe out… 1...2...3..4
Repeat." Repeat during the day, whenever you need a moment.
Commit to finding moments of joy and letting loose. Being kinder on yourself. Spring is a time to slow down and gratefully watch all the new beginnings unfolding in front of you.
Make movement fun and something you enjoy! Life is too short to move in a way that doesn't spark joy. Take your exercise outside to reap even more benefits. Moving your body outside can help to release endorphins which are our "happy hormones'' and the body's natural painkillers. Taking your indoor exercise outside will have far greater benefits from vitamin D and nature. Feeling a little more adventurous? Why not try wild swimming and paddle boarding. Join a walking club, walking is such an underrated form of movement and can help to improve mood, enhance creativity and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Finding different types of exercise that are enjoyable are key to establishing a healthy lifestyle. Enjoying your movement will have more profound health benefits than partaking in activities that feel like chores.
The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of enjoyable movement a day for the next few weeks, your body and mind will thank you for it.
Spring time can actually be a disrupting time for sleep, what with summer daylight saving time. Not only can the lighter morning really disrupt our sleep, so can losing an hour's sleep take days or weeks for the body to adjust. Sleep is critical for a healthy mind and body. It helps with sugar cravings, cell renewal and repair and stress reduction.
There are a few healthy habits that we can do to have better quality sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed:
Establish and maintain a bedtime ritual and wake time even at the weekends. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Aim for lights out and asleep by 10pm and awake naturally by 6am. Going to bed earlier and waking up without the alarm helps you to feel revitalised. Until your body naturally gets into this routine, set an emergency alarm!
Limit caffeine consumption to 1-2 cups before midday. Why not swap to green tea or instead embrace nature's natural detoxifying and cleansing decaffeinated teas of fennel or nettle.
Turn off all technology 2-3 hours before bed. To limit blue light. Ensuring your room is dark enough and a cool temperature will aid sleep. As will wearing an eye mask to block out the early rising sun.
Eat tryptophan rich foods which help to increase melatonin which is our sleep hormone. Tryptophan foods include turkey, pumpkin seeds, eggs, lentils, green leafy veg such as spinach, bok choi and rocket. Finally embrace all of spring's energy. Commit to leaving spring a happier, healthier and more energetic version of you. May spring leave you refreshed and ready for a beautiful and bountiful summer.