I know, Thanksgiving is not even here yet and I am advocating getting ready for spring. You will thank me when the daffodils start to sprout and you start to look for lighter clothes, think of joining a gym and going on a diet. Spring is the time our bodies ‘wake up’ like the trees around us. If we have been neglecting our well-being, there is  a tendency toward feeling sluggish and depressed, not having the ‘oomph’ to ride the season into summer. Allergies can result, as well as a host of other unpleasant symptoms. To avoid health issues, get in better shape, and just put a spring into your step come spring, here are some things you can do now.

DO NOT DIET. It is discouraging to “go on a diet” only to lose a few pounds and gain it back once you go “off of it”. Make small changes with the momentum toward healthier eating. Replace the afternoon cookie with an apple, eat oatmeal instead of muffins, have one piece of bread instead of two, ¾ glass of wine instead of 1, eat dessert only at special occasions, etc. You get the picture. Small but steady changes can result in losing pounds and keeping them off, and at the same time, supporting your health as well.

DO NOT DO EXERCISE YOU HATE. I was in a yoga class last week and the teacher was inviting us into a very complex pose. Students were straining, holding their breath, wrinkling their foreheads when he took note and said, “O.K., now adjust the pose in any way you need to so it is enjoyable”. Immediately everyone relaxed. Foreheads smoothed, breathing returned along with a few smiles. You will not continue a regimen you don’t like. Take a tai chi class, start a group that meets to hike once a week. Make exercise part of your week. Be creative.

CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN. Visit the local library or bookstore. Don’t like to read? Sign up for a beginner’s class in Italian, Latin or Chinese. Play sudoku, ping pong, poker or scrabble. Keeping ‘in shape’ means moving your mind as well as your body.

FORGIVE. FORGIVE. FORGIVE. Emotional health affects every cell in your body. This is the season one sees family and friends, some whom there might exist longstanding grudges toward–even downright hostility. Just telling yourself you will forgive can start the process. Instead of avoiding that sister-in-law who you are sure is in the wrong, talk with her and smile. Even if you deserve an academy award for your performance, give it a try—hearts (yours!) can melt with one simple step toward forgiveness.

So think about making some changes to help you greet this spring in a better frame of mind, body and spirit. In the meantime, your holidays just might be better, too!

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