Spring.  It's that time of year when we feel compelled to clean out the old and bring in the new in not just our closets, but in our lives as well.  Some people restart new year's resolutions, buy new wardrobes, renovate our living spaces, to name a few.  However, perhaps the best spring cleaning you can do for yourself can start from within, so that any health resolutions can truly come to light!

1.) Make a list of those stressors in your life:  Identifying what makes you tense can help you decide what steps need to be put into place to resolve or lessen such stressors. For example, if you are getting stressed about the overwhelming amount of house chores,  find a way to delegate such tasks to other household members that are not as busy, or hire someone to help with cleaning your home every once in a while to lift some of the burden from you.

2.) Identify how the stressors affect you through journalling: By writing down each time you feel stressed, you can keep track of how you deal with such stress and develop healthier ways to deal with stress.  If you get stressed at work and you tend to reach for the vending machine for chocolate therapy, perhaps instead talk to someone, a loyal co-worker, supervisor, or friend about your stress. Try to come up with a resolution that can resolve or lessen the stress you feel at work for the long-term instead of just emotional eating your stress away temporarily.

3.) Find a support group:  If you feel you don't feel comfortable talking about your problems with someone you know, perhaps find a therapist or support group to help you talk through any emotional problems that may be causing stress in your life, and in turn may be causing physical health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, or weight gain secondary to emotional eating.  Everyone needs support at some time in their lives, and it can be just the stepping stone we may need to get us to a new and healthier chapter in our lives.  Especially in support groups, it can be helpful to know that we are not alone in the problems we are facing and just talking to someone who shares our same stressors can make it all the more easier to work through such stressors healthfully.

4.) Take a "time-out" every once in a while:  Throughout the day, the stressors in our lives can take over and we may not even make the time to try to resolve them since they have become so much a part of our daily routine.  Take at least 15 minutes here and there, maybe 5 minutes 3 times a day, to separate yourself from your work and errands, take a deep breath, maybe have a cup of tea, and just relax.  These small bits of rejuvenation will help you get through your day and keep your stress at bay!