A few simple tips for spring rejuvenation? Look no further, according to our resident wellness expert, Andra Millian, L.Ac., as your eternal equinox gets revved up
So, you’re off to a fresh new year, and hopefully staying faithful to your resolutions for a healthy mind, body and spirit, right? Winter’s chill has all but passed, and now spring’s jubilant rebirth is upon us. Now is the time to check in on yourself and make sure you’re living to your fullest potential. To make the most of your “spring cleaning,” here are three simple tips to help you foster an active, healthy lifestyle. As the poet Lord Tennyson wrote, spring is the season when fancy turns to love. So remember to love yourself, or as yours truly always says ‘be nice to you’ and remember this advice as you make the most of this rejuvenating season…
DRINK & EAT WELL
Ditch the BPA since BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins often used in containers that store food and in plastic water bottles, the inside coating of food cans and bottle tops. Luckily, more and more BPA-free products have come onto the market, so start by replacing your plastic drinking bottles and containers with glass, porcelain or stainless steel. Exposing BPA plastic to heat makes it worse for you, so leaving plastic in a hot car, microwaving BPA plastic containers or washing them in your hot dishwasher for later reuse is a big no-no because the plastic may break down and allow BPA to leach into foods. If you must use plastic, look for products labeled as BPA-free. Tip: Some plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
GO PLAY OUTDOORS
Exercising at the gym or yoga studio certainly has loads of health benefits but getting outdoors, even for a few minutes a day adds countless benefits to your health and overall wellbeing. Spending as little as 20 minutes a day outside in nature can help increase your quality of sleep. The natural sunlight’s Vitamin D helps set the body’s internal clock that signals us when to eat and sleep, and normalizes hormonal functions that occur at specific times of the day. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which is important for helping prevent inflammation, obesity, cancer, hormonal problems, and it supports a strong immune system.
According to the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology, even as little as five minutes exercising in a park, working in a backyard garden, hiking on a nature trail, or even sitting in a plant-filled setting will benefit your mental health. Plus, with the Daylight Savings Time settings change, try turning your clocks ahead that one hour the night before you go to bed rather than the actual day it happens. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference that can make in re-setting your body’s clock, too.
Here are a few fun ways to get outdoors:
- Go for a morning or evening walk every day. And if you have one, bring your pooch. Living an active lifestyle with a pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Don’t have your own dog? There are plenty of shelter dogs who’d love to go with you. Visit org for more information.
- Even if you have a busy schedule, you can always find time to have lunch or take a break out of doors. Leave your digital device behind for great people watching.
- If you are in a pensive mood, try the Japanese tradition of Shinrin Yoku – ‘Forest Bathing’. Just sit quietly outdoors. Turn off all of your electronic devices. Practice being totally present and without distraction even for five minutes and notice the sights, sounds, and smells. Repeat often.
TUNE IT UP
Now that you’re active, out and about in the warm spring air, you may want to check in with your personal physician, and if you don’t have one, find the best healthcare provider you can and develop a good working relationship with them. A good physician provides compassionate attention as well as medical expertise, so having a good rapport with your doctor can give you peace of mind about your overall health and wellness. Try to have a checkup at least twice a year. The same advice applies to your dentist: get a professional deep cleaning for your gums and teeth at least every six months. It will give you a fresh healthy feeling and also, a beaming smile to share with the world.
Sometimes stress can sneak into our lives when we least suspect it, manifesting itself as neck and back pain. Now is a good time to visit your favorite D.C. for a chiropractic adjustment. If you are having chronic muscular discomfort, you may also consider seeing an acupuncturist. While conventional medicine is essential for comprehensive health, alternative healthcare solutions such as chiropractic and acupuncture can offer innovative treatments with enormous benefits. Even if you’re not in bad pain, it never hurts to touch base for a physical “tune-up” to make sure you’re functioning at your very best.