Wake Up from Hibernation
With winter’s heavy snow, rain, and limited sunlight, we are being presented the opportunity to celebrate the season that amplifies the beauty in slowing down. We are invited into this wonderful habitat by eating hearty foods, enjoying hobbies, time for naps or relaxing on the couch. Before jetting into the the pace of spring, we must first honor the work we have done during the winter months. Recall, did you use your time to process lessons from the year past and incubate ideas for what you would like to create for the future? Did you take time to rest, recharge, and heal wounds that were ready to be released? If you have more work to do, time is still on your side! The energy of the next month allows us to complete our inward winter projects. Take advantage, what do you need to set yourself to set yourself up for success for the energetic benefits spring provides?
Warm Up to Growth
When daydreaming of spring during the long winter months, we imagine the feeling of warm sunlight against our skin, new seedlings appearing in our garden, and the birth of cute baby animals. While our minds are excited for the new opportunities for growth and creation, we need to also pay attention to the needs of our body just coming out of winter hibernation.
We may be ready to invite to the warmth of spring into our lives, but we do not want to be assaulted by winter still moving through our weather patterns. Take time to be prepared for cooler temperatures and adverse weather. Sprouts pop out of the ground slow and steady, sustaining themselves as the weather gets warmer, and so should we. No need to rush the transition!
For most of the United States, Daylight Savings Time starts before the Spring Equinox. This sudden increase of light during the day fuels our body into movement. However, we may not yet be a match for this artificial momentum. At this time it is of utmost importance that we pay attention to our internal clock. If we still are needing to rest more, feeling the desire to delay our to do list, or just need time for contemplation and self care, then take it. Don’t let the longer daylight hours fool you into thinking you need to be doing more. If you listen to your body’s wisdom now, you will be appropriately energized once spring is into its full vibrancy.
The invitation of springs energy carries with it the promise of growth and creation. To assimilate this energy when we are just coming out of hibernation, we need to first clean out.
Start by refreshing the energy of your home! Get out your favorite non-toxic supplies and clean all the bits and corners. Remember to dust! Then smudge, burn incense, or light your favorite candle. Move winter’s energy from your space so it can be refreshed with the increased light and creation energy present.
Reawaken the body by removing stagnation built up through the winter months. Start by moving, slowly. Farmers markets, walking, bird watching, anything to get us up and out is a good start. Yoga is a great way to begin to transition.
Get the lymphatic system moving with herbs like cleavers and calendula.
Skin is the body’s interaction with the outside world so do things to refreshen and nourish.
Dry brushing: Exfoliates the skin while invigorating and stimulating blood and lymph circulation. The lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating cellular waste products. Our whole system can be nourished by this practice as its movements mirror the movement of our blood back to the heart. Using a dry skin brush on dry skin, start at the soles of your feet. Use sweeping upward strokes brushing toward the heart. Use strokes strong enough to encourage circulation making the skin a healthy pink color, but not so strong as to damage the skin in any way. Work your way up your body addressing both the front and back of the legs, abdomen, back, and arms. Working all areas towards your heart, encourage the blood and lymph to follow it’s natural path. Other benefits include reduced cellulite, stress relief, improved organ function and invigorating the whole body.
Body Scrubs and Polishes: Similar to dry brushing, they exfoliate the skin and increase circulation and invigorate the body. They also include ingredients that can nourish and feed the skin. Scrubs and polishes can be very simple and easy to make. Try this easy recipe.
2 cups Epsom salt
1 cup sweet almond oil
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice (Chamomile, lavender, grapefruit, lemon, rosemary and clary sage are all nice options)
1/2 cup dried powdered herb of your choice (Chamomile, calendula, citrus peel or lavender are all nice options)
In a large bowl, add Epsom salt, sweet almond oil, essential oil, and dried herb. Mix well. Transfer mixture to a jar with a lid. It is ready to use right away but as the salt works as a preserving agent, it stores well for later use.
