Simple Ways to Spring into Wellness

Get Outdoors and into Health

By Carol Phillips

Welcome to spring! Some people call it “mud season,” but I prefer to focus on the warmer days ahead and watching the daffodils pop up out of the thawing ground… as I watch my sneakers sink in the mud. As we spend more time outdoors, here are some ideas to incorporate wellness into every activity:

Slather on the sunscreen.

It’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen when the temperatures are not as high as in mid-summer, but we can still get burnt and create a higher risk of skin cancer in any season. Has your sunscreen expired? The Food and Drug Administration requires sunscreens to be effective for at least three years. Not all sunscreens list an expiration date on the container. In that case, I write the year I purchased the sunscreen in permanent marker on the container. Be sure to apply an effective amount, re-apply according to instructions on the label, and apply to all exposed areas of skin. Use sunscreen all year long on exposed skin, not just in the summer.

Take a water bottle with you.

Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s easy to overlook when we are excited to get outside for longer periods of time. A great healthy habit is to purchase a water bottle that you like to use (not too big or too small, easy to clean, easy to open, etc.) and keep it next to your purse, wallet, or keys to remember to take it with you.

Keep a small lunchbox or cooler in your vehicle.

This simple addition to your wellness routine will make it easier to pack a healthy lunch and snacks. This will also help you avoid purchasing unhealthy fast food on the days you’re out longer than expected. So, treat yourself to a new lunchbox you love because cool lunchboxes aren’t just for kids anymore!

Make the most out of yardwork.

Yardwork is a great way to improve wellness, as long as we remember to include a few precautions. Wear a hat and sunscreen, stay hydrated, apply bug spray to clothes instead of directly on the skin, and stretch afterward to reduce the dreaded next-day muscle soreness, especially if you don’t pace yourself. But remember…muscle soreness is also a natural side effect of challenging the muscles, which helps them to become stronger!

Spend time with your friends and family.

After the cold weather is gone, it’s sometimes easier to catch up with family and friends. You can walk, exercise, and visit with these special people outside. Try some new activities (tai chi or yoga in the park, kayaking, biking) or fall back on past activities you love to do with your loved ones. It’s also a good time to look for outside events, including spring arts festivals, parades, and food festivals. Being in touch with others is an important component of wellness and who doesn’t love some fun social time after the long winter?

Choose activities you are eager to do.

We all need to take time to enjoy life, without all the demands we place on ourselves. Think about what you would love to do and then do it! If you feel guilty every time you take some well-deserved “me” time, remind yourself that all work and no play is not good for your mental health. And we need to be aware of our mental and our physical health. As a result, you will learn to be kind to YOU and LIVE a little… or a lot!

What other simple actions can you incorporate into your spring activities to stay on a healthy path? Keeping it simple and doable will make it easy to live a healthy lifestyle every day!

Need some great health coaching to get started? CLICK HERE to contact Coach Carol!

Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. Her company, Health Design, helps businesses significantly reduce costs and increase productivity by prioritizing health, wellness, and safety practices. Health Design is a SHRM Recertification Provider. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at HealthDesignNH.com.

Using Resiliency to Improve Your Health

By Carol Phillips

Do you consider yourself resilient? When facing difficult times, are you confident you will be able to cope and conquer each challenge as it comes? Using resiliency as one of our wellness “tools” can not only help us deal with trying times, but aids us in returning to a sense of normalcy and helps us maintain better health.

How can you sharpen this tool within yourself?

First, spend some time noticing how you handle stressful situations. Notice your immediate thoughts and actions when faced with unexpected challenges. Do you feel overwhelmed and hopeless? Or is your tendency to remind yourself that everything will be fine and then take action to solve each problem as it arises? If you fall into the latter category, you are using the power of resiliency to navigate through any trials.

If you find yourself struggling, here are some ways to begin to build a greater level of resiliency:

Prioritize your daily healthy habits. Focus on simple ways to take better care of yourself, such as drinking an extra glass of water each day, playing with your children to get some exercise and build better relationships with them, or leaving one unhealthy food out of your shopping cart. Each area of life you improve contributes to a better can-do attitude.

Identify emotions that trigger a sense of overwhelm. When highly stressed, what is your greatest emotion? Is it fear, anger, confusion, hopelessness? Discovering your most problematic emotion can help you take control and better the situation. For example, if you identify fear as the strongest emotion, you can ask yourself, “What am I so afraid of? Is my fear justified? How can I begin to put this situation into perspective?” Answering those questions can help you take control of the situation.

Think of similar past situations you found to be difficult. How did you handle them and did you handle them positively? What are some of the coping mechanisms you used that were helpful and can be repeated and improved upon? What struggles can you avoid next time? Use your vast experience to make life easier.

Create a joyful, fun life. Do you work too hard and spend too much time worrying about all the negativity in the world? These habits only add to your stress and leave you less able to bounce back from adversity. Instead, set out on a mission to discover what brings you joy and weave it into your everyday life as much as possible. Take time to relax and be grateful for the fun times, the good people, and the many riches in your life. 

Avoid being stuck in indecision. Certain situations that cause us the most stress are not the situations themselves, but the fact that we struggle to make a decision on how we want to handle the situation. Here’s a tip: Pretend someone took the decision away from you. What would you want them to decide? What would you not want them to choose? Imagining someone else making difficult decisions for us can give us a glimpse into what we really want. Then, we can take action to move past the stressful trap of indecision.

Create a new habit of seeking a few moments of quiet time when faced with hardships. Make a conscious decision to better handle the inevitable storms of life as you learn and grow. These small but important changes in your thinking will improve your resiliency and you will find yourself reacting to a new challenge with “I’ve got this!”

Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. Her company, Health Design, helps businesses significantly reduce costs and increase productivity by prioritizing health, wellness, and safety practices. Health Design is a SHRM Recertification Provider. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at HealthDesignNH.com.