Some healthy habits for Spring (and any time of year)

The month of March brings with it the start of Spring – a time of growth, warmer weather, and fresh starts. While you might start tending to your garden and cleaning out your home, it is also a good time to check in with your mental health .

The grey days of Winter can take a toll on our mental health, and we might find that we have given up on helpful habits we started earlier in the year. Why not harness the power of sunnier days to start (or restart) some helpful habits? 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  1. Get outside  

Time in nature can lower stress and increase joy and calmness, among many other benefits. Set a goal to spend some time in nature every day, no matter how little. Try drinking your morning coffee or tea outside or parking your car farther away from your work entrance to extend your time outside. Take note of your surroundings when you’re out. 

  1. Be mindful 

Mindfulness is the practice of non-judgmentally focusing attention on the present moment. Next time you’re outside notice the warmth of the sun on your skin or the birdsong around you. You can also use meditation (try the free Healthy Minds app) to practice mindfulness. 

  1. Connect with others 

Social connection has a profound impact on our overall well-being. Text or phone a friend when they come to mind rather than putting it off for later. Work social time into your errands – meet with a family member or friend on your way home from grocery shopping. Check the City of Barrie recreation programs for places to meet like-minded people.    

  1. Challenge negative self-talk 

Negative thoughts can lower your mood and lead to a pattern of negative thinking. It is important to question negative thoughts and not automatically accept them as fact. Next time you notice a change in your mood that is for the worse, remember the three C’s: catch, check, change. Catch, or notice, the thought that came before the emotion then check how accurate or helpful the thought is and, finally, change the thought to something more accurate or helpful.