Spring. The glorious shift from the gritty cold to sparkling blue skies and sunshine; gentle breezes stir, producing intoxicating lilac-scented air; longer days beckon all to stay outside and drink in the new season. It is undeniably the time for fresh starts and new beginnings.
So, where to start?
1) Get Clean
Getting clean for spring goes beyond facials and manicures. Along with spring’s anticipated arrival is the expected and unremarkably named chore, “Spring Cleaning.” A cute term that is really nothing more than a gentle, possibly irritating, reminder to clear out our closets – and make sure it’s done before summer! Whatever your feelings may be, Spring Cleaning is a good time to rid your home of the unwanted. Clothes that are too worn, too last season, too…tight. Organizing your belongings once a year is undeniably commendable, but how often do you pay attention to the state of your cleaning closet, medicine cabinet, or makeup drawer?
Time to take Spring Cleaning to another level! Why not purge all the questionable products lurking in your drawers and start fresh with “clean” products? Consider taking this time to switch to safer personal care products and cleaning products. Making the switch can be hugely overwhelming at first, so it’s best to start small.
- Attempt one area at a time. Don’t expect to hit every room right away – take it drawer by drawer.
- Dump anything that you don’t remember buying or that has an expiration date.
- Check ingredient lists of your products. A number of chemicals in thousands of cosmetic and personal care products have been linked to numerous health issues – skin irritants, endocrine disrupters, even known carcinogens. It’s impossible to keep track of them all, but for starters, try to avoid a few of the most commonly used chemicals and get rid of anything that contains: parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS or SLES), fragrance, or triclosan.
For further information, visit the Environmental Working Group’s website (ewg.org). This is an invaluable resource for “cleaning” up your home.
2) Get Dirty
Again, getting dirty for spring goes beyond mud baths! There’s no better way to ring in spring than by getting outside and digging in the dirt. Enjoying the outdoors by gardening – whether mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, or hauling mulch – is known to brighten moods and burn calories. About 250-350 calories an hour, to be exact! Gardening is a great way to keep active, but it has also been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reduces stress and depression. Not only will your landscaping benefit, but so will you.
Invite your kids, grandkids, or neighborhood kids to join you. Allowing children to get dirty is good for them, as well. Gardening, or simply playing in the dirt, is a great way to expose them to common bacteria. With regular exposure to common bacteria, vitamins and proteins are produced that help immune and gastrointestinal systems to properly function.
Aside from the many health-related benefits of gardening, the environment is also rewarded. Big or small, gardens play an essential part in keeping our world healthy. Plants give off oxygen, which helps reduce pollution by lessening the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. They also help remove chemicals and bacteria from water in the ground. A garden is also an especially welcome food source for the struggling bee population and a variety of other wildlife can find food or a home within.
Getting dirty and being outside is what spring is all about, but remember a few the following tips when you are enjoying the sunshine:
- Cover up – hats, shirts and sunglasses are the best protection from sunburn.
- Choose a sunscreen with strong UVA protection.
- Protect little ones by staying out of direct sunlight during peak hours.
Once your done getting dirty, you’ll definitely need the relaxation only your local spa can give you.
3) Get Fresh
Springtime brings a bounty of delicious and beautiful produce, grills fire up, and eating has never been better. Think about where you shop and what you buy. Instead of reaching for those tomatoes that have flown thousands of miles to get to your grocery store, be mindful of where your food is coming from. Here are a few enjoyable (and simple) ways to shop local:
- Investigate community-supported agriculture (CSA).
- Join a natural food co-op.
- Visit your neighborhood farmer’s market.
- Look for locally produced items in your grocery store.
Most communities have a weekly farmer’s market, especially during the spring and summer months, while community-supported agriculture (CSA) generally provides a weekly allotment of seasonal produce from late spring to early fall. When you support any of these fabulous options, you gain access to in-season fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, and eggs while local farmers get a guaranteed income base. Check out localharvest.org/csa/ to find the CSA program closest to you.
4) Get Going
Get a spring in your step this season is by ditching your old sneakers. What better motivation to get active than a brand-spanking-new pair? Here are a few sure signs that the time has come for a replacement.
- The mid-sole is compressed. Take a look at the side of your shoe. Look at the lighter, softer material between the sole and the upper leather. If there is visible wear, such as creases, crinkles or pockmarks, the midsole is beginning to wear out. The more compressed the midsole, the more strain on your feet and lower legs.
- The upper part of the shoe is worn out. Look at your shoes from the top. Is the fabric gaping or bunching? Are there obvious holes or tears? Does the shape of the shoe look like the shape of your foot? If so, it is likely that the upper leather has stretched out and isn’t providing the proper support.
- The treads are worn out. The sole tends to last longer than the rest of the shoe, so if they are worn down, it is a tell tale sign that it’s time for a new pair. Save those worn out sneakers for the garden!
5) Get Rest
What’s better than laying your head down after a long day of cleaning, gardening, cooking, and enjoying the spring weather? Laying your head down on a fresh pillow! After approximately five years, up to ten percent of a pillow’s weight is made up of bacteria, pollen, fungi, mold, and dust mites. That thought is anything but restful.
An easy step to protect yourself from these allergens is by changing out your pillows every three to five years. In the mean time, keep pillows fresh with protective covers that seal out allergens, and wash pillowcases with hot water weekly.
Last but not least, get a massage! Then, get out there and enjoy spring!