Spring is officially here! And though Persephone appears to be running late in her return to our realm, leaving Demeter in mourning, and keeping our air crisp and ground strewn with snow, there is one aspect of winter’s near-end that we can indulge in: spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning generally refers to thoroughly sweeping, dusting, scrubbing, and re-organizing the house. Today, however, we are going to discuss the idea of spring cleaning yourself.
Let’s start with internal change: re-wiring your thinking to promote more positive, healthy change.
Almost everyone who lives in an area with four seasons (like Michigan) suffers from seasonal depression to some degree, be it mild or severe. When the weather gets colder, and the sun is not shining as brightly, your mood grows darker, as well. Often, in colder weather, you are not going outside as often, but instead are breathing the stale air of your house, which is also not helpful to your mental disposition.
But spring is here! Shake off that mental fatigue. Even though it is still a bit cold in Michigan, there are the occasional warm days that sneak in on us, and those warm days will be increasing as the season progresses. Be on the lookout, and try to get outside for a walk or run on nicer days, taking deep breaths of that clean, fresh air.
Focus on the positive things in your life to help dissipate any lingering negativity from those dreary winter months. You are a strong, capable person, and this spring season, you are going to feel great and become even more healthy (and therefore, more awesome).
Now let’s move on to our body. In the winter, in Michigan, it can sometimes be difficult to find good produce. So focus on bringing more fruits and vegetables into your diet; eat clean to feel clean.
A great way to get fresh air, find good produce, and help the local economy, is by going to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. The market is open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
In April, the seasonal produce to incorporate into your diet is:
- asparagus (which helps your body get rid of excess salt)
- mushrooms (which are also great for your skin!)
- parsnips (check back next week for a delicious, healthy recipe)
- rhubarb (just don’t eat the leaves!)
In addition to paying attention to what you eat, it is just as important to clean up what you drink. If the winter months have meant hot chocolate, coffee, and more hot chocolate, you probably have not been getting enough water.
Water is the most hydrating, clean beverage you can consume. In addition, it is good for your skin, which can become more dry and itchy during the winter, heating-heavy months.
The best thing about water, however, is that it does not have any additives. Avoid flavored, bottled water, which often contains a lot of sugar and calories. Also, avoid “vitamin-enhanced” drinks – you want to receive your vitamins through your food, not your beverages.
If drinking water plain is just not possible for you, add a couple of lemon wedges.
Now, let’s discuss one of the most important parts of your body: your skin. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It protects you, and helps regulate your body temperature, so you want to take good care of it.
In the winter, when heaters everywhere are on full blast, the skin often dries out or begins to feel dull, so take a little bit of time to pamper yourself and properly care for it.
First, make sure to thoroughly clean your skin by exfoliating it. Your skin has multiple layers, and every so often, you want to use an exfoliant to slough off the dead skin cells on the top layer to reveal the clean, smooth skin beneath.
You can purchase an exfoliant, or you can make your own. Here’s a recipe for a facial exfoliant using household baking ingredients: mix 1 tablespoon of oatmeal, 1/4 teaspoon salt, & 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Then, if you have been suffering from dry skin, make sure to use a good lotion to hydrate your skin. The best way to apply lotion is as soon as possible after showering. Applying lotion in this way helps to seal in the remaining moisture from the shower, hydrating your skin more effectively.
By thinking positive, eating more seasonal fruits & vegetables, drinking more water, and refreshing your skin, you will be a happier, healthier, cleaner you. Share your spring cleaning goals in the comments below!