March Column – Steps To Revive Your Health This Spring
After dark nights and freezing temperatures, the first signs of spring bring welcome relief. In many cultures, spring signals new beginnings and a fresh start, making it an ideal time to invigorate your sense of wellbeing.
These five actions are designed to do just that… try introducing one each week and look forward to the rewards they bring.
- 1.Sign Up For A Veg Box
It’s easy to get into a rut with your diet, eating the same meals day in and day out. The availability of fruits and vegetables shipped from across the world to our supermarket shelves means it’s almost impossible to know what’s in season.
Give your diet (and dinner plate) a sense of renewal by signing up for a veg box – delivered to your door weekly, you’ll get a selection of seasonal veggies, plus recipe ideas. Upping the veg in your diet means more fibre, which is a great way to support levels of healthy gut bacteria – win win. Try Able and Cole or Riverford.
- 2.Create A Bedtime Routine
Sleep is one thing most of us would agree we don’t get enough of. Creating a bedtime routine (versus tumbling into bed at midnight) can help you get into good habits, and signal to your body that it’s time to slow down and prepare for rest. Your routine can involve anything, but ideally will contain 4-5 items that will help you to unwind and relax. Write your chosen items on a post-it note and pop it somewhere visible in your bedroom, then set an alarm for an hour before you aim to get into bed – this signals the start of your routine. If it takes less than an hour, you get extra time in bed – bonus.
Ideas for a bedtime routine
Shut off phone / emails / screens
Hot bath with lavender bath soak
Change into comfy nightwear
Prep your breakfast or clothes for the next morning
Have a cup of mint or chamomile tea
Wind down with a 7-minute bedtime yoga sequence
Journal for 5 minutes to empty your thoughts from the day
Read for 10 minutes
Face massage with a night cream
- 3.Take 20 For Lunch
If you’re anything like me, you’re guilty of desktop dining, multitasking lunch with emails, phone messages or errands. Dining when distracted means missing out on the experience of the food itself – so you feel less satisfied after eating. Studies show this can lead to overeating later in the day, as our brains fail to form proper memories of what we’ve eaten.
If you regularly get to the end of your lunch and thought, “where did that go?” it’s time for a change. Commit to taking 20 minutes for lunch away from your desk – to eat and do nothing else. See how it changes how satisfied you feel and how much you enjoy the food! Getting a break from your screen and stretching your legs will also do your brain and body a favour.
- 4.Spend 10 Minutes Walking Outside
Spending all day in an office environment might feel the norm, but lack of exposure to natural daylight can affect sleep and mood. Even on an overcast day, you’ll be exposed to more light outside (measured in lux) that in a brightly lit office, making daily walks an essential part of your health toolkit.
Aim to schedule a walk at lunchtime, or make it part of your commute to work or school if you have children. If you can, you’ll get added plus points for taking a walk in a park or green space – just being in nature for a short period can increase our sense of wellbeing.
- 5.Swap This For That (Drink, Food)
Is there an eating habit you’d like to like to change? From the after-work drink to the 4PM chocolate run, habits can be hard to break.
Studies show it’s easier (and more effective) to replace an unwanted habit with a better one, rather than stop the habit altogether. This is because once a habit loop is formed; it’s hard to get rid of.
So, try swapping the after-work drink for a non-alcoholic one, that afternoon coffee for a mint tea, or the chocolate break for a handful of nuts, or a pressed fruit bar. Repetition is key when it comes to making something stick, so whatever you choose, repeat daily for the best chance of it sticking.