Spring is the time for renewal, and there’s no better time to hit the refresh button on your health.
This past winter season has been especially brutal to our health, between the life-threatening cold and flu season to being holed up in our homes due to inclement weather… which is why we all really need to hit the refresh button on our health to shake off the potential damaging effects of inactivity, lack of sunshine and suppressed immune systems.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the winter season can make you SAD, a distinct type of depression that often comes with extreme sleepiness, increased appetite, a heavy-laden sensation in the limbs, loss of interest, sense of hopelessness and social withdrawal. Winter can also dry out your eyes, trigger migraines, crack and burn your skin, and create poor eating and exercise habits -- simply from being stuck inside for extended periods of time.
Often, we hear about spring cleaning as it relates to our homes. But, the most valuable spring cleaning is the type you do for yourself, so “cleaning house” from the inside out can pay huge health dividends when it comes to your overall happiness and well-being.3 Inexpensive Ways to Hit the Refresh Button1) Let Vitamin “D” Light In
Certain groups of people are more prone to vitamin D deficiency, including adults 55 years and older, office workers, people with darker skin tones, vegans and vegetarians, people with a body mass index greater than 30, chronic headache sufferers, those on certain prescription medications, and patients diagnosed with arthritis, fibromyalgia, IBD or depression.
The Centers for Disease Control labels vitamin D deficiency as the third most common nutrient deficiency in America and as a “nutrient of concern.” Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D including: 70 percent of whites, 80 percent of Latinos and Asians and 97 percent of African Americans.
How can you determine if you are deficient in Vitamin D? Taking a blood test is the best way to find out if you’re deficient in vitamin D. Ask your doctor for a vitamin D test, or test your own levels at home with a home test kit (www.nutrientpower.org
If you are trying to use the sun as your source of vitamin D, remember you have to be in direct sunlight for about 20 minutes a day, wearing only 50 percent of clothing and without any sunscreen (and without burning). However, if your levels are not between 40-60 ng/ml, I recommend vitamin D supplementation. Since I’m on a personal mission to make more Americans aware of their vitamin D levels and to use supplementation as a tool to correct this nutrient deficiency, I’m offering a free, two-month supply of vitamin D to challenge Americans started on the path to good health at www.FreeRedcrossD.com
.2) “D”-clutter the Medicine Cabinet
Take inventory of your medicine cabinet and clear out the outdated drugs to reduce harm from accidental exposure or misuse. The expiration date is your best guidance for the potency of a medicine, but if you are unsure, discard it if it smells bad or looks off-color.
Make sure you use responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. For example, you can take your old or unused medicines to a DEA-authorized (drug enforcement administration) collection site, which may include your local retail or clinic pharmacy, hospital, and law enforcement locations. Some collection sites may also offer mail-back programs or collection receptacles, or “drop-boxes,” to assist in safely disposing of their unused medicines. 3) Learn to “D”-stress Instantly
If you’re feeling stressed, learn to clear your headspace instantly through meditation. Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple, inexpensive, doesn't require any special equipment, and can be done wherever you are — whether you're at home, waiting at the doctor's office, or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine that can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. To start, breathe in for a count of five, hold the breath for a moment, and then slowly release. Continue to focus your attention for three to five minutes and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This practice may also result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.