A mountain local’s guide to spring self-care from Leslie Glenn
March 21, 2017
Spring is in the air: longer days, slushy snow, warmer temps and (hopefully) some spring powder days to come.
Winter in the mountains can take a toll on you whether you are stacking the sunny days on the mountain or working overtime to keep up with the spring breakers. We often talk about ways to prep for the winter season, but it is also vital to check in with your body mid-season — to reset and recalibrate with some much-needed self-care as the seasons shift.
The importance of self-care is often overlooked, but it is an essential practice to optimize health, manage stress, improve performance and productivity, and boost overall wellbeing, whether you are an aspiring athlete or just navigating your life-work-play balance. If we keep working, playing and training without giving our body and mind time to recover, we will be on the fast track to burn out.
I have learned this lesson over and over in my life, and believe me: It's a work in progress. As a competitive snowboarder and athlete I would constantly over-train, and it took years for me to realize that I was putting myself at a disadvantage. I was at risk for injury and sickness by not creating time and space to recover by regaining strength, stamina, alignment and focus. The pattern comes up for me quite often — a regular reminder to check in and reset — and one day I will learn.
In the meantime, I want to share a few of my favorite self-care strategies to maintain balance, vitality and stamina through the end of winter and into spring.
Self-care in 6 steps
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1. Rest and restore
Prioritize rest, get lots of sleep and give yourself permission to just chill. Through guilt-free rest days and restorative measures — a massage, myofascial release and foam rolling, an Epson salt bath with lavender oil, restorative or yin yoga — you'll help your body de-stress, release tension and recover faster.
2. Be mindful
Incorporate a mindful practice into your daily routine. This is time to pause and be present, to reflect and reconnect. It can be a moment of conscious breathing, yoga, meditation, journaling or creating, or just watching the sunrise and taking a walk. Find a practice that allows you to feel joy and gratitude — to fall in love with life every day.
3. Strike a balance
Find an activity that complements your lifestyle. If you are always on your feet, on the go or on the mountain, choose something that help you to slow down and be still like yoga, meditation or a meandering walk in the woods. If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, driving or sitting still, get moving! Change up your normal routine and get creative with something new to keep you engaged and inspired.
4. Reboot with nature
Spend time outside, feeling the warm sunshine on your skin and breathing in fresh air. Time spent in nature has healing and purifying effects on your mind, body and soul. Fresh air, movement and exercise are also great tools to stimulate your circulatory and lymphatic systems, which boost energy and your immune system. Nature fuels the soul and captivates our senses to foster expansion and growth in our lives.
5. Eat clean and hydrate
This may seem obvious, but when daily schedules are hectic, healthy dietary choices and hydration are often the first things to go. Nourish yourself with a variety of whole, unadulterated foods to increase vitality, vigor and alertness. Wean off sugars and processed foods that can weigh you down.
Don't know where to begin? Try starting each day with warm water and lemon to pre-hydrate for the day. It also cleanses your gut and fires up your digestion. Gut health and digestion have a direct effect on overall health and well-being.
6. Find a routine
Create a simple routine to incorporate these self-care strategies into your daily and weekly schedule. Take small and manageable steps toward a healthier and happier you, which could be as simple as sitting still for five minutes each morning, taking a sunrise walk or journaling before bed to unravel your day. Choose something that resonates with you and reflects your unique interests. Then, make an effort to schedule it into your day. Be consistent, keep an open mind and make adjustments as needed.
This spring — and throughout the year — stay positive and, above all, be kind to yourself by treating your body with the same love and compassion you show others. At the end of the day, self-care is rooted in self-love, and by honoring our worth we can meet the day with clear and open minds. Strive courageously for your goals to align with your true nature and spring forward into your best self.
Leslie Glenn is a Breckenridge local, mountain girl, snowboarder, nature nerd, yoga teacher, travel junkie, health coach and soul seeker. She followed her heart to mountains of Colorado in 2002, making Breck her official home while traveling the world as a competitive snowboarder for the following decade. She is inspired to share her reflections on mountain life, snowboarding, yoga, health, wellness and travel in her column, Mountain Soul.