In my previous blog article, I reveal that the benefits of spring cleaning go beyond a clean and tidy home. I also developed the idea of spring cleaning the incompletes in your life, your mind and your life and creating new healthy habits.
Another benefit beyond spring cleaning your living space is spring cleaning your body.
Your body also requires spring cleaning.
Since winter is a cold season, we are more likely to overindulge in food, minimize our activities and exercise less. Therefore spring is a great time to return to a healthier lifestyle to spring to your feet and increase your vitality.
Our bodies are constantly exposed to toxins from the air we breathe, food, and products we use.
Over time, these toxins accumulate and may lead to health issues such as fatigue, digestive problems, skin issues etc.
Spring cleaning your body involves getting rid of toxins and revitalizing your body to boost your overall health and well-being.
Here are some tips on how to spring clean your body that might be beneficial you might want to add to your new healthy habits:
Spring clean your body - habit #1: Drink plenty of water
Water is essential for flushing out toxins from your body, helping your digestive system and increasing your vitality. The best recommendation is at least eight glasses of water daily to keep your body hydrated and help eliminate toxins.
I recommend this routine to manage your water consumption throughout the day: drink two glasses as you wake up, two glasses at lunchtime, two glasses in the afternoon and two glasses in the evening. This routine is a great way to manage your water intake. You can also carry a water bottle to monitor how much you drink throughout the day.
If you struggle with drinking water because you do not like the taste, I have a solution for you. You can add some lemon juice, mint leaves, cucumber or carrots to give your water a sweet taste.
Do drink water because it is essential for health.
In his book "Your Body's Many Cries For Water," Dr Batmanghelidj says:
"Every function of the body is monitored and pegged to the efficient flow of water. 'Water distribution' is the only way of making sure that not only an adequate amount of water, but its transporting elements (hormones, chemical messengers and nutrients) first reach the more vital organs."
Spring clean your body - habit #2: Eat whole foods
In winter, we tend to go more for processed comfort foods. As a result, it is essential to lighten up your meals in spring. Processed and junk food can be high in toxins and detrimental to your health when you consume them excessively.
To reduce toxins in the body, here are some ingredients added to processed foods that are harmful to our health you need to be aware of. Remember that you are in control of your health, therefore read the food labels and look for these unhealthy ingredients before you purchase processed foods.
- Artificial sweeteners: Many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. These sweeteners can cause digestive issues, headaches and even contribute to developing diabetes and obesity.
- Trans fats: Trans fats are vegetable oils that are partially hydrogenated to increase their shelf life. The process of trans fat formation is harmful because it changes the chemical structure of the fat. Fried, baked, or snack foods, contain them. Trans fats can raise cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart disease, and contribute to inflammation in the body. You can choose olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil as a great substitute.
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common sweetener in many processed foods, including soft drinks, candy, and baked goods. It is highly processed and may be linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems if consumed in high doses. To minimize your intake of HFCS and other added sugars, it is a good idea to opt for water, unsweetened tea, or low-sugar beverages instead of sugary drinks and use natural sweeteners in moderation like honey, maple syrup or xylitol found naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables.
- Artificial colours and flavours: Many processed foods are artificially coloured and flavoured to make them more appealing. You commonly find these synthetic food colourings in various processed foods, including candies, beverages, baked goods, cereals, and more. Certain food dyes or artificial colours, including Red 40, Yellow 5&6, and Blue 1, have been associated with health issues. When it comes to artificial additives, be mindful of aspartame and MSG because they have been linked to some health concerns. Many health experts recommend avoiding or minimizing the consumption of these additives as much as possible.
- Preservatives: Many processed foods contain preservatives such as sodium benzoate and sulfites, which can cause allergic reactions and other health concerns. And lastly,
- Sodium: high sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the maximum daily sodium intake is 2,000 mg or 5 grams of salt per adult. However, this may vary based on several factors: your age, overall health, and existing medical conditions.
I recommend you read food labels carefully and choose whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.
Opt for whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods are rich in nutrients that your body needs and can help cleanse your body of toxins.
Spring clean your body - habit #3: Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate and can add stress to your body's detoxification process. You need to avoid them altogether during your spring cleaning period.
To keep your body hydrated, the recommendation is to drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee you consume.
Spring clean your body - habit #4: Exercise regularly
Regular exercise helps your body sweat out toxins and can improve circulation. In moments of stress, it is essential to remember that exercising can also help to boost your mood and reduce stress. Are there days when you get home feeling exhausted due to the pressures of a demanding work day? If so, exercising is an excellent countermeasure.
Here are the exercises you could do to spring-clean your body:
- Cardiovascular exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing can help increase your heart rate, improve circulation, and boost your overall fitness. I enjoy, particularly, cycling, dancing and brisk walking.
- Strength training is essential to help build and tone muscles, improve bone density, and enhance metabolism. You can use free weights and resistance bands or perform bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. Aim for two or more days of strength training exercises targeting major muscle groups each week.
