As the days get longer, it’s a good time to shake off the winter blahs in all aspects of your life, experts say. “The weather is warming up, mornings are getting light and summer vacations are on many of our minds,” says personal trainer Julia Buckley.
Here’s how to get revved up.
Clear Out the Clutter
Open up the windows and doors and get ready to downsize: It’s time for a spring cleaning. Whether you’re tackling your junk drawer, bedroom or garage, three questions can help you decide what to do with every item you’re sorting through as you clean, says Maura Thomas, a speaker, trainer and founder of RegainYourTime.com.
- Will I need it? “If the thought of not having it makes you upset, then you should probably keep it,” Thomas says.
- Can I get it? You may have something that you will need at some point in the future, but in the meantime it’s just taking up space. Determine whether it would be cheap and easy to get again, Thomas says — if so, it can probably go.
- Is it serving me? “If it’s not serving you, it’s clutter,” Thomas says. That may mean different things to different people, but if it’s not serving you, it should go.
Move Your Exercise Routine Outside
Warmer days and longer evenings will help lure you outside to exercise, but don’t expect to suddenly bust out a 10K if you’ve been doing half-hour jogging sessions on the treadmill all winter. “Taking exercise outside is much more appealing, but before you head out that door take a bit of time to plan your session,” Buckley says. “If you haven’t exercised much during winter, diving right into a long, intense workout or run could result in you getting injured or at least suffering with soreness so bad you can’t exercise again for days.”
Buckley recommends gradually building up to a long outside workout. Give your body a week or two to get used to running on concrete or uneven trails, and focus on getting stronger instead of hitting a personal best for time or distance. Also, don’t forget sunscreen, Buckley says: “Waterproof lotion is best; apply everywhere on your body that isn’t covered by your clothes.”
Perk Up Your Menu
Spring is a great time to overhaul your cuisine: Fresh fruits and vegetables are starting to come into season, and warmer days can inspire a switch from comfort foods to cooler, lighter fare. “Spring doesn't happen all of a sudden; it transitions from winter, so dishes can do the same,” says Keith-Thomas Ayoob, a nutritionist and associate clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
After spending the colder months roasting your vegetables, consider broiling in the spring so your oven isn’t on as much, Ayoob says. “Asparagus, red peppers, eggplant, portobello mushrooms and fennel are spring veggies that, brushed with some olive oil, do excellently broiled,” he says. He recommends preparing large amounts and adding them to salads, cold soups and stirfries.
For breakfasts, “oatmeal is a great food but if you don't want a hot cereal, just don't cook your rolled oats,” Ayoob says. “Pour milk over them or mix with yogurt and treat as a cold cereal.” And instead of a baked snack or dessert indulgence like a muffin, cake or brownie, Ayoob recommends an ounce of dark chocolate. “Seventy percent or higher is actually good for the heart and loaded with antioxidants, as is coffee,” he says.
Lighter coffee blends are the perfect complement for the fresher fare spring brings. Adding Community® Amber Sunrise™ Blend coffee to your morning routine or afternoon break will help you enjoy the new season!