Written by: Maria Dinh

Spring season has finally arrived! As we look forward to a warmer and brighter fresh start, perhaps it may also be a time to prioritize our health and wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you “spring clean” your health!

Tip #1: Eat fresh, in season produce 

In season produce are foods that are harvested close to our homes. This means in season produce is not only cheaper, but it may also taste better and contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals important for our bodies. Produces that are in season this spring include: broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, lettuce, salad greens, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and strawberries. 

Tip #2: Spend time outdoors  

Now that the weather is getting warmer and sunnier, it’s time to spruce up our exercise routine! Going for a walk, hike, or bike ride can be a fun way to relax and get your heart rate up! Studies have suggested that exposure to sunshine may boost our vitamin D levels and increase our bone health and immune system. Exercising under the sun has also been shown to boost mood and cognition by elevating the body’s production of serotonin, “happiness hormone”!

Tip #3: Protect the skin and eyes  

Although the sun has many benefits as previously discussed in Tip #2, it remains important to wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect the skin and eyes from UV rays, which can be harmful if you are exposed to too much sun rays. Lots of UV ray exposure at one time can be harmful, and potentially cause skin cancer or eye damage. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using sunscreen daily that contains at least an SPF of 15. 

Tip #4: Get enough sleep  

According to the CDC, adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep daily. Studies have shown that lack of sleep may increase the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Lack of sleep can also suppress our immune system, leaving the body feeling groggy and unwell. To improve sleep hygiene, try to set a consistent sleep schedule, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and use of electronic devices before bedtime. 

Tip #5: Manage your stress levels  

Stress is the body’s way to respond to challenges as big as running away from a tiger to something small as being stuck in traffic. Short term stress is healthy, as it is a way to let us know if we are in danger. However, it can be detrimental to our health when stress sticks around for long periods of time. This can lead to chronic anxiety, depression, headaches, and even heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Spring into action and find new ways to handle the stress in your life! Activities such as gardening, meditation, yoga, journaling, or talking to a friend are great ways to reduce stress.