Updated: Mar 4, 2020
The new month is a perfect opportunity to look at ways to enhance our health and wellness. Spring is emerging outside, bringing more colour in to our lives and the longer daylight hours are drawing us outdoors. It's time to dust off those spring clothes in the wardrobe and try something new.
Read on for some simple ideas to invest in a bit more of YOU this month. Be warned, it might just put a spring in your step...
1. Make the most of those extra daylight hours
Exposure to sunshine raises gives us Vitamin D, a nutrient that's quite difficult to get via diet alone. Most of us don't get enough of the so-called 'sunshine vitamin' during the winter months, so Public Health England recommends we all take a supplement of 10mg between October and April. Vitamin D is most widely known for aiding calcium absorption, but it also supports our immune system.
2. Review your movement & exercise
Are you moving regularly? Getting enough from your exercise? Does it push you enough? Exercise doesn't need to be punishing to be effective and beneficial, but if you have been doing the same exercise for a while, it may be time to switch things around. The longer daylight hours is definitely encouragement to get us moving outside more.
3. Eat the rainbow
We all know we should be eating more fruit and veg, but it's not just quantity that's important - variety is also beneficial. Fruit and vegetables provide us with a variety of different nutrients and antioxidants, so it pays to eat seasonal or mix up your shopping choices once in a while. Think of the colours of the rainbow too. We've all been told to 'eat our greens' since we were little, but don't forget your reds, oranges, yellows, whites and purples too. Each of these colours deliver different antioxidants, protecting our cells against free radicals that can damage them and leave us susceptible to chronic illnesses.
4. Go to bed a bit earlier 💤
Staying up late is so appealing I know, especially if you want a bit of piece and quiet, but it can be counter-productive. Getting insufficient sleep can negatively impact our energy levels and mood, which in turn impacts our eating and lifestyles choices. When you are sleep-deprived, you are far more likely to reach for the sugar and caffeine to keep you going, as any mother will know!
5. Plan a kitchen garden
If you are already a gardener you'll know now is the time to plant seedlings. You don’t need to be green-fingered or have a big garden to enjoy the benefits of home-grown produce. Many veggies can easily be grown in small pots, so give it a go! It's so rewarding to grow your own veggies and a great activity to do with the kids.
6. Everyday deep breathing
There are times in the day when we can be overwhelmed and stressed by even the smallest of things. Whilst there are many apps and meditation exercises around, I find a very simple breathing exercise '3-4-5' works well. Breathing in for 3, holding the breath for 4 and breathing out for five. Slowing the breath helps to calms us down helping to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
7. Do something just for you
March is the month we celebrate women and motherhood, so why not embrace the self-care trend and reward yourself a little too. Find some time to break free from that long list of responsibilities, cross something off that to-do list or just say NO to something. You can still be kind and generous without saying yes to everything. So allocate a few hours to yourself and enjoy.
8. Give your snacks a makeover
Snacks are a part of life in the UK. We are tempted by them everywhere we go, but often they are convenience snacks, high in sugar and heavily processed. Whilst they give us a quick energy boost, these types of snacks can wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels, leaving us feeling lethargic and hungry soon after. Instead, carry some oat cakes, nuts and or a trail mix with you, which will sustain your energy for a lot longer.
9. Take a phone break
Often when we are resting or relaxing we are still plugged into our phones. Since we use them to schedule and capture our daily lives, it's no wonder it can be hard to put them down. However, constantly digesting a stream of news and information, checking our work emails and surfing social media feeds can actually add stress. Taking a phone break allows our minds to really switch off.
10. Take a more mindful approach to eating
Take the time to sit down down and enjoy your meals without distraction. So often we eat on the go, eating snacks whilst being preoccupied with other things. Tuning into your physical hunger cues can help you identify when and if you really need that snack. This is a much bigger subject, which i will delve into another time, but I'm putting this here as some food for thought.
If you are interested in learning more on any of these issues, I'd love to have a chat and work with you to help nourish your body and mind this March.