Take a cue from Mother Nature and make a fresh start this spring by banishing bad habits and clutter.
Scrubbing floors, polishing furniture, removing excess dust—you’ve likely completed these chores like clockwork every spring since you were a kid. But your home isn’t the only thing in need of a warm-weather refresher. Your mind and body can also benefit.
Supercharge Healthy Habits
Spring brings a wider variety of exercise options and greater access to fresh produce. Shake up your diet and exercise plan with one or more of these tips:
- Develop a green thumb. Peas, which only require a pot of soil and a small trellis, are easy to grow and can be planted in early spring. Other easy-to-grow veggies include tomatoes and salad greens, such as spinach.
- Visit the farmers market. The variety of available produce largely depends on climate. Peas, spinach, Swiss chard, strawberries, green beans, asparagus and apricots are among popular seasonal springtime offerings.
- Go on a culinary adventure. Each week, choose a new fruit or veggie recipe to sample as a family.
- Enjoy the great outdoors. Leave the gym behind and bike, hike or take a nature walk.
In addition to improving your physical health, turn your focus inward. The winter blues can become a vortex of negative thinking. Your mood naturally receives a lift when sunshine returns. But changing the way you react to traffic, mounting deadlines and other daily annoyances can also go a long way in improving your happiness and well-being. When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take deep breaths or recall a happy memory or funny story. Reframing negative thoughts into positive ones helps limit stress.
Free Your Home of Allergens
If you don’t have time for a top-to-bottom spring cleaning, focus on ridding your home—especially the bedrooms—of dust, pet dander and other allergens that often accumulate throughout the winter and can worsen spring allergy symptoms. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends vacuuming carpets once or twice a week. Dust your furniture and other surfaces frequently, and wash your bedding in hot water weekly.
During your yearly spring cleaning session, look through your pantry and cabinets for cosmetics, canned foods and other products that have overstayed their welcome. Use the following checklist to help determine what should go and when:
- Canned goods—According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you can safely use most canned goods for several years as long as the cans are considered shelf-stable. Before you dine, check for expiration dates and look at the can’s condition. If a can is badly damaged or rusty, toss it.
- Lotion and moisturizers—Heed any listed expiration dates and get rid of opened bottles of lotion if you’ve had them for several years or if you notice changes in the lotion’s texture or smell.
- Makeup—To prevent potential eye infections, replace your mascara every three months. Other products, such as lipstick and liquid foundation, may be used for six months, while powder-based foundation lasts up to two years. Keep in mind that preservative-free cosmetics may have a shorter shelf life.
- Sunscreen—Throw away sunscreen that has reached the expiration date or has been sitting on the shelf for three years or more. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, putting you at risk for sunburn.