You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
-Jan Glidewell 
Wellness Newsletter: Transforming Lives through Optimal Health
Dear <<First Name>>;

Big news! While St. John has been a challenging and interesting experience, I’ve decided to return to California. By my next newsletter, I will be back in my home state, undoubtedly missing the beaches, snorkeling with my favorite turtles, and the people I’ve befriended here, but enjoying health food stores, dark chocolate at a reasonable price, and reconnecting with family and friends!
I have only been here eight months, but even in that amount of time, I have managed to accumulate a few things. Now I need to go through what I have and clean things out in anticipation of leaving. I’ve moved around a lot in my life, which means I’ve spent a lot of time trying to let go of stuff so I don’t have to move it. It’s a good thing to do, whether moving or not, and spring is a perfect time.
In this month’s article, I’ll give some ideas for spring cleaning, both internally and externally.


Healthy Habit: Spring Cleaning

by Julie Stiles

It’s spring; time to get moving! As we can begin to throw open the windows and doors to air out the stagnation of winter, so we can do the same for our lives. If you are feeling stuck, or if you look around and see undone projects, bursting closets, and growing piles of stuff, spring is the perfect time to clear things out. The sap is starting to flow in the trees, seeds that have been dormant all winter are sprouting and pushing their way through the dirt seeking the sun, and flowers are beginning to bloom. Here on St. John, there are broods of chicks following hens around all over the island. Spring is the season of new beginnings, renewal, and regeneration. Allow some rejuvenation into your life with some spring cleaning!
Take a look around you; how much stuff do you have? Have piles accumulated over the winter? Those bursting closets and unorganized stacks of papers or magazines can cause stagnant energy. The same is true in our body and our mind, and clearing out what we no longer need in any of these areas creates space for something new to come in. We might find we feel lighter and clearer after cleaning out our home, body, or psyche. Here are some tips to help you get into action with your spring cleaning.
Clearing out stuff
Most of us have that one area where every time we look at it, we feel distress; it nags at us to do something about it. Perhaps it’s the desk where you work, or the kitchen table that has ended up being a dumping ground for everyone’s stuff when they walk in the door. Start with that spot, and see how you feel as you get that cleaned up. You might pick a weekend and tackle multiple areas of your house, or take it bit by bit, whichever works for you. Take a look at your closet, and see if you can let go of anything you haven’t worn in the past 6 months or a year. Is it time to clear out some old books, maybe donate them to your local public library? Don’t forget to go through documents; there’s no need to keep some documents beyond a certain time period (see sidebar).
Clearing out your body
Think of clearing out your kitchen as part of clearing your body. Go through and get rid of unhealthy junk you find in your cupboards, removing the temptation to indulge from your home. If you have kids, make a game out of this by seeing who can find the most unhealthy food item in the pantry, or the item with the most sugar. It will teach your kids to read labels and educate all of you about what you actually have in your kitchen, and by extension, what you’ve been putting in your body.
In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is the perfect time for cleansing and rejuvenation.  Consider doing a detox or cleanse for your body. Be careful with this if you have any health concerns. Detoxing can stir up a lot as toxins begin to release, so make sure you do some research first and know what you are doing.
Clearing out your mind
Try a mini spring retreat—a day or weekend just for you. During this time, look back at the goals you set for the year and consider where you are with them. Reassess and shift trajectory if it is needed. If you aren’t where you had hoped to be by now, don’t take it as a failure, but as an opportunity to see what is happening instead. Consider what might be getting in your way; are there limiting beliefs you could work on letting go? How can you re-direct your efforts to be more in alignment with what you want to create in your life? If you are on track with your goals, then make sure you celebrate!

Where are you going to start with your spring cleaning? 

Recipe: Shiitake and Kale

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 bunch kale, chopped
pinch of salt
1.   Warm oil in pan on medium heat with minced garlic until aromas of garlic are released, about 2-3 minutes.
2.   Add chopped shiitake mushrooms, stir-fry for 5 minutes.
3.   Add chopped kale, stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
4.   Add a splash of water and pinch of salt to pan, cover and let steam for 4 minutes. 
Julie Stiles, MA/CHC

Do you know...

...where your stuff comes from and where it goes when you throw it out?

If you missed the very cool short film The Story of Stuff, which explores the system of production, consumption, and disposal of all that stuff in your home and office, I highly recommend taking a 20 minute break and checking it out. It's fun, educational, and well-done (I'm a little biased, because a friend of mine produced it, but still, check it out!). 

The Story of Stuff Project also has a cool website with other films and resources. 


Food Focus: Greens

Leafy greens are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine. Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upward to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Members of this royal green family include kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, watercress, beet greens, bok choy, napa cabbage, green cabbage, spinach and broccoli.
How do greens benefit our bodies? They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, and are a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Their color is associated with spring, which is a time to renew and refresh vital energy. In traditional Asian medicine, the color green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Greens aid in purifying the blood, strengthening the immune system, improving liver, gall bladder and kidney function, fighting depression, clearing congestion, improving circulation and keeping your skin clear and blemish free.
Leafy greens are the vegetables most missing from the American diet, and many of us never learned how to prepare them. Start with the very simple recipe below. Then each time you go to the market, pick up a new green to try. Soon you’ll find your favorite greens and wonder how you ever lived without them.


Document Life

Wondering how long to keep those documents for? Check out this guide from Consumer Reports: Conquer the Paper Piles


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Tell me...

What is it you are interested in? I have lists of topics I can cover, but I'd love to hear from you—what health and lifestyle concerns would you like to see addressed in this newsletter? Let me know! 


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Copyright © 2011 Julie Stiles Coaching, All rights reserved.
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