Spring is a time of renewal. As the daylight lengthens and blossoms burst forth, nature’s tenacity, as she transitions from dormancy to brimming with life, can be inspiring and rejuvenating. Spring presents us with an excellent opportunity to reset our intentions and dig into our goals. We can reflect on the changes in our springtime surroundings by refreshing our space, routine, diet, and attitude and bringing in tools to eliminate worry, stress, and fatigue.
Our physical space and its state of being can often reflect our inner, mental space. If our homes, cars, and offices are teeming with clutter and mess, chances are our minds are also full of extra worries, unfinished tasks, and thought distortions. By giving ourselves clean, clutter-free spaces, we reorganize our external world and our inner world. We can open up the windows, crank up our favorite tunes, and, as we spring clean, we can visualize that we are sweeping out any old habits and ways of being that no longer serve us.
Our bodies also need to be treated to some spring cleaning, right? With warmer weather, there comes an abundance of fresh, local produce. We can rejuvenate our bodies after the winter by fueling them with clean, unprocessed foods, focusing on the seasonally available fruits and veggies as much as possible. Other beautiful ways to help our bodies feel fresh are staying hydrated, stretching/yoga, exercising outside, and taking quiet time to ourselves with baths, meditation, herbal teas, or journaling.
Good health is not always that hard to come by, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it can be even more difficult to restore it.
Today, we tend to experience several stresses: chronic illness, financial obligations, politics, even staying connected with our loved ones, like our children or grandchildren.
Combating stress is no picnic in the park. It can lead us off the beaten path of active aging. However, you can implement quick, easy strategies in your everyday life to have you feeling rejuvenated and stress-free! Whether it’s caring for a loved one or making ends meet, here are three top ways to stop stress, have fun and rejuvenate yourself this spring:
1. Try a Digital Detox
Your phone’s not the only thing that needs recharging. We all need a recharge occasionally from the constant stimulation of technology. Technology affects not only our mind but our body and soul as well.
Technology can make us more forgetful, confused, fuzzy, and emotionally; we’re just irritable and hypersensitive. Technology impacts us physically, behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally.
Studies show too much social media is linked to social media addictions, too much sitting, which lowers cardiovascular health. We also know that using too much social media can lead to depression and anxiety. Although technology is part of our everyday lives, we don’t need to let it run us.
Reducing or eliminating social media, gaming, and television is a fantastic way to reduce stress and feel rejuvenated. It’s also important not to game, use your phone, or watch TV before bedtime. Deleting unnecessary or irritating apps from your phone can be helpful too. The first step in rejuvenating yourself is to cut down on screen time and play more!
Playing more outside lessens your time on your device while increasing your active involvement in the great outdoors and your community. It can be as simple as going out, breathing in the fresh air, or joining a group activity such as paddle boarding.
The first strategy is getting outside! Americans are mostly inside, on their devices.
There is a lot of research to show that nature is restorative and helps regulate our nervous system, so a 10-minute walk in nature, looking out at the sky, and hearing birds, does something to us. So, either you move it, or you lose it.
2. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Everyone has something to be grateful for, and keeping a gratitude journal on hand is more than beneficial to your whole well-being. By helping mold a positive mindset, a gratitude journal improves your relationships with others, which also aids your friends and family’s health and wellbeing.
Although there is no right or wrong way to keeping a gratitude journal, there are a few steps to getting started. First, you must be motivated to boost your happiness.
Gratitude goes a long way, and research shows that appreciation toward friends and family dramatically improves mood and outlook on life. Second, take some time three times a week to jot down whom, or what, you are most grateful for in your life. Go in-depth about what you are most thankful for and keep it personal. Above all, focus more on the person whom you are most appreciative of right now. It provides clarity in your relationship with others. Be consistent in how often you participate in this task, but don’t overdo it. Your mental health will thank you.
3. Practice Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Avoid Multitasking.
Like the body, the mind and spirit also fatigue. You need time to just “be.” Research supports the effectiveness of mediation, which activates our prefrontal cortex. As a result, it helps the body and soul by soothing an anxious mind and improving focus, mood, and memory.
In other words, practice mindfulness by either participating in reflection, prayer, or meditation to re-train an anxious brain. Take 15-30 minutes out of your day to participate in a Body Scan. A Body Scan is grounding yourself in your senses and focusing on where you’re hurting the most. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus on your senses: see, hear, smell and feel. Check-in with your whole body by focusing on the tension you feel from your head to your toes.
In addition to mindfulness, cultivate self-compassion to improve your health. Sometimes, our harshest critics are ourselves. By being patient and kind with yourself, you’re paving a path to rejuvenation, happiness, and self-fulfillment. Speak to yourself every morning as if you’d speak to a good friend. Include positive affirmations and mantras in your conversation. This patience also includes giving yourself a break when completing multiple tasks at the same time. Multi-tasking is a common misconception that often leads individuals to anxiety and short-term memory.
Multi-tasking drains our energy and reduces our quality of life. Our brains can’t be doing too many things at once. What we’re doing is switching back and forth fast, and that is very disruptive and energy draining. In the long run, you just become less focused. Accomplishing a single task at a time might just leave you getting more done by doing less.
Spring is an excellent time for implementing these three stress-relieving strategies, and they will promote gentle detoxification to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit. It's lovely to know that regardless of how quiet and reflective we might become during the winter season or how much the cold weather keeps us indoors, spring faithfully returns to warm the days and rejuvenate our zest for life. A time for planting seeds both literally and figuratively, springtime inspires us to believe that, along with the Earth, we too might change, release the past, and give birth to new ideas.