It’s spring in the northern hemisphere! I always welcome the longer days, increasing warmth of the sun, and bubbling energy that surges and gives me the impetus to take action! However, it can be an unsettling time where we feel outpaced by the season, and it’s easy to get run down and succumb to the spring colds and flu. Many people also start the yearly grind of allergies at this time of year. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my own life to help me sail easily through spring and start summer energized and balanced.
1. Nature’s New Year. Spring, to my mind, is the ‘true’ new year. It’s a far better time to make resolutions that actually stick, because we have more motivation and energy. Spring can be a great time to re-evaluate old habits and create new ones. And make sure there’s something FUN there too – we all know it’s much easier to make changes that are actually enticing and feel great to do. This is a good time of year to take up a new kind of exercise or a new hobby, maybe something creative to harness the natural energies of the season.
2. Get moving. Physical movement and appropriate exercise of any kind supports the flow of energy (or qi, in Traditional Chinese Medicine). This is especially important in the spring, when energy tends to stagnate and contribute to health problems or emotional issues. So, if your daily walk has fallen by the wayside during the winter, think about starting it up again! It doesn’t matter what exercise you choose, just whatever you enjoy and can fit easily into your life on a daily basis is the best one for you.
3. Prepare for earlier mornings. With the earlier sunrise and the time change many countries have in the spring, we end up waking earlier in the morning. However, we still need the same amount of sleep! So, it’s a good idea to consciously go to bed a little earlier in the spring, to prepare for the summer of early mornings. I often use the 5/7 rule of thumb – if I can manage a healthy habit (such as early nights) 5 days out of 7, I consider it good enough.
4. Support your Liver. There is a reason ‘spring greens’ are in season right now – greens and bitter-tasting vegetables support your liver to detoxify the body. In TCM the Liver organ system is most active in the spring. It’s always a good idea to find out what vegetables are in season where you live and eat more of those, as nature has provided them for your health as the seasons cycle through. It’s also a good idea to cut down on sugar and alcohol to lessen the load on your liver during its spring-clean.
5. Work through your to-do list. Whether or not you add to or change your to-do list, and whether or not it is written down or in your head, take advantage of the spring energy and just start ticking off those items. Many people find they feel more motivated in the spring, and if you don’t, EFT tapping can help with procrastination. As I sit here typing, I notice that writing this blogpost was number 7 on my to-do list for today and I have already ticked off 6 items! One thing I do when I have jobs I don’t want to do is to tell myself I’ll do it for just 5 minutes. I then usually find that once I’ve started, I am happy to keep going for longer. So, just begin!
6. Get outside. Walking in nature or spending time outdoors is a great way to strengthen your ‘wei qi’ (defensive energy in TCM), which helps boost your immune system. The increased daylight hours and sunshine also start to top up your levels of Vitamin D after the winter, but don’t forget to be cautious and use sunscreen and sunglasses.
7. Old-fashioned spring-cleaning. If you suffer from allergies which increase in the spring and summer, at least do all you can to minimize allergens within your home. Clean up dusty piles of stuff, curtains and soft furnishings, and also try to make sure your cleaning products and anything you put on your skin (soap, body lotions) is as free of chemicals as possible. (Here's a great recipe for a home-made cleaner.) Open the windows, even if only for a few hours, let the sunshine and fresh air clean your internal surroundings. Decluttering and cleaning your physical environment also allows for fresh and healthy flows of energy around your home and is conducive to a clear and uncluttered mind.
Which of my tips resonates with you this spring? Let me know which ones you put into practice!
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