Welcome to Ancient Wisdom Now, our new blog series designed for your busy life. Every month, health coach and yoga teacher Stepfanie Romine shares timely and seasonal tips and tricks designed to put a healthier, happier life within your reach.
I’ll be honest: I’m not one who spring cleans in the traditional sense. Who has time to deep-clean windows or scrub every nook and cranny? Short sessions of tidying up work better for my life and my motivation. But, the start of spring, with fresh buds in bloom and green as far as the eye can see, does inspire me to press reset on my life in other ways.
Anything seems possible in spring, especially this year when we’re all starting to feel like normal (or whatever the new iteration of normal will be) is within reach. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a time for growth and renewal. This is the season to get outside, stretch your wings so to speak and warm your body in the sunshine. As we shed our heavy coats, we shrug off the stagnant energy of winter, the season for rest.
Chances are, your palate already knows which foods align with springtime energy – and they happen to be the same ones you’ll see at your neighborhood farmers markets. After the heavy, warming stews and soups of winter, we welcome simple sautés and stir-fries with spring greens and asparagus. Tuning in to the seasons and resetting your life doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.
Here are a few instant (or almost instant) action items inspired by centuries of herbal traditions.
Physical wellness: Pick one thing that matters.
The bulk of my health coach training was in behavioral science, to learn how to set goals that really stick. One of the major reasons that change is so hard? We try to do too much, too fast. Life is busy – especially now. Sure, there will always be those among us who can prepare organic home-cooked meals, exercise daily and floss their teeth without effort. But for the rest of us (yes, even the “pros” struggle)? We have to prioritize.
Focus on the one healthy habit that matters most to you – or the one you know you can do without much effort. Then do it. That could be prioritizing nutrition, by prepping salad vegetables, a double batch of your favorite healthy dinner or signing up for a meal-prep service. (Take the help where you can to save time and energy!) Or maybe you pick fitness and set your alarm early for quick HIIT workouts before the rest of your family rises. Or it could be sleep that’s atop your list, so you put yourself to bed even when there’s laundry to fold or emails to answer.
No matter which one you choose, Good Morning Sunshine™ coffee + adaptogens should be part of your A.M. routine. Each organic, fair-tradeTM certified coffee pod is infused with organic red ginseng extract, to help you naturally power through your day and better handle all that life throws your way.* It’s a win-win: You get the adaptogenic benefits of this potent herb, and it’s ready at the touch of a button.*
Emotional wellness: Set up “tomorrow you” for a fresh start.
I started working from home long before the pandemic hit, so by the time we all started WFH, I was a seasoned pro at balancing life and work when it all happens in one space. Early on, I struggled to “leave” work. I was living in a very small home with an open floor plan, so I could see my “office” from the couch, my bed and the kitchen. It made checking email far too easy. Plus, without a commute to give my brain time to shift from office to home mode, I struggled to stop thinking about work. When I clocked in the next morning, it felt like I had never left. Sometimes I even dreamed of work! I knew I had to set some boundaries for my productivity and my emotional health.
I started an end-of-day checklist designed to set up “tomorrow me” for success. It’s self-care that clears the physical and mental clutter of today and gives me a clean slate for tomorrow.
This takes five minutes max, depending on how bananas my day was.
- I tidy up my work space. Coffee mugs and snack plates go to the kitchen. Papers get filed. My desk is clear so I can dive right in instead of dealing with yesterday’s mess.
- I look at tomorrow’s calendar, then I rank the items on my to-do list in terms of importance. I take note of whether it’s a day that’s heavy on the Zooms or one that’ll allow for more time to brainstorm and write. I roughly block out my day (mornings for emails, then writing; afternoons for invoicing and research).
- I “close down” my office. Currently I have a home office, so I turn off my laptop and close the door. When I worked from a shared space in our living area, I closed my laptop, then put it and all my office necessities (notebook, planner, mouse, etc.) in a bin that went on a bookshelf until morning. This was especially helpful for curbing weekend work when it wasn’t imperative.
Social wellness: Start planning an IRL get-together or trip.
Party planning and travel certainly aren’t stress-free endeavors (or “instant” wellness, for that matter), but having something to look forward to can do wonders for your mindset.
Science backs this tactic. In 2015, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that having something to look forward to had a major impact on mood. After a period of stress, having a positive event planned for the future boosted mood and reduced stress and negative emotions. Even more, a future positive event did more to boost mood and emotions than reflecting on past positive events did, according to the research. That’s why daydreaming about your next vacation feels better than looking at pics from your last one.
Next time this post-2020 life feels like it’s too much, start mentally planning that girls weekend, couples retreat or even tapas night with the neighbors (remember when all shared food?!). Your mood will thank you!
Spiritual wellness: Unfollow to find your focus.
Social media is wonderful for helping us stay connected, but all that scrolling can be noisy, too. We sometimes see what the influencers are focused on and we forget our own “true North” – letting the pressure of their perfectly curated lives influence how we feel about our own.
This spring, clean up your feed and unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself and your life choices. For people you actually know, feel free to “mute” instead of unfollow. They’ll never know! (Yes, that includes anyone who’s judging side parts and skinny jeans… those of us who survived the low-rise trend of the early aughts will never go back.)
Replace those accounts with people who inspire you – or mindless fun like cats with their tongues out or dogs that look like their owners. Only you can decide whether your relationship with social media is a healthy one, but if you are going to scroll, make sure what you’re consuming is refilling your cup – not draining your energy.
Speaking of energy, one of the best ways to keep yours steady is by prioritizing adequate, healthy sleep. Before you hit the hay, reach for a Hello Dreams™ sleep strip infused with Melatonin & Calm DownTM herbal blend, a proprietary blend of herbs. As the strip melts on your tongue, let your mind quiet and ease into sleep.*
Stepfanie Romine is an author, health coach and yoga teacher. Trained as a journalist, she turned her passion for healthy living into a career change over a decade ago. Her work includes The No Meat Athlete Cookbook (The Experiment, 2017) and Cooking with Healing Mushrooms (Ulysses Press, 2018). She is a freelance writer, specializing in plant-based nutrition and natural health and wellness, and she also teaches yoga and offers health coaching sessions virtually. She currently lives in Berlin with her husband and four cats, by way of Asheville, NC, and Ohio.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.