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Let’s face it – this past year has been stressful, to say the least. While we are all hopeful that 2021 will continue to improve, the high-stress levels we’ve experienced have been challenging. But with spring, comes a fresh start, a new opportunity, and a beauty that blooms. If you are ready to make some changes to your life in order to alleviate stress and pursue health and wellness, these simple tips can help.

1.) Exercise each day.

Believe it or not, getting up and moving helps get your dopamine levels pumping, increasing your happiness while decreasing stress. If creating a long-exercise plan is a challenge, consider engaging in short spurts of activity a day, such as power walking with your dog, taking the stairs, or walking to the store instead of driving. If longer routines are in fact your thing, consider renting a self-storage unit to keep exercise equipment or sporting goods so that you can have your own private gym or access to your larger items, without taking up space within your home.

2.) Find the time for a hobby you enjoy!

Americans are always looking for additional ways to make money through various hobbies and crafts, but instead, what if you simply took on a hobby to relax? Learn a new task or take on an activity you enjoy, providing you with a chance to unwind doing something you love. If space is an issue, you can always keep items safely nearby in storage, providing you a chance to “get away” after a long day.

3.) Declutter your home.

Clutter is a leading cause of stress. Make your home a place to rest and relax by cleaning up and clearing out, tackling one area of your home each day to re-organize, donate, and purge items. If space is an issue, you can always store larger items, such as seasonal decor, clothing, and sports equipment off-site at a local self-storage unit.

4.) Plan your meals in advance.

By deciding to take on a meal plan, you will stop yourself from binge eating by preparing and having on hand what it is you want to eat each week. Remember, what you eat affects how you feel. According to the Harvard article, Gut feelings: How food affects your mood, “…eating a healthy, balanced diet…and avoiding inflammation-producing foods may be protective against depression.”

5.) Spend time outdoors.

Time Magazine says that “Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure, and heart rate while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health. Some research even suggests that green space is associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders — all findings that doctors are increasingly taking seriously and relaying to their patients.” They go on to say that published research in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research shows that, “…just 20 minutes in a park — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve well-being, according to the research.”

6.) Tend to your mental health.

Everyone has ups and downs, but if you feel as if they are overwhelming and taking over your ability to function well, take the time to speak with a licensed mental health care professional. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now countless ways to speak to someone from the comfort of your own home, and is well worth the investment. By finding ways to exercise, eat healthily, declutter, be outdoors, and tend to your emotional needs, this spring is bound to be your best one yet.

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” Harriet Ann Jacobs