Spring is a fantastic time to grow and change - but how can we actually use spring’s transformative energy to our advantage? Take on a few simple habits to renew and shift your mental health this spring.
I’m all about setting achievable goals and resolutions at New Year’s, but I believe the best habit-setting time for health goals is actually spring.
In January, most of us are still overwhelmed from the holiday season. We may be inspired to make change with the onset of a new calendar year, but we’re more than likely physically and mentally beat. This is why a lot of our habits don’t last past a few weeks. We fall back into our old ways when fatigue and stress take over.
From the Chinese medicine viewpoint, springtime is superior to winter for making change. In January, nature is still in the depths of winter. It’s a time of rest and hibernation, and while we may be gearing up to make change in spring, we’re not quite ready yet.
Come spring, nature’s energy shifts from dormant, cold, and restful to shifting, warm, and active. The season supports our new healthy habits because our bodies are naturally inclined to change in spring. Certain habits, like exercising and eating fresher foods, are also more likely to stick in spring when these activities feel easier and more enjoyable.
When it comes to mental health, spring also naturally triggers better moods and more positivity. Seeing the natural world come alive, the increase in daylight, and warmer temperatures all make getting on top of anxiety and depression more manageable. We’re called to let go of our pent up frustrations and be more connected to others.
8 Spring Habits to Shift Your Mental Health
Ok, so spring is a fantastic time to grow and change - but how can we actually use spring’s transformative energy to our advantage? Take on a few simple habits to renew and shift your mental health this spring:
1. Start your day outside.
Spring is a beautiful time to reconnect to Mother Nature and find serenity in the everyday moment. If the weather allows, spend a few minutes of your morning outside to start the day on a calm note. Take your favorite tea or coffee out to the deck, go for a walk around the neighborhood, or simply step outside and take a few deep, fresh breaths. Even better - go barefoot to instantly feel more grounded.
2. Declutter weekly.
The act of clearing out clutter is therapy in and of itself! There is something about clearing out the old and making way for the new (or even just making space to breathe) that puts you in a proactive mindset.
But you don’t have to overhaul your home to embrace the therapeutic benefits of decluttering. Instead, try embracing a weekly decluttering challenge. Aim to find 3 things (or 10 things, or whatever works for your lifestyle) each week that you could recycle or donate. By summer, you’ll have lightened your load - physically and mentally.
3. Become an indoor gardener.
Green is the color of the wood element, which corresponds to spring. A simple way to calm the mind and improve your overall health is to bring more green into your life by adopting a few cheerful houseplants. Try peperomia, peace lilies, sansevieria, or pothos for improved air quality and a calmer mind.
4. Get a mood boost from acupuncture.
Making acupuncture a weekly or monthly habit is one of the most powerful ways you can shift your mental health. Acupuncture helps to reduce that lingering stress, calm your mind, improve your sleep, and more. It doesn’t just relax you - it helps to address the root issues of why you are experiencing anxiety or depression so you’ll grow more resilient to stress over time.
Spring is an excellent time to try acupuncture - or get back on a regular routine if you’ve fallen off your treatment plan. In spring, the body needs a little extra support to navigate the changing season. Thankfully, it’s also ready for change, which means you can see powerful improvements in a short period of time.
5. Do a weekly detox day.
Detox your mind and body with a detox day every week or every other week through spring. Here’s how to spend a successful spring detox day:
- Start the day off with meditation, a stretch, and a brisk walk.
- Drink lots of fresh water and herbal tea.
- Eat small meals (about 50-70% of what you would normally eat) fruits (include some sour fruits), vegetables (lots of leafy greens!), and whole ancient grains.
- Avoid electronics like TV, your phone, and your computer entirely, or as much as possible.
- Complete the day with a stretch and an evening meditation.
6. Ask: “How can I grow from this?”
When you get a bad review from your boss, ask “how can I grow from this?” When you lose your temper with your kids after a long day, ask “how can I grow from this?” When you forget your friend’s birthday...again… ask “how can I grow from this?”
You are your toughest critic. Silence that hurtful voice in your head by changing the narrative. You aren’t a failure - but you do have an opportunity to learn, so take it! This simple thought-shift can squash anxiety before it takes over and even help you become a better version of yourself.
7. Go floral.
Flowers have the power to brighten even the worst days. Their color, scent, and simple beauty has been proven to lift a bad mood, and even being around flowers can help you have a more positive outlook on life. Buy yourself flowers, visit a botanical garden, or plant some flowers in your own backyard.
Or, why not sip your flowers? In Chinese medicine, several different flowers are considered herbal tonics that help to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, ease tension, and calm the mind. Try sipping on chrysanthemum, rose, hibiscus, or jasmine blooming tea.
8. Pretend you’re living this day for the second time around.
Whether in your morning journal entry or in your head during your morning meditation, ask yourself this question: “What would I do differently if I was living this day for the second time?” It seems like a strange question to ask, but it can help you focus on how you want to live, not how you simply react. Would you be more patient? Would you reach for the fruit instead of the donuts? Would you carve out just 10 extra minutes to chat with a friend or restore your focus?
Make this Your Happiest Spring Yet
Everyone has the power to reset their mental health and create a healthier, happier life. Making this positive shift is possible with simple habits like these and a little guiding help.
Calm San Diego is your launching pad to better days. Through transformative therapies like acupuncture and helpful lifestyle changes, you can reduce stress and anxiety and live a calmer life.
Want to find out more? Getting started is easy. Schedule a consultation, share your story and health concerns, then get ready to relax!