Regardless of the temperatures where you live, spring is here! Feeling more active as we emerge from winter is likely a biological reason for the age-old tradition of spring cleaning. (It’s also a strong ritual in various cultures, connected to Passover in Jewish homes, Nowruz in Iranian households, and the Lunar New Year in East Asian cultures.)
If you haven’t tackled this project yet, no worries: We’re going to encourage four approaches to the process. These spring-cleaning tips can help you stress less, live consciously and nurture yourself (which just so happen to be three of the eight pillars of Nutritious Life).
While decluttering your home is a worthwhile goal, the notion of spring cleaning doesn’t have to always be taken literally. A simple zhuzh of your living space also helps, as does varying your routines. We’ve also got some ideas that encompass a broader definition of “clean.” No pressure to do them all—and certainly don’t tackle them all in one day. We all need time for play and relaxation, too. But a tidier home life, both internally and externally, will do wonders to improve your mood.
Explore ‘Cleaner’ Ways to Support Your Health
While you’re pondering a cleaner diet, why not brew yourself a cup of delicious, healthy tea? It can be overwhelming to choose between black and green and Darjeeling, but you can narrow the choices while being assured of quality by browsing the offerings from Traditional Medicinals. Founded in 1974 and based in California, this Certified Green Business is the pioneer of “wellness tea” in the U.S. and Canada. With dozens of different herbal formulas, you can find the perfect match for your needs—such as three different EveryDay Detox blends (dandelion, lemon or schisandra) to support liver and/or kidney function; organic Healthy Cycle Tea, supporting menstruation; organic Stress Ease Cinnamon Tea, to alleviate stress and tension; and formulas that soothe allergies, aid sleep, promote digestion and more.
Of course, sometimes you feel like you need a caffeine boost. We’re not anti-caffeine here! Coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle, depending on how much you drink and what you add to it. But don’t forget: You can also get a caffeine boost from tea, and Traditional Medicinals makes a variety of green tea blends and an Assam Chai with black tea.
Sort Through Your Medicine Cabinet
Sometimes we need some Western medicine to go beyond the herbal support. But when’s the last time you picked through the contents of that bathroom vanity? Some of those over-the-counter drugs might be expired. However, in the interest of preventing waste, it’s absolutely worth noting that expiration or sell-by dates are incredibly conservative estimates from manufacturers. An FDA study of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, actually found that 90% of them were perfectly good to use, even a decade or more after the expiration date. But note: There are a few exceptions to this rule of thumb, particularly insulin and liquid antibiotics.
Meanwhile, both that study and another one, published in 2019 by the National Library of Medicine, offer advice about properly storing medications. It turns out that your bathroom cabinet isn’t an ideal storage place, thanks to heat and humidity. Medications remain most stable in dry, cool spaces away from light.
Meanwhile: Have you ever considered that over-the-counter medications contain additives? Just as we aim to cut back on processed food, you can also aim to do that with your drugs. One option is the Genexa brand, which bills itself as “the first clean medicine company”. In other words, Genexa produces medicine using the same active ingredient(s) as you’d find in some common drugs but eliminates many of the unnecessary inactive ingredients, such as artificial coloring, preservatives, and other chemicals. While some Genexa products are strictly homeopathic, the company also manufactures clean acetaminophen (also known by the brand name Tylenol) and diphenhydramine (also known as Benadryl).
“According to a study done at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab … a tidier kitchen helps promote healthier eating. Women in a messy kitchen ate twice as many calories compared to women in the clean kitchen.”
Declutter Your Fridge and Pantry
Here’s a fascinating statistic: According to a study done at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab involving 101 female undergrads, a tidier kitchen helps promote healthier eating. Women in a messy kitchen ate twice as many calories compared to women in the clean kitchen. That’s just one reason we recommend decluttering your kitchen.
So pull everything out of your fridge! That’s the best way to figure out what to keep, and of course, those shelves and crisper compartments could use a wash. (You can tackle the freezer separately or do it at the same time, depending on your time and energy.) It’s often a surprise, the things that hide out in the rear of your refrigerator. Obviously you should toss anything that’s gone bad. Consider letting go of other things you hardly ever use. If it’s been more than six months since you touched that oddball bottle of hot sauce or Aunt Sally’s jar of home-pickled green tomatoes, then it’s just taking up space. Your fridge and you will breathe easier when it’s cleaned and reorganized.
Is your fridge handled? Then don’t forget to peer inside your pantry — and that includes your spice cabinet! Dried herbs won’t go bad, per se, but they do lose their potency and flavor over time. And some store-bought spice mixes contain preservatives and anti-caking agents. Nobody needs that! If it’s time to shop for new spices, look for a brand that doesn’t include additives, such as Penzey’s, which is preservative-free.
Switch Up Your Workout
Some people thrive with a set routine, true. But for others, variety is the spice of life. That idea applies to how you exercise, too. If we’ve learned anything during two years of the pandemic, it’s how to be flexible and adjust our old habits — which means you don’t have to return to a gym if you’re happier working out at home. On the other hand, if the idea of another Zoom yoga class is just too much, by all means, find the right group setting for you and your mat to safely practice.
For many, a hybrid approach is a great fit, mixing and matching as your mood and free time allow. That’s just one of 10 fitness trends for 2022 you can try; others include shorter workouts, strength training, stretching before and after exercising, and finding a nutrition or wellness coach.
One more great way to adapt your workouts for spring (and summer and fall): Get outside!
Exercising outdoors is a great way to switch things up, and it can improve your mental and spiritual health. From yoga to swimming, we’ve got ideas for ways to work out in the great outdoors. If you’re just getting back into shape and not yet up for running or cycling, even a good hike carries upsides beyond the simple act of moving. Spending time in green space has been shown to produce an array of benefits, including improving heart health and gut health, and reducing stress. No wonder the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, has taken off worldwide!