Spring has sprung, but it feels a little different this year. For some of us, spring holds the memory of the COVID-19 lockdown that began a year ago. For others, spring is a welcome change as the longer days return and the outdoors can be enjoyed. Wherever you are, springtime health and wellness are something we can all agree is important!
Check out our top springtime health and wellness tips for 2021:
1. Get Moving! (Even if you’re still at home.)
The benefits of regular exercise have been well-documented. From something as simple as a daily walk to more intense cardio and strength training, keeping our body moving has major advantages for our physical and mental health. One of the casualties of the widespread coronavirus pandemic was the closing of gyms and fitness facilities and studies have already documented that detrimental impact. A mental health survey, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, found that when lockdown began in March 2020 participants were seeing drastic declines in their daily physical activity. At the same time and for the duration of the period, clinical depression rose from 31% to 61%.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our mental health, and regular exercise can make all the difference in feeling better. There are tons of great exercise programs that can be done at home, without the need for a lot of space or equipment. Taking up yoga can have the double benefit of exercising the body and quieting the mind.
2. Mask Up Against Pollen and COVID-19
We are all familiar with those first signs of spring – flowers begin to bloom, the days grow longer and warmer, and we wake up with itchy eyes and stuffy nose as the pollen and allergies ramp up. As it turns out, the masks we have been wearing to slow the spread of COVID-19 can also help reduce your allergy symptoms.
Masks have proven useful in filtering out pollen and other floating allergens and the uptick in regular mask wearing has led to reduced allergy symptoms. Some studies have indicated that spikes in pollen have coincide with spikes COVID-19 infections. Why? Because when we inhale pollen, our immune system responds, and that response diminishes the expression of genes that are important for defending against airborne viruses like COVID-19.
3. Refreshing Sleep Hygiene for Spring
Maintaining regular sleep cycles are incredibly important to springtime health and wellness. In the springtime, there are several factors that can disrupt the sleep cycle. Allergies cause disruptive sniffling and our bodies are naturally tuned in to the sun, those longer daylight hours leave time for activities but less time for sleep. Of course, the biggest disturbance to our sleep is the “spring forward” time change.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults require seven or more hours of sleep a night. It’s vital to practice good sleep hygiene to overcome those seasonal challenges and stay healthy. The National Sleep Foundation recommends maintaining the same bedtime and wake-up time to condition our bodies, supported by a relaxing sleep time ritual. Stay away from screens as bedtime draws near, dim the lights, and meditate.
4. Keep On the Sunny Side
Similar to maintaining good sleep hygiene, getting outside and enjoying the sunlight helps to align the body’s circadian rhythms. This does wonders for our mental health. When we think of health and wellness and the sun, many of us default to sunlight being an excellent source of Vitamin D.
It’s also true that regular daylight exposure boosts our alertness, improves our mood, and can help lower blood pressure and strengthen our immune systems. In particular, 30 minutes of early morning sunlight has been shown to have strong effects on overall health.
5. Practice Good Nutrition
Whether you’re facing spring allergies or confronting COVID-19 concerns, a strong immune system is the foundation of a healthy response. A strong immune system is built on a balanced diet and good nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats, and whole grains are just a few of the foods that help build a strong immune system.
To support springtime health and wellness, consider Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc as supplements to incorporate along with a healthy diet.
Enjoy Springtime Health and Wellness!
Spring is a season of hope and renewal. It’s a time to enjoy and kick up your heels. Whether you are revamping your wellness journey, settling into a seasonal routine, or supporting a consistent and healthy lifestyle, spring is the perfect season to prioritize your personal care. Be well!
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