Winter is behind us and spring is in full swing. Just as the trees are budding and flowers are blooming, you can also embrace the spirit of growth and regeneration that spring inspires. That makes this a fantastic time to set health and wellness goals. 

Mind Your Sun Exposure

Spring also means more time outside enjoying all that sunshine and fresh air. Although sunlight is great for boosting mood and energy levels, it comes with serious safety issues as far as skin care is concerned. Sun exposure can cause serious cellular damage that can lead to skin cancer down the road, even if you don’t get a sunburn or a tan. 

If you’ve been lax about sunscreen usage in the past, make this the year you commit to protecting your skin outdoors. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more on any exposed areas of skin. Make sure to pay attention to which form of sunscreen you use. Mineral and chemical sunscreens are both effective. However, chemical sunscreen doesn’t kick in until 30 minutes after application, so put it on before you’re ready to head outside.

Focus on Oral Health 

When it comes to health and wellness, we tend to focus on things like diet and exercise as the beginning and end of taking care of ourselves. Although those are certainly important, they hardly encompass the full picture of health. Oral health is one part of the wellness equation that is too often overlooked. For example, according to the American Dental Association, nearly half of U.S. adults don’t visit the dentist for cleanings every six months as recommended. 

This spring, commit to oral health improvement. In addition to regular cleanings and daily brushing and flossing, you may want to consider an alignment treatment. Even mild overcrowding can lead to poor oral health since too-close or overlapping teeth can be far more difficult to clean and floss. Talk to your dentist about the severity of your misalignment in order to determine a treatment option.

Reduce Emotional Vulnerability 

Finally, consider setting some goals this spring in order to reduce your emotional vulnerability. This term refers to how likely you are to be overwhelmed or ruled by your emotional state. A whole world of factors can increase emotional vulnerability, from financial instability to proper nutrition to how recently you drank a glass of water. 

Although the larger, life-level factors such as income might need months or more to address, there are several significant lifestyle changes you can make right now to reduce emotional vulnerability. For example, basic self-care such as staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting exercise each day can go a long way toward helping you cope with difficult emotions. Add in therapy or a daily meditation or journaling practice, and you will find that you’re far less reactive to challenging or negative emotions. You can also set yourself up for basic self-care success by investing in items like a reusable water bottle, or a beautiful journal you can’t wait to use. Maybe try out a vegetable CSA or splurge on a new pair of earbuds or a yoga mat to enhance your exercise. 

Remember, the goal here isn’t to get rid of bad feelings — that’s not possible, and it wouldn’t be good for you anyway. Difficult emotions serve a purpose, such as alerting us to danger or telling us when something has gone wrong. However, we tend to overvalue and cling to these emotions in ways that don’t serve a positive purpose. Reducing emotional vulnerability makes you better able to recognize what that feeling is telling you, address it if needed, and then allow it to pass. 

These are just a few examples of ways you can improve your health this spring. Take some time to think about your goals and what kind of steps you can take to reach them. Embrace the spirit of growth, and remember: It’s your time to bloom! 

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By Paige Johnson

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash