It’s almost over! Winter, that is. And during these hard, cold months, I’ve been in a human winter hibernation of sorts. But the days are getting warmer, the daylight hours a little longer, and the sun a bit brighter, and it’s time to come out of my home-cave and get ready for the new season.
I’ve come up with some tips to gently help with the transition from cold, sluggish winter, into renewing spring. These tips are designed to be easy and achievable by anybody wishing to awaken their bodies and spirits.
1) DETOX THE INSIDE
Of your body that is. A simple detox can mean cutting all processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol from your diet for a week, and focusing on whole foods that will help your body clean itself gently. Another simple way to detoxify your system is to eat vitamin rich raw foods and juices and lean proteins for 5 days. If you have never done it before, it is important to check with a physician if your body is ready to handle a detox and what kind of detox would be best. For me, I know my body can handle about 5 days of raw fruits and vegetables and lean (animal and plant-based) proteins. After detoxing in this way, my body feels energized, my skin is brighter, and my body just a bit leaner. It gets me on course to eating right for the rest of the year. My favorite plan is the 5 Day Slim Down from the Tone It Up program.
2) DETOX THE OUTSIDE
Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Exfoliate. My favorite ways to do this is by dry brushing my body. This not only assists the body’s process of ridding itself of dead skin cells, but it also is a fantastic way to give yourself a gentle lymphatic massage (which also helps detox from the inside!), and energize your body. I use this body brush in the mornings before I shower and love the way I feel after a good dry brushing!
It’s important to note, though, that you don’t need a super stiff brush or lots of pressure to reap the benefits. Use a natural-bristle brush that feels good on your skin and soft, gentle strokes. Starting at the base of your feet, use medium-length strokes to brush up towards your heart, overlapping strokes as you go up your legs, knees, thighs, buttocks, lower back. Then brush your hands, forearms, upper arms, arm pits, and shoulders. Move onto your belly- sometimes I use long, circular strokes that go clockwise in this area. I skip over my chest and neck since I feel that skin is very sensitive to even the softest brush.
I follow dry brushing with a nice shower or bath and wrap it up by massaging some warming sesame oil all over.
I also like to use a clay mask on my face. Of course there is La Buena Botanica’s DETOX mask, but you can also make a simple mask from bentonite clay and raw apple cider vinegar and/or water. I like this one very much!
3) ADOPT HEALTHY HABITS
A few healthy habits I’m in the process of adopting or re-adopting are:
a) Making my own herbal infusions with nourshing herbs such as nettles, alfalfa, and oatstraw. I have a ritual at night of boiling some water, throwing some herbs in the pot, put a lid on it and let the pot sit there overnight. In the morning, I strain the herbs, put a tiny bit of organic stevia, and store it in a glass jar in the fridge to have throughout the day.
b) Moving! Either going to the gym, taking a yoga class, going for a walk outside, or actively playing with my toddler. Movement and exercise are a necessary part of our health!
c) Taking my multivitamins as advised by my doctor. I hate taking supplements, but I have found that I can’t function without my daily dose of vitamin D, fish oil and magnesium. I feel so much healthier when I am consistent about this habit that this spring I am making it more of a conscious effort to take them daily.
4) MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND REVITALIZE OLD FRIENDSHIPS
Community is such an important part of our health. Without being able to express feelings and troubles, we tend to keep them bottled up, constantly fueling our stress. By having a community of family or like-minded people, you can externalize those feelings and you might find comfort that you’re not the only one who’s been through that, or even a solution to a specific issue. We are social animals, and we need to honor that, as shy as we might be.
“Your vibe attracts your tribe” is one of my favorite quotes and it’s so true! If you’re a new momma who is into breastfeeding, start going to La Leche League meetings. If you have kids, get to know their friends’ parents and socialize with them. If you work from home, then join a WAH group or start one! If your life is crazy and demanding, join your local yoga studio and get to know your fellow students and teachers. Don’t skip out on opportunities to get to know more people who you’ll identify with!
Also, take opportunities to reach out to your friends. You chose them for a reason and even if time has passed and you are doing your own things, you might find a lot of joy in reviving those connections.
5) CONNECT WITH OUR MOTHER EARTH
Spring is practically here. Don’t miss out on Mother Earth’s AMAZING come-back by beingstuck indoors and in your own head. Go outside, be present noticing how She awakens. New growth is all around us and it is magical to notice how tiny baby leaves sprout, how flowers open with the sunlight, etc.
Notice Her pace and Her “clock” and let it guide the rhythm of your life. Dim the lights as the sun goes down and gently brighten up your house as the sun comes out. Being attuned to nature is engrained in us, and all we need to do is tap into that connection in order to feel connected to all living beings.
6) MINDFUL BREATHING
Breathing- you do it without really thinking about it. Which is fantastic, right? One less thing to worry about. But that’s exactly the problem. Our breath keeps us alive, yet so many of us don’t pay it the attention it deserves. Short, shallow breaths fool our bodies into thinking we are stressed. Breathing mindfully helps our body relax, expel toxins, and function to it’s best ability. Breath is the bridge between our body and our minds, it can calm an excited mind, or help us be present in the moment. If you are mindful of your breath you are practicing self-awareness and you can then take note of what your needs are. There are a myriad of breathing exercises out there, but simply, pausing often during the day and taking 10 mindful breaths can help you attune to your body and ground your mind. A simple breathing mantra you can try to get ready for spring is:
Breathing in I revitalize. Breathing out, I am renewed.
Many of us have been stuck indoors most of the time this winter so, bonus points for practicing mindful breathing outdoors.
Yes, I’m talking about your space. Your space says a lot about your mind and your ways. Someone who is efficient and logical might have an organized space… and an organized mind. And someone who multitasks and has a full plate, might have their belongings and current projects scattered. By pairing down and being selective about our belongings, we can cue our mind into doing the same. Take in less things – take on less projects. Rid your space of things you don’t need or want – Rid your to-do list of those things (by doing them or dropping them) that have been on there forever and have been stressing you out, etc.
So there you have ‘em! My instruction manual on how to gently transition out of winter and into spring. What are your favorite ways to ease you into spring?