With the end of winter and the arrival of warmer weather, we’re often compelled to “spring clean” our homes. But as it turns out, our bodies are naturally inclined to adopt that “out with the old, in with the new” attitude as well. Whether or not you’re itching to dust out the literal cobwebs from your home, be sure to clear them from your body and mind!
Clear Out Inflammation
Kick-start your body’s spring cleaning process while you sleep. Your brain not only rids your body of physical toxins, but reduces inflammation during sleep. External stressors such as jobs, relationships, and demanding schedules, combined with the internal stressors of not-so-healthy food choices, leave us with chronic, low-level inflammation.
A bruise, swollen cut, or even a fever are examples of acute inflammation— a natural part of our body’s defense system. Low-level, chronic inflammation—the kind that leads to disease—is usually silent and not always outwardly apparent. It’s linked to a host of health issues from allergies and asthma, to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and obesity, and even cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Tidy Up Your Body
There are steps you can take to reduce inflammation, and with it, your risk of disease:
• Eat real food. Organic whenever possible. Lots of vegetables, some fruit, lean and clean protein, and a bit of healthy fats.
• Your metabolism naturally shifts in springtime, with your hypothalamus encouraging your muscles to be more active. A little goes a very long way. Ten minutes every day is a perfect start. Always include weight-bearing exercise, too.
• Eliminate pre-packaged, processed, and fast food. AND tobacco.
• Reduce sugars such as the well-known ones like cookies, candy, soda, cake, and ice cream. But also bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers. Anything with flour equals sugar once it’s metabolized. Another culprit—alcohol.
• Avoid toxins such artificial sweeteners and charred/burned/blackened foods.
Unclutter Your Mind
When we dwell on negative energy, memories, or traumas, we experience constricted awareness—meaning our minds constrict to find a “safe zone” free of negative energy. This increases the time we spend in fear, depression, anxiety, sadness, and frustration leaving little room for more positive emotions. Excessive negative energy leads to stress, poor sleep and eating habits, and a decreased immune system which leads straight to disease.
• A short walk in the sunshine has a rejuvenating effect. Exposure to natural light helps regulate your circadian rhythms, which tell your body when to eat and when to sleep, leading to overall better health.
• Ease stress with yoga classes, meditation, massages, essential oils, and even a long, hot bath.
• Find ways to rest and sleep. This most important tool helps keep you feeling positive and clear. Naps work if you can’t get enough sleep at night.
• Find ways to laugh more. Play games with friends, share jokes—be more playful.
• Focus on positive relationships with friends and family. Having just one person to confide in helps you feel heard and cared for. Being a part of a community can enhance your life in so many ways.
• Limit relationships or situations that trigger anger, sadness, and anxiety whenever possible.
• Try therapy. It is by far the best gift you can ever give yourself.
Clearing out emotional clutter helps reduce stress and build our confidence, allowing us to make more healthful decisions about what we put into and how we treat our bodies.