Spring Cleaning

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Melaina Files

3/18/19

With Spring just around the corner, many individuals find themselves creating a long list of chores to complete, with the title “Spring Cleaning” at the top of the page.  However, spring cleaning should not just regard the home in which one inhabits, but also their well being. Afterall, the well being of a person is just as much a home for them as is a building.  It is important to take care of the body just as one would a home. Here are some of my tips on how to refresh your mind, soul, and body this spring!
Go Outside
Something as simple as sitting outside for five minutes, is proven to reduce cortisol levels (a stress related hormone).  I enjoy going for a walk with my dogs, and bike rides! Don’t forget to enjoy the world around you while you still have the chance.  Nature has some miraculous qualities. If nothing else, the sun’s vitamin D is always a nice mental refresher.
Exercise
This is a major component to one’s mental and physical health.  Exercising may seem unbearable at times, but the outcome is so rewarding.  Exercising causes endorphins in the brain to be released, these chemicals act as natural painkillers.  Endorphins are known to improve one’s ability to sleep too! I enjoy running, swimming, biking, and hiking.  Exercising may be easier if you are accompanied by some friends as well. I would also recommend goat yoga, it sounds weird, but it does the trick.  So, grab some friends and try out some goat yoga!
Music
Music is my number one stress reliever.  Music therapy is such an interesting concept, it truly shows how the numerous forms of sound do affect our mood.  Different forms of music allow for different mental outcomes. For instance, if you are looking to relax or focus on a task, you may want to listen to classical music.  However, if you are looking for some happy, soul music you may want to listen to artists like Stevie Wonder, or Bob Marley. I highly recommend 102.5 KEZK & 106.5 the Arch on standard radio, or the station happy music on Pandora.  I am a Spotify person, so I like to shuffle through all of my favorite artists on spotify, and learn about the songs while listening with their “behind the lyrics”.
Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness can allow you to be less stressed, more content, and live life calmly.  Mindfulness is a hard task for many people, but just as any other habit, after it is repeated, anyone can become mindful.  For starters, try being more mindful of your daily routine. Activities you normally do without thinking about, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.  Start to be mindful of these tasks while you are doing them, rather than worrying about everything else you need to complete that day.
Another wonderful way to practice mindfulness is through meditation.  Most people may think this is simply a waste of time, or that they do not have enough time in their schedule to meditate.  However, I can assure you once you learn to build your schedule around these activities, you will become more productive and happier!  I like to listen to Jason Stephenson’s guided meditations on youtube. The app, headspace, is also a great way to release negative energy through guided meditation!  
Food
Certain foods have also been proven to reduce the amount of stress an individual has, and the overall health of an individual.  When I am having a long stressful day, I like to eat some dark chocolate, and drink chamomile tea. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonals, that improve the blood flow to the brain.  Ultimately dark chocolate promote the brain’s ability to handle stressful situations. Chamomile is an herb associated with reduced anxiety and stress. Other foods that are proven to help with stress include: turkey, bananas, oats, blueberries, chia seeds, citrus fruits, bell peppers, and almonds!
Take care of yourself every day!  These are all helpful tasks to keep in mind throughout the course of your lifetime, not just during the spring season.  However, spring can be a stressful season for some individuals as students begin to reach the end of the school year. So, during these stressful tests and projects, it is important to find a self-care routine that works for you!  Everybody is different, find your soul food, and don’t limit yourself.