Dealing with seasonal allergies? Make use of a nasal rinse or eye bath.
Nasal rinses: Saline nasal washings have been used for centuries to maintain clear nasal passages. A saline nasal wash can soothe, moisturize, and help keep the nose, sinuses and ears clear, clean and healthy. When done correctly, nasal washing can remove irritants, particles and debris keeping the passages clear while moisturizing and soothing irritated membranes. Nasal washing is ideal for allergies, colds & flu, enhanced breathing, sinus & ear issues, removal of pollen, dust & debris.
Studies show that nasal washing with a saline solution removes allergens, shrinks swollen membranes and augments healing. Purchase a nasal rinse kit and follow the directions included within.
Eye baths: Can be incredibly soothing to itchy, dry and inflamed eyes. Easy, super soothing eye baths of chickweed, calendula or chamomile are amazing. You can make an infusion, let cool and gently bathe the eye with a cotton swab or cloth soaked in the infusion. Bathe the eye as long as needed to feel the soothing affects of the infusion.
Local honey can contain traces of flower pollen, and exposure to small amounts of allergens works as good treatment to combat reactions. Over time, a person who consumes local honey may become less-sensitive to pollen and therefore experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar offers an array of powerful health benefits that include boosting metabolism and promoting healthy skin. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can also reduce allergy symptoms, sinus infections, sore throat, acne, high cholesterol, flu symptoms, chronic fatigue, acid reflux, and contact dermatitis. It is a great all around body detoxifier. It helps alkalize the body and stimulate digestion. ACV is also a natural antihistamine and can ease the body’s abnormal response by preventing the production and release of histamines. This can prevent symptoms of allergies like frequent sneezing and nasal congestion. As well as itchy, red, swollen and watery eyes and the itchy sensation of the nose, ears, lips, mouth, and throat. ACV can soothe the throat and ease a cough.
Tender fresh greens are bitter, sour and deeply nourishing. They aid the body in elimination of toxins. After a long winter of lethargy and heavy meals, your body should start to crave the energizing foods of spring. Tender fresh, leafy greens including dandelion, arugula, nettles, chickweed, and watercress, offer the most health benefits, especially for digestive function. They stimulate taste buds sensitive to bitter compounds causing salivation and gastric acid secretion to increase, and pancreatic enzymes are primed and ready to respond when food enters the small intestine. This helps maximize food breakdown and speed waste elimination.
Dark leafy greens like mustard, kale, spinach, collards and chard protect your liver and are nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins and essential minerals. Green foods are crucial to your health. They strengthen the immune system, help with cancer prevention, improve blood circulation, aid blood purification, help lower cholesterol, promote healthy intestinal flora, increase energy, aid detoxification through improved liver and gallbladder function, improve kidney function, and even clear congestion.
Leeks and all spring onions are anti inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. They are pungent and stimulating. The polyphenols in onions act as antioxidants, protecting the body against free radicals. Eliminating free radicals can help encourage a strong immune system. Onions also reduce allergic reactions by inhibiting your body from producing histamines. The fiber in onions promotes good digestion. Additionally, onions contain a special type of soluble fiber called oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestines.
Lemons alkalize the body and are anti-inflammatory. They clear excess heat from the liver. The peel can offer support to the liver and is strengthening to the blood vessels. “The lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile,” says Jethro Kloss in his book Back to Eden. Lemons are an alkalizing power food and is rich in vitamin C and flavonoids and helps cleans the bowels.
Spring provides us with the opportunity to slowly shift from winters hibernation to spring awakening, building a healthy energy foundation that will support us through our entire year.
When we do not do the work of detoxing and releasing stagnation built up from winter, we will move into summer without proper preparation for the solstice energy shift. That will leave us feeling as if we are in a lull and stagnate.
So, be mindful of your body’s requests now, taking time to listen. Following your inner wisdom will propel your ability to be your best grand creator!