By Stacie Rose
I try to embrace all the seasons because I believe that they directly coincide with our internal seasons, and that we must allow ourselves to feel an array of things and navigate the weather as well as nature's miraculous cycles. That said, winter can be a bully of a beast that brings us to our snow-boot-clad knees, and despite the crisp arctic air, often makes us prisoners in our homes. It brainwashes us into eating too many carbs, watching too much Netflix and
feeling sorry for ourselves and the fact that we might not quite be perfectly groomed, bikini-ready and on our game in the healthy dining department.
Enter spring. A breath of fresh everything! The buds, the birds, the bees.
The never-ending darkness lifts, giving way to light. The world is coming to life and the color grey (cool as it might be in the fashion world) skulks away! It is like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the black and white footage suddenly turns Technicolor and we enter a world of infinite possibilities.
Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.
-Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
By the time of spring’s awakening each year I can say with great conviction that I am ready to transform and ready to begin to be my best self once again. It's like riding a bicycle. Nature gives us the nod, and we know just what to do. We know it's time to get off our butts, and start making things happen again. It's not solely about productivity; it's a state of mind. A "you can do this!" state of mind. It's a "nature is alive, and so are you" state of mind. So forget about the oppressiveness of winter and come alive!
The beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. -Harriet Ann Jacobs
So.... Wherever you are with your health and wellness regimen, just pause and restart. Today is day one! A time of rebirth and renewal. No looking back, because what good would it do? It's time to start setting intentions. Where to begin? Here are some of mine for inspiration.
1.Spring into action
Get your beautiful body moving! And yes, it is beautiful in whatever state it is currently in because it is functioning. You may want to get sculpting and strengthening from your gut and core to your more noticeable attributes. Take it slowly. Think about beauty and strength from the inside out. One day at a time. Little by little you can build muscle, stamina and the confidence to kick your routine into higher gear. Be it hiking, biking, Yoga, Pilates, gym-ratting or power-walking; 20 minutes at a time a couple of days a week is infinitely better than nothing. It might be a good time to consider a fitbit to stay on track. I plan to install a bicycle rack on the back of my car as incentive to hit more trails! Whatever path you choose, try to notice how you feel after you exert energy and use that feeling as your motivator. It’s a way healthier approach than beating yourself up with menacingly, unrealistic, heavily airbrushed body image propaganda. Stay centered and do what actually makes you feel good! After all, exercise should not be torture. It should be uplifting, strengthening, restorative, and empowering! No time for classes? Be creative. Long walks, gardening, dog walking, and chasing after your children at the park count! At-home workouts can be very affective. Be resourceful and don’t be hard on yourself. It won’t give you the results you are after. You can’t go wrong if you do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do!
2. Start breathing again.
Ever get the feeling everyone is just holding their until winter has wrapped? We’re all breathing merely to stay alive. But it’s the deep intentional, meditative breathing that is so restorative and an uplifting, mood-melding game changer. A few minutes a day, or better yet, a few times a day, especially in the morning and before bed is really mind cleansing and immune boosting!
I remind my six year old every day on the way to school to make sure he drinks water and stays hydrated. We remind, but we need to remember ourselves to keep drinking water. It makes a huge impact on your complexion, your digestion, and just about every other bodily function, so don’t skimp. Also, why not curb the caffeine; consider switching from coffee to decaf tea, like ginger or chamomile or even decaf green, which is widely celebrated for preventing illness? Drinking a cup can be very calming, help you collect your thoughts (which many never take the time to do) and a nice excuse to socialize with another human being in the flesh.
4. Seasonal Cooking
Whether you can manage an herb garden a virtual farm, or join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), home grown food is all the rage for a very good reason. Less nasty pesticides, and less travel means less chance of harmful bacteria. If you grow it you are more likely to find healthy, creative ways to use it. Think salads, soups and smoothies. Your body will likely be craving things that are in season so listen to your intuition.
If you are having trouble making heads or tails of meals or even figuring out what the heck is even healthy, seek a nutritional health coach and/or healthy meal planner. Information regarding nutrition and health in general is always changing and evolving and it’s hard to sift through everything. Plus, with respect for bio-individuality and your body’s specific needs, meal planning could be just the ticket. In the meantime a good rule of thumb (said best by Michael Pollan)… “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
5.Less is more
There is a reason you have been hearing about “spring cleaning” all your life.
It’s time to rid your mind, body, home and spirit of any extra baggage. It’s a good time to detox. I am not speaking of harsh cleansing that will make you hallucinate, cling to the bathroom floor and beg for mercy. I’m talking about an elimination diet. Perhaps you have been feeling lethargic, bloated, and angry. Ask yourself simple questions. “Am I sleeping well?”, “How does my skin look?”, “Am I feeling like the best version of myself,” “Do I flow freely, or feel weighted down?”, Do I feel hormonally balanced?”, “How is my digestion?”
