Days get longer, morning dawns brighter and our body begins to wake up too. Here's how to make the most of this season and get a spring in your step.
The main aim is energy; getting it and keeping it. Do this by focusing on four aspects of your lifestyle.
Energy in, energy out:
Digestion is an energy hungry process and the more energy we use in consuming our food, the less we have to call on.
Foods that challenge our digestive process are draining, leading to allergies or symptoms such as headaches, sluggishness and fatigue.
A low-allergy diet based on fresh foods supports the digestive and detoxification process.
This involves a little attention and maybe some discipline too. I love pasta and potatoes, but I know that they aren't the easiest foods for me to digest, so they are out.
Choose fresh fruit and veges, especially leafy greens. Spring is a great time for these foods; they are growing rapidly and, as supply strengthens, are becoming more affordable.
The second key element is the Glycemic Index (GI), a handy tool for accessible and long-lasting energy. A simple way to get the best GI is to go for soup.
The nutrient goodness is already broken down in preparing a soup, making digestion quick and energy uptake easy.
The saying 'you've got to give to get' describes the connection between energy and exercise. As hard as it is to get out and start exercising when you are low on energy, it is a great way to gain new energy levels.
And it's easy to do, 20 minutes is all you need, giving the greatest returns in wellbeing and increased fitness. It doesn't have to be hard, high-impact exercise - simply walking is effective.
The biggest barrier is getting started. We can deliberate on planning, what to do, where to go, how far, how hard and for how long. Do this once you're underway.
Just lace up your walking shoes and get out the door. Twenty minutes later you're done and it's time to plan your next workout.
Exercise gets addictive - the endorphins released improve mood, circulation, metal clarity and above all energy. So get out the door and earn that energy.
Mental fatigue is a big demand and drain on energy. To keep our mental focus and clarity we have really only one tool; rest.
Active rest is all important in our busy modern lifestyle. The best form of this is mindfulness. A simple and accessible form of meditation, mindfulness is increasingly popular in hospitals worldwide, both as a tool for recovery and in disease management and prevention.
Mindfulness is a simple tool of relaxing our brains by consciously focusing our senses into a single moment. Mindfulness is as easy as turning off the mobile and all mental activity for a few moments, to tune into our immediate environment and experience.
Just take a few slow, relaxing breaths, 5 - 10 will do, focus only on your breathing and let the mind still for these few moments, eyes can be open and softly focused, or closed.
Relax your hands, relax your face and just breathe.
Research shows that this simple process restores mental clarity, focus and energy with long-lasting benefits against the energy sapping effects of stress.
Sleep is the big energy restorer and if yours is broken or elusive, apply some simple sleep routines and recover your rest.
1. Set a regular bed-time and stick to it.
2. Keep the bedroom dark, low lights and get black out curtains or use an eye mask.
3. Steady temperature, keep your bedroom at a comfortable ambient temperature and use clothing or bedcovers for your perfect feel.
4. Romance and rest only in your bedroom i.e no TV, laptop, mobile or back lit screen readers. These wake the brain and block production of sleep inducing melatonin.
This is the season of new growth and energy, take action now and use this it to spring into summer.
Lani Lopez BHSc AdvDipNatHealth is a Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist and ?top-selling author. Founder of lanilopez.com find her and talk wellbeing on www.facebook.com/lanilopez.com