Spring Cleaning for the Body and Mind

Using Integrative Medicine to Rejuvenate Your Mind and Body

Spring is the perfect season to embrace new habits and shake off those winter blues. It's that time of year when the layers start coming off, the sun hangs around a little longer, and the desire to detox and refresh our bodies and minds becomes stronger than ever. And it makes sense that people associate spring with a sort of revival; there's more sunlight, more vitamin D, and subsequently better moods, making it the perfect time to invest in yourself.

So, to help you embrace the energy of the season, our team recommends a thorough "mind-body spring cleaning." Think of it as a pick-me-up that isn't just dusting off cobwebs but also practicing holistic habits that support your lifestyle. But if you want your spring cleaning to truly rejuvenate the mind and body, it's key that you do so with the right approach.

Rejuvenating the Mind and Body Calls for an Integrative Approach

Integrative medicine is perfect for rejuvenating the mind and body because it acknowledges the connection between physical and mental well-being. The impact of this interdependence between mental health and physical health cannot be stressed enough. While our emotions might not seem as pressing as chronic pain, they can impact our physical health just as well, and vice versa.

The Mind-Body Link

Did you know your gut health can impact your mental health? For example, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior. Most people would assume the "happiness chemical" is made exclusively in the brain, but it's also produced in the gut. If your diet isn't rich in foods that support your gut microbiome, you impact your serotonin production. This can result in mood disorders and other mental health issues. Similarly, mental fatigue can cause physical symptoms. Overproduction of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline can lead to headaches, tense muscles, and even stomach problems.

Being unwell, unbalanced, and dissatisfied with life often indicates that someone has disregarded the body-mind link. When this happens, everything can be thrown out of whack.

  • The body (and all of those chemicals that help us maintain a stable mood) suffers when your mental health is neglected.
  • Poor dietary choices and unhealthy habits can act as negative triggers for both breakdowns in mental and physical health.
  • Health issues such as unmanaged chronic pain can negatively impact both your mental well-being and your daily activities.
While prioritizing lifestyle changes that can restore

Still not sold? Did you know about these other surprising mind-body connections:

  • Stress can make skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis worse.
  • Stress can also lead to headaches and muscle tension.
  • Anxiety conditions have been linked to digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
  • If your diet is full of greasy, over-processed foods, it results in poor skin health and inflammation.
  • Not getting enough sleep can take a toll on your energy levels, productivity, and mental health.
  • Poor sleep hygiene can also make it more difficult to shed those extra pounds.
  • Chronic pain conditions can lead to severe depression. Untreated, it can even affect relationships.

Our body, mind, and environment are so intrinsically connected that it's impossible to separate the impact they have on one another. That's why we encourage our patients to treat pain and weight loss issues with a holistic lens that will make real changes stick. It's also why we don't just treat symptoms but look at our patients' lifestyles, physical health, and mental health to get to the root cause of their conditions. Over the past two decades of treating patients, we've found integrative medicine to be an effective preventive measure and treatment for the majority of people who come to us.

Realigning Mind and Body for a Better Life

Reflect and Refocus
Reflect and Refocus Whether you call it journaling or talking things out with yourself, reflecting is a great way to declutter your mind and regain focus. Plus, working through complex feelings helps to release stress and tension that could be manifesting as pesky physical symptoms. For example, you may not realize that your desire to sleep more is because you're feeling stressed with increasing work demands. Unless you give yourself the space to connect the dots, you'll likely continue to feel overwhelmed. If you let it go on for too long, your mental exhaustion can become physical exhaustion.

Reflection isn't just good for managing stress; it's a simple yet powerful practice to maintain your brain health. One UK study discovered that individuals who did more self-reflection had "better cognition and improved glucose metabolism (which is what keeps your brain turning like a well-oiled machine)."

Other ways you can declutter your mind include:

  • Working with a therapist, counselor, or life coach.
  • Practicing meditation, mindfulness, and staying present

Get Moving
Get Moving Exercise is another way to declutter the mind and support physical health. Physical activity reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol while boosting endorphin production, so most people feel more relaxed and confident afterward. And for your body, we'd argue that staying active is some of the best preventive medicine out there. Failing to exercise has been linked to illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. If you already live with a chronic condition, exercise is one of the most effective tools to manage your condition.

Exercise is also a great way to physically detox your body. Working out increases your heart rate, breathing, blood circulation, and sweat production, essentially triggering all of your body's natural detoxing systems to remove toxins from your body. Exercise can also stimulate digestion and elimination and may help with digestive issues.

Any exercise is good for you, but try these for a mental reboot:

  • Tai Chi
  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Walking Meditation
  • Nature Walking/Hiking
  • Trail Running
  • Restorative yoga
  • Upbeat Group Fitness

Support your Mind and Body with Good Food
Support your Mind and Body with Good Food Spring cleaning isn't complete until some actual cleaning is done. If there are items in your fridge or pantry that you feel are holding you back from your health goals, it might be a good idea to either donate them or dispose of them and leave them off your shopping list. If you keep sugary, processed foods in your home, you're more than likely going to eat them.

If you're considering changing your diet but are unsure where to start, consulting with a holistic dietician or nutritionist to create a personalized diet plan could be the answer. Dieticians and nutritionists who take a holistic approach to your health can help you create a meal plan that supports health concerns, brain function, mood, or weight loss goals if you have them.

Want to learn more about food and good health? Check out these posts:

Functional Medicine for Digestive Disorders
Video: How to Effectively Deal with Leaky Gut and Inflammation

Step Into a New You with Functional Medicine

Reflection, physical activity, and nutritious foods support your journey toward a revitalized self. Moreover, establishing a solid spring cleaning regimen can help you incorporate healthier practices into your everyday routine, benefiting both your physical and mental well-being throughout the year.

Functional Medicine is a great place to start if you want to ramp up your efforts to optimize your physical and mental health. Functional medicine relies on holistic practices to help treat and manage complex conditions. By incorporating healthy lifestyle changes and personalized treatment plans, functional medicine can help you achieve optimal health and vitality. So, as you embrace the arrival of spring, consider incorporating functional medicine into your healthcare routine to truly revitalize your mind, body, and spirit.