Back in 2016, I published a round-up of eight of my favourite winter self-care habits and practices. And would you guess? It’s been one of my most popular posts! Since spring is upon us now, I thought it would be fun to inspire you with some new ideas for spring self-care.
Many of these ideas are EXCELLENT self-care practices in any season, but spring offers some new opportunities for self-care. It gives us a fresh start, newfound energy, and more inspiration to get things done.
So, here are some of my favourite spring self-care habits and practices.
1. Fill Your Plate with Spring Greens and Vegetables
Asparagus, peas, lettuces, fiddleheads, salad greens like spinach and arugula, Swiss chard, baby bok choy and other Asian veggies: there are so many spring vegetables and greens to love! And let’s not forget the ever-trendy superstar, kale.
Ah, my heart truly sings when fresh kale appears in the markets!
Kale is one of my favourite greens because it is so hearty, so nutritious (vitamins K, C, A and manganese, among others), and so versatile. In early spring, you can enjoy it steamed in a pan with just a bit of broth or water and it cooks so quickly.
On my busiest days, it’s a go-to breakfast for me and I enjoy it with eggs or last night’s dinner leftovers and whatever homemade dressing or sauce I have in the fridge. Right now, I’m loving my kale with a riff on this luxurious ginger-lemon cream sauce that remains one of my favs.
You can also enjoy kale and other spring greens raw and there are plenty of recipes online to enhance or downplay their robust flavours. For kale in particular, I love “chopping” it in small batches in the food processor, which helps break down its tough leaves. Salt, lemon juice and lots of massaging will help kale become even more tender and ensure it’s in steady rotation on your plate!
Here are some recipes to enjoy your spring vegetables and greens with:
- Dairy-Free Potato Salad with Purslane and Fresh Herbs
- Spring Vegetable Pasta with Peppery Kale Pesto
- Creamed Greens with Lemon-Ginger Cashew Cream Sauce
2. Celebrate Spring Self-Care with the Spring Equinox
A time of renewal and rebirth, the Spring Equinox is a powerful time to celebrate the season. Most years it occurs around March 20 or 21. Officially, it is the calendar day when day and night are roughly the same length at 12 hours each, and the sun is directly above the equator.
From the Latin word “equinoxium”, equinox refers to “equality between day and night”. But depending on where you live, you may experience a bit more day or a bit more night!
2020 is a unique year because the Spring Equinox happens early on March 19, and apparently this is the earliest it has occurred in 124 years.
To me, that sounds like an extra reason to celebrate this sacred seasonal day in a special way!
3. Meditate, Contemplate or Spend Time in Quiet Reflection
It may seem counterintuitive against the backdrop of the energizing nature of spring, but meditation is one of my favourite spring self-care habits and practices.
I had never consistently meditated, but after my son was born, I decided to see if it might help me. And it did! It helped improve my sleep, relax my nervous system, and even relieve some of my new fears and worries about this vulnerable little person I was suddenly responsible for.
Meditation remains one of the best ways I take extra good care of myself.
Whether you’re frustrated, angry, happy, sad, stuck and wading through difficult or negative emotions, or some combination of all of these, meditation can help.
It can help re-frame our thoughts toward a happier, healthier perspective and help reconnect us to what’s most important.
Recently I even described it to a friend as feeling like “I have had the absolute BEST nap!”
Meditation truly helps me feel r-e-c-h-a-r-g-e-d!
4. Get Growing to Support Spring Self-Care
Whether you’re growing fresh superfood sprouts in your kitchen, planting a new garden, or embarking on an ambitious plan to grow all your own food, growing food can be a very rewarding spring self-care habit.
Gardening marks this time of year for me and starting seeds is something I have been doing for many, many years. I have even used a complicated set-up of grow lights and grow mats in my basement to start seeds extra early in late winter so they’re ready to plant outdoors as soon as the snow has melted and the soil has warmed up.
Even last year, at over six months pregnant and no longer able to touch my toes, I had a garden full of veggies!