It might be time to consider eliminating a food that your body is having trouble tolerating. Sometimes the only way to catch the culprit is through process of elimination hence, (The Elimination Diet). Proceed moderately and cautiously and with the guidance of an MD if you are unsure. It’s best to eliminate one food at a time like dairy, soy, or gluten. By crowding out one food at a time you will give yourself a chance to notice the difference in how you feel, if any. If you feel the same and there is no epiphany or form of enlightenment than that particular food is probably not the problem. Move on. Try to eliminate something else. Always give it 4- 6 weeks so you can really be sure. Sometimes people who are truly intolerant of foods notice the difference within a week or two of eliminating. It’s a process.
Another way to clean up your act is to actually “eat clean.” You’ve probably been hearing a lot of people talking about “eating clean.” Many are wondering what that even means. It’s pretty much the way it sounds. Less stuff, less chemicals, more whole foods. Less GMO’s, less processed foods. It means eating REAL, organic, unadulterated, unpackaged good-for-your body kind of food. It’s a great time of year to start making “clean eating” your goal. And while you’re eating clean, it may be time to clear the clutter-- in your mind, home, closets, and pantry. Toss the chemicals and make a pledge to go with non-toxic cleaning products, less toxic beauty products and healthier food. Shedding the clutter, and toxins will help you think more clearly.
6. Change your tune!
There is research to support the amazing effects of music. It’s a great time to make new playlists, embrace music that makes you feel more vibrant, confident and makes your body want to move. Music that makes you reflect is always great too. The idea is to change it up, and get things flowing. You can actually get in a music rut. By refreshing your tunes, whether it's older material that you are rediscovering or entirely new songs or sounds, you will be surprised what this can do for your state of mind. If you are stuck, ask your friends what they are listening to, get out and hear some live music or tune into some radio shows. Try Spotify, Pandora or iTunes Music service to broaden your horizons. You will be glad you did.
7. Get in nature
Mother nature is experiencing a rebirth on a grand scale. Listen to your earth mother and start taking note. Animals are shedding their skin, flowers are blooming, the rain is washing away the past. Listen to the sounds, breath the air (You may need an antihistamine), but still. Take a walk. Take a hike! And I’m not being facetious. Soak up the sun for we are all in great need of vitamin D and warm rays. The more in touch with nature we are, the more relaxed and at ease we feel. Exercise can be so much more fun when it’s in the great outdoors. Start visiting farmer’s markets. Start visiting friends. The winter has rendered us anti-social zombies. Plan a lunch date, a coffee powwow, or a picnic. Social engagements and time in nature can boost our mood, make us feel calm, connected, secure and in turn help our immune system to function better. It’s a win-win! Mother knows best!
Spring is the time of plans and projects. -Leo Tolstoy
8.Get on an anti-inflammatory diet
I’m not talking about going on a diet to shed pounds. Of course, that’s up to you. I’m speaking of reducing the risk of inflammation in your body, which can cause a dastardly array of ailments. Many doctors and alternative medicine practitioners alike believe that Inflammation is the root of all (or at least most) evil. It can cause arthritis, digestive issues, a host of nasty, and chronic heath problems and many believe it can even cause cancer. There are a plethora of books on anti-imflammatopry foods and herbs. A good place to start is with green veggies, herbs like turmeric, herbal teas. Drink water. Sleep. Consume less sugar, alcohol, white flour, caffeine and fried foods. If you have been waiting for your chance to clean up your act, there is no better time than springtime, AKA: the present.
9.Revive your spirit
Never underestimate the power of a good massage, some acupuncture, a facial, a wax, or some polish. A new haircut or color can be life -changing. A much-needed trip to the dentist, dermatologist or department store can be huge. A little self-care goes an unbelievably long way. A pile of inspiring magazines, a new book, or a bag of fresh new make-up, with more lively hues can change your outlook on life. Sometimes it’s the simplest acts of self-care that can make all the difference. When you feel cared for you glow from within and light up any room!
An optimist is the human personification of spring. -Susan J. Bissonette
10.Brighten your outlook
More hours of light means more time to shine. It’s a great time of year to reflect, recalibrate and realign yourself with the universe. Life will never be perfect. If you watch the news, tragedies happen daily, even minute to minute but it’s the way we frame things and the choices we make that largely affect our mood and our overall sense of well-being. Practicing gratitude can change your disposition. Practicing small acts of kindness with yourself and those around you will ultimately lift you up. Be generous. Be loving. Be true to yourself and follow your bliss. Springtime is the right time to try again at whatever it is that brings you joy. If you have failed, faced disappointment or not found what you are looking for, now is the time to take a chance, set new intentions and begin again.
Stacie Rose is a Singer/Songwriter, Mother, Producer, Lover, Blogger, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Holistic Lifestyle Influencer and Free Spirit. She’s super passionate about making music, writing, and helping others create sustainable wellness. Having navigated some very tough terrain she became a certified health coach to help others reclaim their health. Stacie has dealt with severe food allergies, intolerances and acid reflux. She found that all of these conditions can be vastly improved by making diet and lifestyle modifications. She gave IBS the boot by eliminating certain foods and works daily to create balance and cultivate a beautiful, active, nourished life for herself and her family. Her philosophy is that transformation takes positivity, possibility and persistence. Life is a wild ride, so taking good care of the body and mind is where it’s at!