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Five healthy decisions to make as we start spring

We talk about spring cleans, but how can we use this positive time of the year to affect healthy changes for our long term wellbeing?

We talk about spring cleans, and we all know that January is the time when we all set great intentions for the year ahead. However, it’s actually as the clocks spring forward and the days get longer that most of us are newly inspired to make healthy changes in our lives.

Knowing that health isn’t about one big decision but generally lots of little ones, how can we use this imminent arrival of longer days when the clocks change later this month to make healthy changes for our long term wellbeing? Here are a few ways we like to feel our best.

1.Easy ways to add exercise to our day

It can be really hard to fit exercise into the working week. Many of us have long commutes to contend with as well as other commitment. That means getting out the door and onto the train/car/bike/bus at some horrid hour of the day. However, now that it’s lighter, it can also be easier to get up a bit earlier in the morning or feel less inclined to slink off home straight after work. Use those extra hours of rejuvenating light to inspire you to do something a little different two or three mornings or evenings a week.

You could try:

  • Walking/jogging part of the journey between home and work.
  • Doing a short workout at home - how about streaming a yoga class to your laptop?
  • Trying an exercise class in a sport or technique you’ve never done before. How about indoor climbing, boxing or qi gong?

2.Get some head space with meditation

Head space is a rare commodity in our buzzing modern world. Lots of people talk about meditation and the most difficult thing about it is making the time. Lots of very successful people swear by meditation, and there’s no better time of the day than early in the morning before the world is awake to put it into action. Just 10 to 20 minutes to ease yourself into the day quietly and calmly, rather than starting the day by having to snap into action, can really set you up with a positive mindset. Why not try a guided meditation to help you get started? There are lots of apps - HeadSpace comes well recommended.

Tips for starting meditation include:

  • Start small - you don’t have to do it for long.
  • Set a timer with a gentle alarm.
  • Find somewhere comfortable to sit (it’s better not to lie down as you might fall asleep).
  • Try not to think and bring your mind back when it wanders.
  • Focus on your breath.
Discover different types of meditation

3.Take walking meetings

This one might not be the easiest to convince your boss of, but if you can, what a way to make a change! Rather than sitting at your desk to chat through bits and pieces, head out into the fresh air and take a stroll. Equally, a little walk at lunchtime does a lot of good. It will give you lots more energy for the rest of the day as well. Obviously the British weather cannot always be relied upon, but unless it’s really pouring with rain you can still wrap up and reap the benefits. Even better if the sun is shining and you can throw a spot of vitamin D into the equation.

Read about the health benefits of walking

4.Start a sleep routine

Not being able to sleep, or poor sleep, is one of the most common problems, and the issue is that it’s cumulative. It eventually creates sleep deficit, which can lead to long term health problems. Now that there are other, more interesting things to do in the evening than scroll through social media, it’s the perfect time to think seriously about having a digital cut off point in the day. Turn off the phone. Maybe sit in the garden/park and chat to your partner at the end of the day, or read a good book as the sun goes down, herbal tea in hand.

Things to do other than stare at your phone:

  • Read a book
  • Have a conversation
  • Go for (another) walk
  • Do a short workout
  • Try a new hobby, like embroidery, or paper craft
  • Just be
Find out how to get a better night's sleep

5.Take up gardening and get your hands into the soil

You will notice that there’s a bit of an outdoor theme to our list of suggestions. The thing is that we all spend a lot of time indoors and inside our own heads. Getting back into our bodies is and out of our heads is something that spa treatments are really good for. But other activities can be really helpful too.

Heading out into the fresh air reaps all sorts of benefits, but it also helps to get us away from our digital worlds. Taking up gardening is great for mind, body and soul - the fresh air, the movement, getting your hands into the soil has powerful seratonin-boosting benefits, and it can all also be a massive inspiration for healthy eating as well. There’s something deeply restorative about planting, nurturing and growing plants. Of course you can also grow your own fruit and veg, even if we’re just talking about a couple of well tended pots on a window ledge. Allotments are seeing a real resurgence in popularity - a good use of time, a good way to burn energy, meditative and a good source of seasonal healthy food as well!

Find out how to maximise the health benefits of spring
Discover the spa restaurants serving home grown veg

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