Spring has sprung, but if you’re tired and sluggish all the time, it can still feel like the dead of winter.
Break your energy out of hibernation with a plan to spring clean your body from the inside out. The fatigue you feel in the winter months isn’t in your head. Energy levels are naturally depleted during winter thanks to factors like lack of sunlight (which triggers vitamin D deficiency), light changes that affect sleep patterns, and winter diet and medicines. Even the clutter that naturally accumulates during the cold months can leave you feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.
This simple plan allows you to break your bad winter habits and get your energy back for spring by applying the 3 Rs: release, renew and revive.
Bad Winter Habit #1: Comfort Foods
The first factor draining your spring energy is something people often turn to during the winter – comfort foods. The drop in sunlight combined with less socializing and activity results in lower serotonin levels, which can leave you craving carbohydrates. Despite their name, comfort foods don’t provide comfort at all, because they spike your insulin levels. This triggers your body’s stress responses, prompting inflammation and lower serotonin levels – which causes cravings and fuels the vicious cycle to start again. Adding to your fatigue, these meals are often large and fatty, making them hard for your body to digest.
Release: Boost your energy by breaking the cycle. Release heavy proteins and comfort carbs from your diet.
Renew: Give your body energy and melt fat away with nutrient-dense foods like grass-fed proteins and additive-free poultry. Try a program where the bulk of your food is green, purple or red antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. Be sure to limit your fruit intake to one or two pieces a day to keep your glycemic index levels low. Eat four to five small meals to boost energy levels.
Revive: You don’t need to deprive yourself by cutting out carbs completely. Revive your relationship with carbohydrates by indulging wisely (think whole grains) and in moderation.
Bad Winter Habit #2: Cold and Flu Medications
By the time spring rolls around, most people have recovered from winter colds, but are still taking their medicines. The side effects of these drugs linger and can take a toll on your energy.
Release: Dispose of your decongestants, antibiotics and antihistamines! Unnecessarily taking these medicines can be a hidden reason for lingering insomnia, achiness or fuzziness.
Renew: Try a natural remedy to renew your body’s innate ability to heal. A neti pot or saline spray will restore moisture in your nasal passages. Allergy sufferers can use a quercetin nasal spray. This plant-derived product is full of antioxidants and has antihistamine properties. It can alleviate nasal and sinus congestion. Use it for 1-2 months to see a difference.
Additionally, omega-3 probiotics can help to fight inflammation and boost energy. Additionally, probiotics help regulate your digestion. Take them for two months to see full benefits.
Revive: Boost your energy with vitamin D supplements.
Bad Winter Habit #3: Clutter
When it’s cold, you begin to “nest” by surrounding yourself with comforting items like hats, boots and clothes. By springtime, these same objects can sap your energy. One study showed a direct connection between a cluttered home and stress levels. The extra mess around your home can be a hidden stressor, hyper-stimulating your brain and leaving you overwhelmed and fatigued.
While removing all clutter is ideal, attempting to manage a large mess all at once can elevate stress hormones. Start small – designate one spot that’s a clutter-free zone, where you can retreat to if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Next, ask yourself the following set of questions and follow the 3 Rs.
Release: What no longer has any use? These items will go into your garbage pile.
Renew: What can I give to someone who needs it? If you haven’t used an item in two years, even if you like it, add it to your charity pile.
Revive: What do I love and need? These are the things you will keep.
The entire process of sorting is cleansing, energizing and raises your levels of oxytocin – the feel-good chemical. The process makes spring cleaning beneficial for your home and body!