Spring Into Action
Updated: Mar 1
Tips for getting your body and spirit ready for spring
Spring cleaning, self-care, St. Patty's Day, Irish recipes
Spring is in the air! The warmer weather from the past few days has been a pleasant tease of what's to come. With spring around the corner, it's easy to start daydreaming about flowers blooming, sunshine, and being outdoors. This is the perfect time of the year to start getting out of that winter funk and ready for warmer days.
Below are a few tips to give your house and health a mini check-up
so you are ready to rock and roll.
Tip #1 - Get Yourself Pumped UP.
The winter blues are real. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can make you sluggish, fatigued, and moody. March can still be cold, gray, and not always pleasant to be outside. The Mayo Clinic recommends lifestyle changes such as making your environment sunnier by opening blinds, sitting near the window, and keeping shrubs trimmed by the windows. Bird watching can also be a nice way to start focusing on the beauty in nature and catch some sunlight. Click below to see a guide for bird watching in St. Louis. The Mayo Clinic also recommends increasing exercise. Indoor walking can be a great way to get moving and get in shape for spring. There are several locations in the greater St. Louis region where you can walk indoors:
Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in South County
West County Mall
South County Mall
The Salvation Army - St. Louis Gateway Citadel
Most Super Walmarts
Tip #2 - Schedule your yearly check up
In the past two years, regular health maintenance appointments like the dentist and eye doctor have taken a back seat in the rollercoaster of COVID 19. This is a great time to take care of those appointments that have been on your to-do list so you can spring into action without those pesky tasks hanging over you.
Eye doctor - Age-related eye problems may develop painlessly and without any signs or symptoms. Regular vision care can significantly improve your ability to keep or maintain your vision. Your vision plays a big role in your balance. Keeping your eyes healthy can reduce your fall risk and keep you active!
Dentist - Some dental conditions may be related to aging including dry mouth, root and coronal caries, and periodontitis. Consistent dental care can help prevent or treat these conditions.
Primary care - Have them review all of your medications. According to the CDC, half of older adults take one prescription medication while a quarter takes three or more. Older adults are more likely to experience an adverse drug event (when harm is caused by a medication or medication reaction).
"Adverse drug events cause approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits each year. About 350,000 patients each year need to be hospitalized for further treatment after emergency visits for adverse drug events." CDC.gov
Tip #3 - Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet
March 20th is the first day of spring and also...National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day! Keeping unused or expired medications around can pose a safety risk for you and your family. There are several drop-off locations in the greater St. Louis area where you can get rid of your used or expired medication safely. Click on the link below to find a drop-off location near you.
Tip #4 - Clean Out Your Refrigerator
Your pantry is one thing, most canned goods are shelf stable for extended periods of time after the "best by" date. But your refrigerator is another story. It is one of the highest traffic areas in the house with the door being opened and closed several times a day. It is easy for food to get lost or forgotten. The USDA recommends cleaning your refrigerator every 6 months and suggest using a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water to clean the shelves and drawers. It is a good practice to go through condiments and other contents of the fridge every 6 months to a year and remove expired or unused food. This also helps reduce food waste by reminding you of what needs to be used up sooner rather than later.
Tip #5 - Self Assess
Many people reduce activity in the winter. Now that the weather is changing, and you are getting ready to get back into your routine it is important to perform an honest self-assessment. Have you lost strength or is your balance as good as it was? This may be a good time to join an exercise group or seek out a Physical Therapy assessment.
See the attached screening form to see if you may be at risk for falls. Occupational and Physical Therapy can help reduce your risk of falls through home safety recommendations and exercises to improve balance and strength. Check out the fall screen below. If you feel concerned about your balance or strength reach out to an OT or PT in your area.
Focus on Fun
Who can forget that St. Patrick's Day is in March? There are so many fun reasons to celebrate St. Patty's Day (food, beer, parades, shamrock shakes, and all the green). St. Louis has a long history of celebrating St. Patrick's Day starting back in 1820 when a small group of Irish settlers gathered to celebrate St. Patrick. The tradition grew from there. The Dogtown parade and Irish festival will be held in person this year on March 17th.
Click below to try out these heart healthy Cabbage recipes:
For a special treat try this not so healthy one bowl Irish stout cake:
I hope you all have a happy March and enjoy all the festivities and the longer, brighter days.
I leave you with this Irish prayer:
May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more and nothing, but happiness come through your door. - Brett Wilson
Jenny Williams, OT