Article by The Green Pages' Holistic Skin Care Expert Sami Blackford, founder of Freyaluna.
April is here, it's officially spring, the clocks have gone forward and hour... That's right, it's time for a good spring clean.
I'm sure you've heard about spring-cleaning your house, but what about your skin and your health, even your whole lifestyle? Well, just as you would clean, tidy, clear-out, de-clutter, and even redecorate, your house, now is the perfect time to "brush away those cobwebs" with regard to your skin and your body.
That's right, spring cleaning isn't just about organizing your home from top-to-bottom, it's also a great time to take stock of your health from head-to-toe, ditch any bad habits and make positive changes to improve your wellbeing.
Here are a few steps to get you started...
Revamp your diet
Ok, we're all guilty of it - during the winter months when it's cold and dark outside (and there's a couple of foot of snow on the ground like there is here at the moment) all you want to do is indulge in those hearty comfort meals.
While it is possible to make these meals healthy, it doesn't often happen, does it? Am I right? Especially when you're trying to "eat local" and not many fruit vegetables grow at this time of year (not in the UK, anyway).
But when spring hits, the variety of produce expands and there are so many totally yummy foods on offer. And what's more, if you're anything like me, you start to crave those healthier foods.
Take advantage of the variety of fresh fruits and veggies available during the spring months. Choose produce and other wholesome foods — whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat dairy products — over processed foods that tend to be high in fat, sodium and sugar.
Start a new exercise regime
With the warmer weather and longer days, springtime is the perfect time to get active.
Your ultimate aim might be something like five 30-minute workout sessions each week. But if you're not used to doing much exercise then start off slowly.
You might try a yoga class, taking a walk in the fresh air, go for a bike ride at the weekend, or running around with your children.
Remember, exercise doesn't have to happen in a gym - the possibilities are endless. The most important thing is for you to find something you enjoy.
Throw a smoothie into the mix
I'm going to let you in on the secret. Ssshhh! This is just between you and me. Here it is...
Smoothies are an easy (and super yummy!) way to get some of your five-a-day because they're packed full of fruit and veg.
Smoothies are also a great way to boost energy levels because they're easy on your digestive system - your body finds it way more easy to digest liquid foods than it does solid foods. This means that energy which would have been used for digestion is available for other activities.
Try kicking-off your day with a delicious, fresh smoothie for breakfast and be amazed at the difference it makes.
You can find a few recipes here - Feed Your Skin - but you could just let your imagination run wild. But just one little note for you... try not to use dairy milk, try almond or coconut milk instead.
Drink plenty of H2O
Staying well-hydrated will keep you energized and help ward off fatigue. Water helps the body to flush-out all of the nasties you really don't want hanging around in your systems.
Replace soda, sports drinks and other sweet beverages with good old-fashioned H2O.
If water is too bland for your taste, add slices of fresh lime, lemon, strawberries or cucumber to add flavour.
Try dry skin-brushing
Add this pre-shower exercise to your daily ritual and see your skin glow.
Skin-brushing sloughs off dead, dry skin, boosts digestion, circulation, lymphatic drainage and kidney function and ultimately helps the body release toxins.
Who wouldn't want all of that?!
With a natural-bristle brush, simply make long circular sweeping motions all over your bare body. Start at your feet and work your way toward your heart. You’ll be glowing from the inside out and outside in!
Chuck-out the nasties
There are some really horrible ingredients to be found in a lot on mass-produced commercial skincare products. There is research which shows that some of these ingredients can cause health problems as severe as cancer, and they certainly cause and exacerbate skin problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis and sensitivity.
As part of your spring clean, I urge you to rid yourself of these potentially harmful products and opt instead for gorgeous natural products which will gently heal, support and care for your skin.
Give yourself a time-out
We all need rest and relaxation in order to be our healthiest and most vibrant self.
Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Getting too little — or too much — sleep is linked with memory problems, accidents and an increased risk for dangerous illnesses, like heart disease.
It helps to have a routine, so try to hit the sheets and wake up at set times each day, even on the weekends.
But it's not just about getting the right amount of sleep. To avoid burn-out, try to keep a healthy work-life balance and do activities you enjoy once in a while.
Go ahead and get a massage, go shopping for a new pair of shoes, lunch with friends, watch a movie, or simply allow yourself time to read that book you've been promising yourself for months.
The break from the grind will leave you refreshed and ready to tackle your responsibilities.
People who have bright outlooks on life generally have fewer health problems and live longer than pessimists, so try to see the glass as half-full.
Make a list of things that make you happy and review it each day, or each evening list five nice things which have happened that day, or make an effort to recognize what you have to be grateful for.
The sad truth is that there's always someone, somewhere in the world, who's got it worse than you.
There you have it - 8 easy steps to your holistic spring clean.
Now I want to hear from you! What do you do at this time of year to refresh your skin, mind, body and spirit? Leave your best tip in the comments, below.
For more advice from Sami please visit her website: www.freyaluna.co.uk