A SPRING IN YOUR STEP

Want to feel more you as the weather turns warmer? Andra Millian MATCM, L.Ac.,C.H., Traditional Chinese Medicine expert shares her hints to help make this spring your healthiest – and liveliest – season, yet.

It’s springtime in Texas. This season, a time for fresh new beginnings, I’m sharing the spotlight with wonderful health and beauty experts around Texas to help you shake off the grey of winter… and blow a breath of fresh spring air into your season ahead. It is my hope that these become positive habits for us all to remember and to cultivate in our homes and relationships. As we move toward seasonal renewal, ensure more springy-ness and vibrant health as we glide through each of the beautiful stages of our lives.

SPRING: TIME TO RESET
Do you find yourself dreaming of balmy sunny climes and the seductiveness of summer in your future?  What some call spring fever may be your body and mind trying to signal you to unplug, check out for a bit and take that spring break you’re dreaming of. It’s not just for kids— consider a yoga weekend at a local resort, a shopping trip that includes museums in Houston or Dallas, a San Antonio Riverwalk stroll and al fresco dinner, a drive to the coast for a run on the sand or better yet, a short plane ride to one of the world class beaches just south of our border. If you are having any second thoughts about whether to take a spring break this season, stop overthinking, grab your best pal or loved one, or just pack a weekend bag and go solo. A simple reset in how you spend your day, a shift of priorities to the simple things in life… eat, sleep, play, see some new scenery to reinvigorates your body and mind for a clearer, more productive time ahead. Think of it as spring cleaning for your soul; self care, not indulgence. Make it a priority.

Spring entices us to spend more time outdoors among the wild flowers. But let us not forget to protect the largest ‘breathing organ’ in our bodies: our skin. Skincare expert Meg Bodi of Pretty Bird Austin reminds us, “Photo damage is one of the primary causes of visible aging, and here in Texas our UV exposure risk is really high.” She continues, “Using SPF 30 sunscreen every day, sharing some with our loved ones and reminding each other to reapply as directed is the best extrinsic aging prevention possible (not to mention preventing possible cancers).” In fact, she recommends mineral sunscreens, as very few users react to them and they are effective immediately upon application. You’ll know by the active ingredient zinc oxide or a combination of zinc and titanium dioxide on the label. “These formulas have come a long way since the 80s,” Bodi remarks. “They now go on sheer and don’t feel heavy on the skin so, you look your best while staying protected” Also, remember to stay hydrated. Filtered water is easy to come by and it is the most natural way to keep your skin and muscles supple and your hair shiny.

SPRING COLORS ARE IN
Fruits and veggies in a variety of vibrant colors are becoming more abundant now that it’s spring. Besides being delightfully fragrant and appetizing, eating an abundance of various colors, fresh or fresh frozen, ensures you are consuming the optimal amounts of antioxidants and essential nutrients. Full of fabulous fiber, veggies and fruits are sure to have you feeling more satisfied, so you eat less overall. This in turn enhances your energy and youthful vigor. Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Tom Schnorr weighs in with his guidelines for health: “Get seven to eight hours of sleep, eat whole food, maybe no gluten, maybe drop dairy, alcohol to a minimum, remove the stresses of daily life, meditation, love, trust, exercise… and take buckets of anti-oxidants.“

Agreed— and I will add to avoid processed foods with things on the label you may not even be able to pronounce. Chemicals, preservatives, and colorants are potential toxins, which can cause sluggish energy levels, moodiness, lusterless skin, and overall ill health and unhealthy aging. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Finally, let’s address the other (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine) ‘spring organ,’ our lungs. In over 16 years as a TCM practitioner, I have observed and am convinced that smoking cigarettes is one of the most difficult addictions to quit. Research says that it takes an average of seven attempts to quit the tobacco habit for good. My advice is to not stop trying. Go somewhere, if possible, where you have no access to cigarettes, for a minimum of 30 days. A yoga retreat, meditation retreat or hiking boot camp may just help you kick the habit and also bring more spring to your step. You’ll enjoy untold benefits in your daily life, mood, and overall health.

No matter how you choose to refresh and renew yourself this spring, do so with your full confidence. By bringing harmony and health into your life, you’ll be able to more fully achieve both your daily tasks and long-term goals.

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Rossana Leeper

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