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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring into Better Health


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Most people think of January 1st as the time to try and make a change to their lifestyle, whether it’s giving up smoking or losing weight. But that may not always be the best time to try and give up a bad habit or adopt a good one.  If you live in a northern climate then its likely cold and dreary, which can bring down both your mood and your motivation.
Making a healthy lifestyle change is a great idea any time of year, but some people may find spring a particularly good time to do so.  Days are getting longer, there is more sunshine and temperatures are more hospitable.  Spring is all about change, growth and renewal, which is perfect inspiration for making a commitment to get healthier.

Often after a long, harsh winter we feel like we are experiencing a reawakening as we enter spring, savouring the better weather.  Use your craving for fresh air and the outdoors to your advantage and boost your daily physical activity.  Whether you simply start walking instead or driving to your destinations, or add in some purposeful, structured exercise like a walk, jog or bicycle ride, both your mind and your body will benefit greatly.
Spring is also the perfect time to overhaul your diet.  With the warmer weather, you may stop craving heavy comfort food and begin gravitating towards fresh, lighter fare.  Exchange the meat, cheese and other rich food for more fruits and vegetables, and healthier proteins such as eggs, fish, poultry, beans and legumes.  Visit some farmers markets and discover all the wonderful in-season produce that is available.  Try to broaden your horizons and buy something new each time you go.  Ask sellers for advice on the best way to prepare it.  Nowadays, even your neighbourhood supermarket should have an abundance of fruits and veggies for you to try.

Make sleep a priority.  If there is one thing that can derail your health as much as physical inactivity and/or a poor diet, its lack of sleep.  Commit to a proper sleep schedule by going to bed and waking around the same time every day.  Avoid using stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime and limit your use of electronics at night.  If stress is affecting your ability to sleep, adopt some healthy coping strategies such as meditation, yoga, regular exercise, and/or get help managing your worries by speaking with a counsellor or therapist.  If you are self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, which can negatively affect the quality of your sleep, get support to develop more functional ways of coping.
Are there toxic relationships in your life making you unwell?  Perhaps now is a good time to shed the weight and start anew.  Many people continue dysfunctional relationships with partners, friends and/or family members out of fear.  But a toxic relationship can significant damage to your health and well-being.  Sometimes we must preserve our sanity and well-being my cutting out of our lives individuals who are doing us more harm than good.

As you shed layers of clothes for the warmer weather and emerge from winter lethargy many of us experience, you may discover you are in the perfect mindset for making positive changes.  Whether it’s a tiny change, or a massive overhaul of your life, it all adds up to better health and a sunnier outlook.

This post was inspired by the American Recall Center (http://www.recallcenter.com/), an organization devoted to provide up-to-date health information, focused on patiently safety. As you know, I am all about accurate health info, there is so much BS floating around out there!  I did not receive any compensation for the post and all opinions are my own.

 

 

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