HAVE A HAPPY & HEALTHY SPRING
With These 6 Eastern Medicine Tips
Time to break out breezy fabrics and ditch the thick socks…spring is in full effect! In eastern medicine, each season brings more than just environmental shifts. There are unique energetic influences affecting the way we feel, what we eat, and health issues to protect against. Follow these holistic guidelines to thrive this spring the natural way.
The Qualities of Spring
Here’s the breakdown about spring according to eastern medicine. It’s believed that the seasons each have their own energy, and that energy is linked to and affects each of us. While the cold and darkness of winter might keep our energy low and make us want to curl up with a book in bed, spring is a whole other story. This season is transitional and filled with warmer weather, sunshine and growth.
In eastern medicine, spring is connected to the element of wood. Like a tree, you should expect to feel solid and grounded by your roots, but be open to new opportunities to move forward and expand your horizons. Wood is characterized as gentle yet persistent, true to its own being yet always looking to grow and expand. Spring is also associated with the color green, sour tastes, the ‘shout’ vocal quality, anger, and the eastern direction.
For us this means that spring is a time for heightened creativity, new ideas, and mental and emotional expression. As the weather heats up, so does your inner drive and determination to check items off your to-do list. This the perfect time to flesh out those ideas you might have silently been ruminating over all winter long. Harness the inspiration and motivation of the season to try a new activity or fashion trend, make a new friend, or spice things up for your next date night.
Tips to Stay Healthy and Happy This Spring
Finally! The sleepy hibernation months of winter are over! During this in-between season of spring it’s important to slowly increase your weekly amount of exercise. This not only benefits the Liver, but can help you keep a clear head. Start simple with daily walks or light jogs as you take in the changing scenery. You can also start adding on yoga, tai chi, dance, swimming, or other fitness classes.
Limit Alcohol, Boost Hydration
Hard truth time, your Liver has a lot of jobs to do beyond metabolizing those cocktails. Cut your body some slack and cut back on your alcohol intake. A periodic 2-week cleanse can be a great way to kick off the spring season and motivate you to try some new mocktail recipes. As you lower your alcoholic consumption, aim to boost your intake of water. This helps nourish and moisten the Liver, making your inner functions run more smoothly.
Expand your alcohol cleanse to your diet. If you’ve been a little lax on the winter comfort foods (read: carbs), it’s time to cut out excess sugar, white flour, fat, chemical preservatives, and fried foods where you can to cut down on inner toxins. Instead, gravitate towards leafy greens like spinach and kale, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. Take advantage of the fresh foods at farmers markets and be sure to eat slowly, savoring each and every bite. Your body will thank you for the extra boost of nutrients!
Combat Resentment With Gratitude
Woke up this morning and found some bad news on your horoscope? Yikes. Flip the script on a rough emotional day by proactively seeking more kindness, compassion, and gratitude in your life. Start with a morning meditation to let go of what’s holding you back or write out a list of things you’re thankful for each day. You should also consider donating your time to help others at a local charity. Giving is the best way to dissipate negative emotions.
You’d be surprised how decluttering your space can also work to clear your mind and energy. Go through your home and work space and get rid of the things you never use and don’t need. A good rule of thumb is to toss anything you haven’t used in the past 6-9 months. Creating more space in your world allows openings for new, exciting things to make their way in. Think intentionally about what you’d like to fill that new space with.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Spring is the best time to cross something new off your bucket list. Dust off that list of New Year’s resolutions and schedule in a day to reach one of those goals. It can be as simple as trying a pottery class, or attending more networking events in your city. Jump on the season of new growth and claim a piece for your own life.
The Liver and Spring
In TCM one of the most important connections to spring is our Liver system which also includes the Gallbladder. This system is basically in charge of spring and can either thrive when everything is balanced, or produce widespread negative symptoms when left uncared for. Quick facts about The Liver: it’s known as the home of the body’s nourishment, creator and cleanser of blood, and dispeller of internal toxins. It’s believed that blood, qi, and emotions are all cycled through the body thanks to the regulated flow from the Liver. When the Liver is in good working order, there shouldn’t be any stagnation or rapid change in the pace of internal flow.
When the Liver and Gallbladder are jiving together, spring sparks an abundance of honesty, acceptance, compassion, and patience. On the other hand, an imbalance can spark feelings of frustration, irritability, anger, and resentment. Be aware of your thoughts, words, and actions during the transition into spring and look for these emotions. Repeated experiences of the feelings associated with an imbalance could be a sign that your Liver needs some extra attention.
Common Imbalances in Spring
Not sure if your Liver is thriving this spring? You might have noticed a general slump of energy, irritability, or constant physical pain. If your transition into springtime isn’t as smooth as you’d like, you might be suffering from an energetic imbalance of qi in the Liver or Gallbladder. Luckily, once you identify the issue, you can correct that imbalance and get back to the beauty of springtime.
Here are a few common signs of Liver imbalance to look out for during the spring:
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Consistent feelings of anger, resentment, irritability, or frustration
- High blood pressure
- Extreme muscular tension, particularly surrounding tendon and ligament injuries
- Ongoing, radiating pain in the lower back, buttocks, and leg areas (sciatica)
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- Digestive issues such as heartburn, upset stomach, IBS, ulcers
If you relate to several of these items, it might be time for some assistance from your healthcare team. Consult with your TCM practitioner and medical doctor for further insight and treatment options specific to your needs.