Supportive Self-care for Spring Fever by Jenn GallucciDo you ever feel that excess, distracted energy that comes with the change from Winter hibernation to Spring emergence? While some literally get runny noses, watery eyes, and phlegmy coughs as they thaw out from the winter, I often feel out of balance, overflowing, agitated, uncomfortable in my clothes, like I need to shed my old skin. This is what Spring Fever feels like for me. I tend to want to shake things up, just like the wind kicking up outside and the interchangeable Spring weather. So I do (shake things up). I check in with my routines, my activities, my diet, my relationships, and my environment. I purposely mimic the changes outside by creating changes inside. I follow wise Mother Nature’s lead. Most religions have a fast of some kind at the beginning of Spring. After the winter months of slowing down, staying warm inside, eating rich, heavier foods, and celebrating with sweets and alcohol, our ancestors knew it was time to cleanse our bodies, to release the excess, old, pent up energies. Every year at this time my body is begging me to change my dietary routines. One habit I always change is coffee. My body wants a break. I switch to black tea, green tea, dandelion tea (for liver), nettle tea (for allergies, kidneys), ginger tea (for digestion). Tea feels different in my body than coffee. Lighter. I wake up no longer needing the caffeine after a while and that feels good. Once a week or so I might enjoy a coffee drink at a cafe but I don’t feel addicted to it anymore. It’s purely for pleasure or spending time with a friend. Here are a few other changes I make in my diet that help to balance me out:
- I start my day with hot water with lemon to stimulate elimination.
- I drink warm water throughout the day with a little honey.
- I add in bitter (arugula, dandelion), pungent (radish) and astringent (grapefruit) to cleanse the liver, digestive organs, and blood.
- I eliminate coffee, sugar, alcohol, and dairy products as much as I can. I’m not punitive here. My body naturally wants this change to occur. If I focus on adding in the other tastes, these four tend to fall away more easily.
- Lots of veggies!!!
- Smaller meals at dinner time, larger at mid-day.
- Juicing rather than smoothies. Less cold things.
- Take probiotics for digestion and immunity. Fire cider is a great way to do this and builds digestive fire.
- More vigorous exercise: sweaty yoga classes, longer walks, running, biking.
- Turn yourself upside down. If inversions are in your yoga practice this is a good time to see things from a new perspective.
- Getting your hands in the dirt is great for grounding yourself. Get your garden ready for planting and the first seeds in the ground at this time. If you don’t have a garden, you can pot some flowers, or buy new houseplants (which will help cleanse the air in your house).
- Dry brushing to stimulate heat, improve lymphatic circulation, fluid balance and healthy supple skin. Shedding your skin, so to speak.
- Give away your excess. Recycle all those piles of papers. Rearrange the furniture. Make room for new fresh energy to come into your life.
- Open the windows and doors as the temperature rises again and air out the house.
- Clean out the refrigerator (note to self).
- Amp up your meditation practice or begin one. Connecting to your breath each day will help you feel centered during this ever-changing season. You’ll feel more able to flow with life’s uncertainties.
- Begin a new class, start a new project, travel. Put the excess energy into good use.
- Set new intentions (dream seeds), socialize, play, invite lightheartedness into your days.
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The twinkling starry lights are hung over Winslow Way and folks are journeying from afar to reunite with loved ones are sure signs that the glorious holiday season is upon us!
As magical and fun as the events and energy of this time are, for some, obligations at the end of the year can also be overwhelming and stressful. Along with the fantastical joy of celebrating, there are also major disruptions to daily routines, seemingly constant coordinating of travel plans and meals, and spending time with family members who may heighten your stress response. Add all that up, and it could equal your body needing a little extra love to make the most of these times.