The geese are honking, the temperature is rising, and the snow is gone.
Spring has arrived, and so have the rituals of the season.
Gardeners will soon start to prepare the land by cleaning it of debris and introducing fresh, nutrient-rich soil. Their efforts are undertaken to ensure the land has the best foundation to yield the most abundant and fruitful outcome.
Vehicles are scheduled for a spring tune up and inspection. The oil is changed, the tires are rotated, and the fluid levels are checked. This ensures the longevity of the vehicle and optimizes its performance.
But while the arrival of spring may serve as a reminder of certain tasks that need to be done, there is one that often gets overlooked: The need to take care of one’s health.
Taking care of ourselves is a lot like looking after our gardens and cars. It ensures longevity, vitality, and self-appreciation. So while you are running through your check-list of things to do this spring, why not take a little time out to renew your health and well-being. Here are some tips to help you “SPRING” into action.
S is for simple foods prepared at home. Eat a variety of foods prepared from scratch. Foods closest to their natural state are simple and nutritious and making it yourself allows you decide the quality of the ingredients used. It also allows you to make healthier substitutions, like using less sugar and eliminating salt.
P is for processed foods. Avoid processed foods such microwave dinners and fast food. Processed foods are calorie heavy and have minimal nutritional value. In order to be kept on the shelf for an extended time, they contain salt, sugars, and additives.
R is for rest. Sleep is a wonder drug. During sleep, the body repairs itself. A lack of sleep can leave you feeling irritable, depressed, anxious, stressed and unable to concentrate. While the amount of sleep a person needs will vary, most adults need about eight hours a day, while teenagers need about eight to 10 hours a day. To determine the optimum number of sleep hours that your body needs, do not set your alarm clock and see what time you naturally wake up in the morning.
I is for investing in your health. Schedule an appointment with your health-care practitioner, dentist, and optometrist for your annual review. This will allow problems to be detected early and be treated with the most conservative therapies.
N is for nice. Be nice to yourself and to others. Acts like opening a door for a stranger, smiling, giving someone courtesy on the road all have scientific proof that they make us happier, boost mood, decrease feelings of anxiety and depression and increase self-esteem. A little kindness does go a long way for both your spirit and your health.
G is for going outside. Go outside for 30 minutes every day to walk, bike, run, jog, rollerblade, or stroll. It can be done in three ten-minute sessions – it all adds up to give you the same benefits. And don’t forget, sunshine is also good source of vitamin D, which helps strengthen your bones and immune system.
Remember, a little SPRING can go a long way to helping you live a healthier, happier life.
Parusia Purohit is a Family Nurse Practitioner with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. This article was originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press on April 7, 2017.