No one likes losing an hour of sleep when we spring forward into Daylight Saving Time every year, but it can be a great opportunity to make some small changes in your life to help you get healthier. Don’t make big changes or big decisions — you shouldn’t make any important decisions when sleep deprived — but there are plenty of small steps you can take to spring forward with your health.
- Try New Fruits and Veggies
Spring is the best time to start adding new seasonal fruits and vegetables to your diet. By buying fruits in season, you’re sure to get the freshest produce possible — the only way to get fresher produce would be to drive to the field and pick it yourself. Seasonal produce is also cheaper, because you don’t have the added cost of storage.
Spring is the best time of year for vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, onions and zucchini, as well as leafy greens like spinach and arugula. It’s also the best time of year to stock up on berries like strawberries and blueberries, which can be easily frozen so you’ve got plenty of fruit available even when they’ve gone out of season.
- Soak up the Sun
The weather is warming up, and it’s the perfect time to get outside and start soaking up some of that sunlight you’ve been missing throughout the winter months. An estimated 20 percent of American adults suffer from a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Recent studies have shown that a lack of Vitamin D, which is common during winter months when everyone is bundled up and spends much of their time inside, can contribute to this form of depression.
Even if you’re not feeling affected by SAD, take the time to get outside and soak up the sun as soon as it gets warm enough to do so. Speaking of soaking up the sun …
- Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Getting back out into the sun perks up your Vitamin D levels, but everything should be done in moderation, and that includes exposure to sunlight. Soak up all the sun you can handle, but take the time to protect your skin. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that any exposed skin is covered with a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with a minimum SPF of 30.
If you’re going to be near water, make sure you use a waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen, and reapply every two hours.
- Purge Expired Stuff
Spring cleaning is a great way to refresh your house and get you ready for the coming seasons, but a lot of stuff gets overlooked while you’re cleaning. Take the time to go through your cabinets and clear them of expired goods, including:
- Makeup — This includes lotions, sunscreens, foundations and any makeup you’ve had for longer than a year.
- Medicine — Box up any expired over-the-counter or prescription medications. Don’t toss them, though. Check with your county’s waste management company. Most cities and towns have a drop-off for expired medications to keep them from being dumped in the landfill.
- Spices — When was the last time you went through your spice cabinet to see what is expired? Toss your expired spices and make a list of the ones that you need to replace.
It might add an extra step to your spring cleaning, but it’s a way to clear out clutter and make sure you’re not hanging on to any expired items that might make you sick.
- Schedule Your Check-Up
Spring is a time for cleaning, getting rid of all the junk that you’ve collected over the winter months and cleaning up all the dust that has accumulated on shelves and ceiling fans. Why shouldn’t you take that time to make sure your body is clean and healthy, too?
Once the weather warms up, take the time to schedule a check-up even if you’re not feeling under the weather. It won’t take much time, and you can discuss any health concerns you have or anything you’ve been worrying about all winter.
Spring is a great time to clean your house and start new hobbies, but it’s also a great time to jump start your health as well.