- Flexibility and stretching can improve your joint range of motion, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall mobility. Consider activities like yoga, Pilates, or dedicated stretching routines to improve flexibility. You can also do stretching exercises before workouts to warm the body and after workouts to cool down and promote muscle recovery.
I cannot stress enough the importance of flexibility and stretching practices.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) If you are not familiar with this type of training, it involves short bursts of intense exercise and brief recovery periods. These workouts can be time-efficient, provide cardiovascular benefits, improve endurance and burn calories. Examples include circuit training, interval running, or Tabata-style workouts.
- Mind-body exercises can help reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and enhance overall well-being. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or meditation can promote relaxation, improve balance, and increase body awareness. I have practised mind-body exercises like yoga and meditation for many years.
Remember that it is essential to seek professional help if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns. Listen to your body, start at a comfortable level, and gradually progress as you build strength and stamina. Choose an exercise you like and go at your own pace.
Spring clean your body - habit #5: Get enough sleep
Sleep is crucial for your body to regenerate and heal. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night to allow your body to rest and recharge. You might be ok with six hours of quality sleep and still feel refreshed. Listen to your body.
Long-term sleep deprivation leads to burnout.
I suggest improving your before-bedtime habits. Here are some helpful and easy-to-do tips:
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulant consumption close to bedtime because they can interfere with sleep. This recommendation works for me. Consuming chocolate before going to bed can disrupt my sleep. Avoid or limit the intake of caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks and certain medications, especially within a few hours before bed.
- Avoid heavy meals and late-night eating: eating a large, heavy meal or snacking excessively close to bedtime can cause discomfort and digestive issues that may disrupt sleep. Try to have your evening meal at least a few hours before bed and avoid heavy or spicy foods that may cause indigestion. I understand this is not always possible, so if you generally finish work late, go for a substantial meal at lunchtime and a lighter meal or snack in the evening when you get home and feel hungry.
- Limit electronic device usage: the blue light emitted by electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers can suppress melatonin production, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. It's best to avoid electronic device usage for at least an hour before bed. Consider using apps or settings that reduce blue light or wearing blue-light-blocking glasses if you need to use devices closer to bedtime.
- Increase your wind-down routine: after a long working day or day of activities, engaging in stimulating or stressful activities just before bed can make it difficult to unwind and fall asleep. Establish a wind-down routine that includes calming activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, practising relaxation techniques, listening to soothing music, meditating or praying. Consistency matters to signal your body that it is time to relax and prepare for sleep.
- Introduce a regular sleep schedule: inconsistent sleep patterns, such as going to bed and waking up at different times each day, can disrupt your body's internal clock and make it harder to fall asleep and wake up refreshed. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Introduce physical activity: a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to poor sleep quality. Regular exercise during the day can help promote better sleep at night. However, your best option is to avoid vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, as it may energize you and make it harder to fall asleep. Besides stretching after a long working day sitting at your desk, for example, releases the body of tension like back, shoulder and neck pain and promotes better quality sleep.
- Stress and worry: excessive stress, anxiety, or worry can interfere with relaxation and falling asleep. Practice stress management techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or journaling before bed to help calm your mind and promote a night of more restful sleep.
By establishing healthy bedtime routines and creating a relaxing sleep environment, you can improve the chances of getting a good night's sleep and waking up feeling refreshed. It is worth it!
Spring clean your body - habit #6: Practise mindfulness
Mental and emotional toxins can also affect your health. Practising Mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help decrease stress levels and improve mental clarity.
During an emotional "spring clean," deep breathing exercises can help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and support emotional well-being. Here is an example of a deep breathing technique you can try:
Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing):
- Find a comfortable seated position or lie down on your back.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest.
- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise while keeping your chest relatively still.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth, letting your abdomen fall as you release the breath.
- Focus on breathing deeply and fully, allowing the breath to naturally fill your lungs and abdomen.
Spring clean your body - habit #7: Try a detox programme
There are several detox programs available that can help jump-start your spring cleaning process. However, it is essential to choose a program that is safe and effective. I recommend you seek advice from a professional consultant before beginning any detox program.
I have done the Chris James Mind Body 12-Day Cleanse programme several times over the years, and I highly recommend it. If you want to learn more about this programme, just go to https://shop.nutrivital.co.uk and search under Products for Chris James Mind Body brand.
To conclude, spring cleaning your body can help improve your overall health and well-being. Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can help your body eliminate toxins, reduce stress, and boost your energy levels.
Just as decluttering and organizing your living space can bring clarity and order to your life, spring cleaning your body can bring balance and vitality to your health.
Wherever you are on your spring cleaning journey, treat your body like a temple and enjoy the process. Listen to your body and try to incorporate as many new healthy habits as possible step by step.
Key steps to accelerate your success:
Here is a recap of the 7 spring clean habits to take inspired actions so that you boost your health and well-being:
- Spring clean your body habit #1: Drink plenty of water
- Spring clean your body habit #2: Eat whole foods
- Spring clean your body habit #3: Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Spring clean your body habit #4: Exercise regularly
- Spring clean your body habit #5: Get enough sleep
- Spring clean your body habit #6: Practise mindfulness
- Spring clean your body habit #7: Try a detox programme
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