In the third of a three part series to mark the arrival of spring, we've partnered with Dobbies Garden Centre to find out exactly why the arrival of the new season officially makes us happier
The garden centre has spoken to a host of experts to reveal why spring is the perfect time to get a happier mind, body, home and garden.
In part three, we talk to Jillian Lavender, co-founder and director of the London Meditation Centre, who explains how you can balance and optimise your energy levels by unplugging and becoming in tune with nature, and Sally Wisbey, Nutritionist Therapist, how fills us in on how you can eat your way to health and happiness
Jillian Lavender, co-founder and director of the London Meditation Centre
The arrival of spring will have a big part in allowing us to clear out any toxins that have built up over the winter months. The cold, wet weather that we've had over the last few months can have a significant impact on our energy and general equilibrium.
However, now that the temperatures are starting to warm up, the excess toxins we have in our bodies are able to dissolve more easily, with this release leading to increased fluid retention, allergies, flu, hay-fever and also the potential to feel a bit down as the seasons change.
When we start aligning ourselves wit nature, you'll feel more aligned with nature, as we feel more balanced and happier. Here are the tips to try to leave you feeling more balanced and to maximise your energy levels...
1. Avoid over-eating
You want to make sure you don't overload your digestive system. In the ideal world, you'd have your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime, as this is the time of day when your digestive powers are at their strongest. In the evenings, you should also avoid any heavy, hard to digest foods in the evening, including cakes, sweets, meat, cheese and yoghurt.
2. Digestive aids
Include more digestive stimulants into your diet. This includes ginger, pepper and garlic.
3. Avoid any tendency to sleep in
While it can feel natural to want to sleep more when it's feeling more heavy and sluggish, fight it!
4. Work with the seasons
As the mornings become lighter, start to get up earlier. In short, you want to be more aligned with the day's natural cycle, so it's worth getting up earlier and going to sleep earlier. Thanks to the technologically dominated day and age we live in, we normally end up on our screens too late, which can throw our system off, and subsequently make it harder to go to bed at a reasonable time. Sleeping in will give you a sluggish, heavy feeling which lasts all day.
5. Spring clean the body
March, April and May will be the best time to spring clean your body to clear out any toxins that could have built up over the cold spell. If you'd like to try a simple cleansing method, eat lightly one day a week - for instance, just have soups and fruit. The top Ayurvedic tip is to try sipping hot water throughout the day, and to avoid any cold drinks and food. This will help to clear your body's channels, and leave you feeling more energetic and clearer minded.
Sally Wisbey, Nutritionist Therapist
Spring is a great time to lift your mood with food. Giving seasonal foods a go will allow you to get the maximum nutrition from your diet - keep your eyes peeled when you're at your supermarket for local produce or try a farmer's market or garden centre. Another thing to consider will be going for a walk in the sunshine, as it's a great mood boost and also provides a great way to top up your vitamin D levels, which plays a big part in mood and brain health. Give the following foods a go...
1. Oily fish, including wild salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines, burst with EPA and DHA omega 3 fats, an essential part of brain health. Studies have found low doses of omega 3 fats link to depression, so be sure to include oily fish in your diet a minimum of 2-3 times a week.
2. Eggs are a great source of protein, as they help to stabilise blood sugar levels. Having low blood sugar levels are linked to mood swings and poor concentration, so it's worth making these a breakfast staple.
3. Almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts are all full of vitamin E, which we rely on to promote brain health and boosts our mood. Why not add some chopped up to a bowl of porridge or cereal?
4. Bananas are high in tryptophan - this amino acid is converted into serotonin, and is often known as a feel-good neurotransmitter. Either add them to smoothie or try making banana pancakes by mixing one with an egg and frying them in coconut oil.