I came home from work recently one afternoon when Kelli - somewhat out of the blue - hit me with a question. It was the kind of question that I knew had a hidden motivation behind it. She was fishing. "What can you tell me about changing the air filter in a car?" she said.
I immediately launched into my response about how it's pretty inexpensive and easy to do. That it's a common up-sell when you get your oil changed. That a service technician will come out and meet you in the waiting area, carrying your car's air filter. That he (or sometimes, she) will flex open the baffles of the accordion-like filter, and tell you how disgustingly dirty the filter is, and how important it is that you change it, right away. I concluded by telling Kelli that it was a ploy commonly enacted upon women.
As I told her this, a smirk slowly grew across her face, and a glimmer shone in her eye. "I got the oil changed in the car today," she said. "At a Valvoline. And we have a new air filter." We both just laughed.
Whether or not our car was truly due for an air filter change, neither of us will know for sure. A new air filter certainly won't hurt things any. But the oil change and air filter - and the spring that keeps hinting at its arrival - has gotten me thinking about rebooting our own body and soul. Cars need routine maintenance, a flush of the system, a replenishment of vital fluids. So do we.
It's easier to do than you might think. I've never done a proper "cleanse" the way some other gluten-free bloggers have. (Though I fully intend to try one of these days...) Instead, I make simple adjustments that - for me, and quite possibly, for you - can have a profound positive influence on your body and soul.
1. Drink More Water
We get told this a lot, but it's true. Water is hydrating and cleansing. It's vital and fundamental to life, and you'll never regret having an extra glass of it each day. (Unless, perhaps, you're in an important and long-running business meeting with an already-full bladder. In that case, maybe wait on that glass of water for a bit...)
2. Get Outside
Getting outside isn't just about breathing some fresh air (which in and of itself is a good thing...). It's about exposing yourself to some good old-fashioned sunshine. The sun helps your immune system strengthen. It helps you build strong bones. And it helps improve your emotional well-being. The Winter Blues aren't just a myth...they're a real condition officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, and one of the standard treatments is to sit in front of a lightbox, which emits the same wavelengths of radiation as the sun, for a little while each day. Give yourself a dose of the real thing.
I mean this metaphorically and literally. On the one hand, yes, take time to breathe more deeply. To feel your own breath. But I also mean to take time out. Relax. Meditate. Find balance. On Sunday afternoon, both girls were miraculously asleep at the same time, and Kelli and I spent some time literally just sitting on the couch together in the play/sun room. We didn't do much of anything. Except breathe. And it felt restorative.
4. Try Something New
The novelty of trying something new this spring can be invigorating. It's engaging and motivating and will keep you stimulated. For us, one new thing we're doing this spring - in combination with our community garden plot - is composting. We're collecting our kitchen scraps of veggies and fruits, and the girls (mostly Marin at this point) help us put them in the new compost bin that's now sitting in the back corner of the yard at the house we're renting from the college.
5. Get Fresh...
...with your foods. I'm talking lettuce greens, oranges, whatever fruits and vegetables float your boat. The point is, eat them fresh, uncooked, raw. Quite simply, they are refreshing. Some people would say that such foods are still full of their life force, compared to highly processed refined foods that have been stripped of that life force. I know that, for me, a crisp salad can be one of the most refreshing things on Earth. I also eat two pieces of fruit every night after dinner. (Just ask Kelli how many navel oranges we went through this winter...)
So you see? Nothing earth-shattering. Just some basic, easy-to-implement tips that will leave you feeling recharged and ready to go.
P.S. In case you missed it, check out our post from the beginning of January on 10 Tips for Resilient Resolutions for more advice.