“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
Spring is just around the corner in the northern hemisphere and with it comes renewal, rebirth, awakening, growth, and creation. Temperatures get warmer, the day gets longer, and many of us feel a renewed sense of well-being. We shed winter clothes, spring clean our homes, and lighten our diets.
Spring forward for success
Although many of us think of the New Year as the perfect time to work towards new goals and achievement, it falls in the middle of winter — a time of naturally low energy and lack of momentum. Many plants and animals hibernate or go dormant during winter, and humans also naturally have lower reserves of energy. As we move into spring and the day grows longer, we are reawakened and refreshed. Most of us are able to add new energy to old projects or to start new ones. Spring is the perfect time to make goals and take up new activities.
Try a new healthy habit — If you have been meaning to try a new exercise, learn to meditate, or to change your diet, spring is the perfect time. With greater amounts of daylight, most of us also have a natural elevation of mood making us much more likely to stick to new routines for much longer, thus increasing our odds of success. Or, if you made New Year’s resolutions that have fallen flat, spring is the perfect time to try again.
Spring clean your home — Take time to really clean your home, moving from space to space not only removing the winter dust, but beautifying your environment in the process. Open the windows to allow in fresh, clean air. Use natural cleaning recipes to be sure that you are removing toxins as you clean and not adding to them. To further refresh and clean your home, consider using a diffuser with orange or peppermint oil to both cleanse the air and uplift your spirits.
Take charge of your environment — Spring is the perfect time to not only clean your home, but also to purge it of items you no longer use. Dirt, dust, and unused objects are heavy and prevent you from moving forward in life. Go through your home, and look at the items around you. How are they useful? Do they have purpose or add beauty? Do they simplify and support your life? If an object doesn’t serve a purpose, add beauty, or somehow support your life, consider if you would be able to part with it. Clearing your home of things that don’t add to your enjoyment of life or that don’t serve a purpose may also help clear the path for greater success in life.
Detoxify your body
In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is the season of the liver and gallbladder. Thus, spring is the perfect time to focus on detoxifying these vital organs. Poor liver and gallbladder function may add to digestive issues and may also impair the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3). Just a few methods of detoxification include:
A detoxifying morning beverage — Upon rising each morning many may find relief from taking warm water with lemon and ginger as well as local, raw honey. Local, raw honey may also aid in managing seasonal allergies.
Stay hydrated — In addition to a morning detox drink, stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking pure, filtered water. Just as the liver is essential to converting T4 to T3 the kidneys are essential for filtering toxins out of the bloodstream so they may be eliminated in the urine. Without adequate hydration, the process is inefficient.
Sweat out the toxins — Be sure to include exercise in your regular routine as sweating is a natural way for the body to eliminate toxins.
Detoxify your diet — If you haven’t done so already, spring is a great time to detoxify your diet. Focus on light, nutrient rich foods and avoid chemicals and additives. Look for grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish as well. If you haven’t eliminated gluten from the diet, work on doing so, and limit white sugar. In addition, limit alcohol consumption and non-essential drugs or medications.
It should be noted that while there are many detoxification programs out there, none should be undertaken without supervision. Please call Functional Longevity Institute today at (916)550-0567 to learn more about our liver detoxification program.
Eat and sleep better
Just as clearing your environment and body of toxins is important, so too are improving your diet and sleep habits.
Start a spring garden — Starting a spring garden is a great way to both get outdoors and take advantage of the natural light and to build a healthy diet with foods directly from your own yard. Gardening also is a healthy, low impact method of getting in some exercise. You also have direct control over what goes into growing your food, limiting chemicals such as pesticides.
Attend our upcoming talk — To learn more about building a healthy spring garden, please consider attending our April 7th talk with environmental scientist and urban farmer, Tara Hannon as she presents Edible Gardening in the Spring. Please call us at (916)550-0567 to reserve your seat.
Add greens to your diet — When planning your spring garden, be sure to include a variety of greens. Greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that support just about every organ and cell in your body; however, if greens aren’t already a regular part of your diet, you may benefit from nutritional counseling to determine the best type of greens and other foods to add to your diet. If you don’t particularly enjoy eating greens, adding them to a smoothie is a tasty and easy way to consume them.
Get enough sleep — As the day lengthens, your need for sleep diminishes. Sleep needs may vary from person to person, but aim for 7 to 8.5 hours per night instead of the 8.5 to 10 hours that many need during the winter. However, it is important to practice a regular routine of waking and going to bed at the same time each night. Rise early, preferably with the rising sun and be sure you are in bed and asleep before 11pm. In traditional Chinese medicine 11pm to 1am are the hours during which the gallbladder heals while 1am to 3am are healing hours for the liver. If you are struggling to get to sleep or stay asleep, please see THIS post.
The downside of spring
For many, the downside of spring comes with seasonal allergies. Pollen counts rise and spring winds pick up the sticky pollen, carrying it through the air. Not only is pollen floating freely in the wind, but it also sticks to your skin, hair, and clothing. A few tips may make a difference in helping to manage seasonal allergy symptoms:
Hydrate — Although it is important to stay hydrated throughout the year, drinking plenty of water may help manage some seasonal allergy symptoms, helping to flush toxins out of the body.
Eliminate dairy — For those prone to nasal drainage and productive coughs, eliminating dairy products, if they are still part of the diet, may be especially helpful. Dairy products, particularly from conventional sources, are associated with an increase in mucous production, one of the most common symptoms of spring allergies.
Change your clothes and wash your skin — Because pollen is sticky, it clings to your skin and clothes. As a result, when you go from outdoors to indoors, the pollen comes in with you. If you are especially prone to severe seasonal allergy symptoms, changing your clothes and rinsing exposed skin as soon as you come in from outdoors may help to remove pollen. Not doing so will mean transferring pollen to indoor surfaces.
Lymphatic drainage — In addition to the above, some people may benefit from lymphatic drainage. Click HERE for an excellent video on using lymphatic drainage to help manage allergies.
Spring is the perfect time to take charge of your health and lifestyle. Doing so may be made easier with guidance. Please call Functional Longevity Institute today at (916)550-0567 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrea Rosario, DC, DACNB or Dr. Lisa Medel, DC to learn more. We offer a whole-person, whole-body approach to healthcare through functional medicine and functional neurology, as well as guidance through lifestyle and wellness coaching. We would love to see you in person in our Sacramento, California office or via telephone or Skype if you aren’t local or can’t make it to the office.
Dr. Andrea Rosario, DC, DACNB
Blue Lotus Ayurveda Newsletter
Mama Float, Float: Chinese Medical Arts
The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover (*An Amazon Affiliate link – any commission generated will be donated to charity.)