But spoiler alert: I mostly had weeds by the time my son was born on Labour Day weekend. I had high hopes to tend my garden through summer. But I had a late-summer due date and no conditioning at home, which sapped most of my energy!
Oh well, better luck next year 🙂
Growing some food is a remarkable self-care practice for those who enjoy it. Best of all, you get to eat the fruits of your labour!
5. Open Windows and Water a Plant or Two
Did you know that the air inside your home, car or office is often unhealthier than the air outside? And this is true regardless of where you live!
Put this tip on top of your spring self-care to-do list!
Indoor air quality is affected by everything from your furniture to your household cleaners to a wide range of temperature, humidity and ventilation factors. All of these factors affect your air quality.
One thing I find interesting is that the air inside newer homes is often LESS healthy than the air inside older homes. And why? Well, the argument is that older homes tend to be draftier, with more cracks and crevices for the exchange of air to happen.
In early spring, open your windows. Let the outdoor air freshen your space with new life. Wake to the sound of birds chirping. Take a few deep breaths to inhale sweet spring blooms. That is, in itself, a kind of meditation!
You can read more about indoor air quality and NASA’s research on the ability of plants to clean the air and improve indoor air quality in my article, 4 Easy Yet Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Health in Your Workplace.
6. Get Moving to Stimulate Spring Self-Care
Walk, hike, run—just get outside. Spring self-care thrives on moving and grooving.
Jump on the trampoline or rebounder. Explore a new park or area in your town or city.
Bring your camera and snap some candid shots of yourself and a loved one. There are lots of ways to get moving and have fun at the same time!
Getting moving also helps boost our lymphatic system. You may have heard that the lymphatic system is a complex network in our body that doesn’t come with its own “pump”. As such, exercise helps us activate and move waste out so that it can be naturally eliminated.
All types of exercise help, but I am especially fond of using a rebounder or trampoline. This is so needed after winter and for most of us, a season spent more indoors than out and a lot less time being active.
7. Spring Clean Your Home, Office or Car
Our homes, offices, cars and bodies can always benefit from a good spring self-care tune-up!
I like to de-clutter any items I haven’t been using and donate them. After that, cleaning top to bottom with homemade, non-toxic cleaners and good old-fashioned elbow grease is high on my To-Do list!
If cleaning the whole house isn’t needed, you can start small with some simple spring cleaning.
- toss any expired foods, jars or unrecognizable condiments in your fridge or pantry;
- donate clothes that no longer fit (or feel good!); and,
- discard expired or old cosmetics, beauty and other household products.
8. Set Goals for the Coming Season
Would you like some momentum to set new goals or get back on track with earlier goals (New Year’s Resolutions anyone?)
I always find more sunlight + warmer weather + more time outdoors and in nature, all help re-energize me and support my goals.
Here are a few ideas for your health and overall wellness goals:
- If your goal is to get a snapshot of what your day-to-day meals look like, set a goal to record your meals. You can use a food journal and it provides valuable insights.
Download my free food journal templates here. One is a basic food journal and one is a food and mood journal. Discover how a food journal can help you reach your health goals.
- Want to make mealtimes easier? Plan your meals for the week. You can also choose one particular meal (such as all your dinners, or all your breakfasts). Check out the tips in my article, “10 Key Do’s and Dont’s of Healthy Meal Planning”.
If you need a bigger roadmap for your big goals, you can download my “Look Ahead” Goal Planning vision exercise. I originally designed it for the year-end, but it works well any time of year when you want to do some long-term goal-setting and planning.
Enjoy this round-up of my favourite spring self-care habits and practices. And be sure to check out my article on winter self-care habits and rituals.
What’s your favourite way to give yourself some extra love as spring arrives?
Life is a plate… Eat up!
P.S. I was motivated to write this article this weekend… and then delighted to realize that today is a Full Moon in Virgo, which is all about self-care, health habits and goals. I must have been divinely inspired!