If winter is the time to hunker down and be meditative, spring is the time to, well, spring into action! If you're ready to shake off the winter blahs and the extra padding you accumulated over the past few months, take a cue from nature.
Think about it: The animals are coming out of hibernation and getting active. New shoots are breaking through the frozen earth and feeling the sun. The sunlight is brighter and the days are lighter and longer. Nature sends us messages about how to get healthy by making seasonal changes too. All we have to do is listen.
Here are eight new springtime health strategies that lead to good health for your body and soul, and will help you look and feel your best.
"Spring up" your diet. Indigenous people who live close to nature eat seasonally. It's a healthy way to eat that naturally helps you shed those winter pounds and make you feel light and springy. Seek out foods that are fresh this time of year, such as green leafy salads with sprouts and radishes; strawberries and baby asparagus; and seasonal fish and shellfish.
Get in a springtime mood. Scientists have proven that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, the vast majority of which are negative! For one week, every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, which robs you of energy, state it in the opposite way. Replace "I can't" with "I can." Make that shift over and over until you begin to see more and more time pass between negative thoughts. Watch how much more spring you have in your step at the end of the week.
Commit to outdoor time. Scientists have proven what shamans have known for millennia: that being outdoors in nature makes people happier, calmer, healthier, and more energetic. Make a conscious effort to spend at least 30 minutes outside daily doing anything. You will feel significantly less stressed, more connected, and more energetic as you get in step with the spring light, spring smells, and spring activity.
Try something new. Springtime is a time for renewal. To get into the mood of change and forward momentum, try a new sport or an old one you haven't done for a long time. Often, when we engage in new activities, it's especially motivating. The more types of activities you engage in, the more energetic you'll feel.
Spring into a new eating routine. Did you get into a carb habit over the winter? Try this: For one week, cut out all sweets, pasta, and breads. Then slowly add more carbs back inóbut only complex carbs with lots of fiber (whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, beans, etc.). Notice how much lighter you feel.
Refresh an old workout routine. This spring, don't let workout boredom squelch your motivation to get in shape. Change your workout course. Do the familiar course in the opposite direction. Or find a workout partner. Or work out at a different time of day.
Take a springtime trip. Pick a wildly beautiful place in nature. Schedule a weekend to go camping or hiking. Or simply take some extended time to relax in a wonderful outdoor place where spring is showing its colors and beauty. Taking a trip in nature will jumpstart your springtime energy and will shake off the hard work, restlessness, and stagnation from winter.
Accept that challenge is normal. Lots of us this time of year look in the mirror and think, "I'll never get in shape by swimsuit season." Think of a fragile crocus pushing its way up through the frozen earth. Challenge is a normal part of striving, growing, and overcoming obstacles. Realizing this will help you manage your fear and negativity and propel you forward.
Shaman-healer Brant Secunda and world champion triathlete Mark Allen are nationally esteemed body-soul health experts known for blending ancient shamanic wisdom with the latest scientific findings on nutrition, fitness, mood, and stress. The two of them speak and teach workshops all over the country and have just penned a new book about the successful approach they developed, called "Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You" (BenBella Books). Find out more at www.fitsoul-fitbody.com.