Thursday, 24 April 2014

How To Give Yourself a Spring Clean

The last of the chocolate Easter eggs have been devoured, the lazy bank holiday is behind us, and now it's time to crack on (no pun intended) with life, until the Summer arrives.

The sun is trying to break through the grey wash of clouds, the flowers are beginning to bloom and the trees are sprouting new leaves, and yet we still find ourselves nodding off at 2pm - oh, is that just me?

I'm waiting for results of a recent blood test and of course the waiting is always the worst bit.  What could be wrong?  Is it serious?

Every lump, bump and creak of the joints has me thinking the worst.  I am an incredibly upbeat person and I don't normally worry about such things so I began to tick off a health checklist in my head.  I realised there was nothing wrong with me (other than a possible lack of iron) and I needed a few early nights and more fruit and vegetables in my diet.

After taking a step back and assessing my wellbeing, I came up with a 'Spring Clean' plan for the Body, Mind and Soul...


Rehydrate - To function correctly the body needs water.  Dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish and less than your best.  I have made myself a water chart (a simple month-to-view calendar works)and add a tick every time I have a big glass.  I have found that I am trying to beat my own score each day - bonus!

Balanced Diet - We all know what works!  Plenty of vegetables, fruit, protein...but do we do it?  I've taken time to sort out a meal planner for the next two weeks.  I've listed my breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  This also helped me to quickly sort the shopping list, without buying food which may go to waste.  Suddenly I'm not stressing about what to cook for tea - it's sorted, I'm relaxed and enjoying my food.

Exercise - This is the tricky one for me.  I work from home and my children are old enough to walk themselves to school.  I can therefore go days without stepping outside the front door.  I needed to make sure I got fresh air as well as exercise, so decided to make my own 'at home' plan.  Days one, three and five I go for a 15 minute walk round the block.  Days two and four I have a go at the Wii Just Dance game, giggles and exercising work wonders!


Most of our attempts to start a healthy regime are thwarted by our own thoughts and fears.  I am a classic example of this, I start with all the willpower and dedication in the world and lose steam very quickly.  I needed to look at this in a different way, but how?  I realised that my regular visits to Pinterest were a perfect way to stay motivated.  I started my own 'Slimming Inspiration' board and add any pictures, recipes or quotes that keep me going.  If you don't have Pinterest then tape a favourite photo of a celebrity or a pair of jeans you want, to the fridge door for motivation.

Meditation is probably one of my favourite ways to bring yourself back to the present.  It only takes a few minutes but can have huge benefits.  Eating your meals slowly and mindfully can help to train your brain to feel full quicker.  This has the benefit of stopping you from overeating.  I wrote a Beginner's Guide to Meditation which has a few five minute exercises included. 


Nothing is better for the soul than laughter.  Believe it or not, a good giggle can reduce the risk of heart disease as well as releasing endorphins, which are the brain's feel good chemicals.  Match an evening of chick flick laughter with a girlie catch up and your soul will be forever grateful.

Family fun days are just as reviving.  I recently took my three children to Conkers, which is an outdoor attraction set in the Heart of the National Forest.  It was so much fun, even when my daughter fell face first in to a muddy puddle!

Another way to boost your soul is to use your sense of smell - Peppermint will improve your focus and help with concentration (great as a tea).  Or you could use a drop of Orange essential oil to help keep you feeling more positive, calm and less anxious (something I will be using until my blood test results arrive!)

With a fridge packed with leafy greens and lean protein, my walking boots primed and ready for action and a stack of funny films scheduled for this weekend, I am on track for my 'Spring Clean'.  By the time summer arrives I will be lighter, brighter and worry free.

Do you have a favourite motivational tip to keep your health regime on track?

Photographs courtesy of


  1. There is a poster outside a gym near my house that shows a picture of some bug-eyed alien monsters with the caption: 'They're coming - and when they do, they'll take the fat ones first!' Bit harsh, I thought! You're sensible advice is SO much better, thanks. :-)

    1. Haha thanks Julia, hilarious! I could do with a copy of that on my fridge door! :-)

  2. I've been on my newly devised hot water diet all year. Instead of tea or coffee, I have a cup of freshly boiled water. Feel much better and brighter all day and my teeth have become as white as a Californian's! When I do have a rare coffee now, I appreciate it more, too. Only trouble is, my kettle's on so much my electric bill has gone through the roof!

    1. Ooh Douglas that sounds great, not sure I could give up my tea though. My Grandma used to have boiled water and a lemon slice every morning and her skin was as soft as a peach! At least if they cut off your electricity you only need to smile to illuminate the room! :-)

    2. Funnily enough, I mentioned this to my dad and he said my grandfather always started the day with boiled water - although we're not sure if that was for health reasons or they just couldn't afford any tea!

    3. Haha oh dear, I shouldn't laugh :-)

  3. Yesterday I did 5 hours of fresh air and exercise (spring yard work) with too little of number one (rehydration) so today I’m adding a reminder to my Spring Clean plan for Body, Mind and Soul: Balance! :) Thanks for another great post, Shelley.

    1. Wow, well done Diane, you have inspired me to do a bit more than 15 minutes now! I challenged my three children to go without Chocolate for the month of May - you would have thought I had asked them to give up breathing! Think it's just the two of us on this plan then :-)