You cannot green smoothie your way out of chronic stress.Dr. Mariza
Spring is here is all it’s glorious bounty, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and with spring comes the energy of outward expansion, renewal, and aliveness! Those are all such wonderful things!
All the glorious spring energy can also bring about an increased amount of activity – playdates, barbecues, gardening, festivals, get-togethers, picnics, events, events, events! And that’s not to mention our spring to-do lists! Many of us feel this heightened sense of wanting to clean and organize our homes and our lives, and if you are like me, that’s no simple feat! All of these spring activities can be so enlivening and fun, but they can also create a sense of overwhelm or stress if we are not also taking moments of self-care and keeping healthy boundaries.
The above quote is kind of humorous. Of course, green smoothies are amazing and a wonderful ally for the spring months…but all the green smoothies in the world are not going to help you if you aren’t able to manage your stress levels. Will you make smoothies one more thing on your to-do list or will you drink your green smoothie as an intentional act of self care by pausing to savor it, focus on the tastes while sitting outside and listening to the birds? There’s a big difference!
Each of us has different needs. Some of us need a lot more down time or self-care that others. I am one of those people who needs quite a lot of self-care time to stay grounded and healthy.
If you are saying to yourself, “but I don’t have time for self care,” then you are the person that needs it the most! Why not start with giving yourself 5 minutes of self-care and take it form there? Everyone really can spare 5 minutes and you’ll be happy when you notice the positive impacts.
So without further ado, let’s talk about some other ways that we can bring self-care into our lives that are aligned with the energy of spring. Below, I’m going to discuss movement, skincare, mental decluttering, and some herbal allies for spring!
Spring is the season of aliveness, movement, and expansion. It’s time to get moving and bring that energy and vitality to your body. This is definitely an act of self care! Movement can range from gentle to intense, scripted to unscripted, stand alone or incorporated into daily activities. Can you guess my favorite way to move? Gardening!
Here are some other ideas for bringing in movement as self care.
- Create an upbeat playlist for spring and dance, dance, dance!
- Take a new class like yoga, pilates, tai chi, etc and actually schedule it in your calendar, then commit and do it! Maybe even do it with a friend so you can hold each other accountable.
- Go for bike rides.
- Go for hikes (bonus for forest bathing).
- Jump on a trampoline (jumping moves lymph for even more bodily spring cleaning).
- Make your floor sweeping into a movement ritual by dancing with your broom as you sweep in clockwise circles to remove old energy. Sing a song while you are at it.
- Paint your house, or a room…as you are painting pay attention to your movement. You can incorporate squats and lunges, and reaching up high is pretty decent movement in and of itself!
Declutter Your Mind
Are you ready to bring a little calm and clarity into your life this spring? Spring embodies the energy of re-creation which means it’s an opportunity for us to both recreate our physical space and recreate our mind.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in decluttering because I’m definitely not, but there’s a huge benefit to having both a decluttered space and a decluttered brain! It allows room for potential…and spring is ALL ABOUT potential!
So without getting into nitty gritty details of how to declutter you space (you can ask Marie Kondo about that one), let’s think about a simple way to declutter our minds.
My favorite activity for this isn’t really an activity at all. It’s an energy of presence. Now is a great time to bring your mind and body into awareness, which creates an energetic space within. Tune into nature by taking your shoes off and feeling your feet planted on the Earth. Spend at least 5 minutes focusing on the sensory experience.
What do you feel?
What do you Hear?
What do you smell?
What do you taste?
What do you see?
Be aware of what’s happening around you and within you. Can’t stop thinking? That’s ok! That is exactly why we do these practices…because it is a practice! If your thinking mind didn’t interrupt, you would have no need for mindfulness practices. Each time you stop to pause and focus on your body and senses, you are creating space from the mental clutter and attuning your body to the energetic pulses of the Earth.
Care for your skin
As we pull out of the dry, dark winter months, our skin is often in need of a little extra loving care. Cracked, rough, scaly skin is fairly common this time of year as we move out of the winter months.
If you just started a spring garden like me, then it may make this dryness even more intense on your hands as the soil sucks moisture from the skin. I love gardener’s salves that are infused with herbal allies which help to protect and heal cracked, chapped, dry hands. In fact, I love salves like that so much that I created one that includes 7 of my favorite skin-loving herbs plus skin softening shea butter, jojoba, and olive oil. Caring for your skin is self-care (I think gardening is too). Give yourself a hand massage while you are at it!
Skin nourishing face oils are such a wonderful way to add suppleness and nourishment to your skin in the spring! What’s more, you can use face oils as a daily ritual, where you bring mindfulness to your body through a sensorial experience (scent & touch). Massaging your face for 5 minutes with face oils calms the nervous system while improving circulation in your skin which enhances elasticity, youthfulness, and glow. Not to mention, the botanicals in facial oils are offering their unique gifts you be absorbed directly through your skin. For instance, Elevate Morning Ritual Oil contains precious Neroli essential oil which stimulates skin cells to regenerate and fights blemishes. If you must care for your skin anyway, why not make into a sensorial pleasure ritual!
I love body oiling as well! One of my favorite oils to use in the spring for body oiling is calendula oil because it is supportive of my spring detox. Calendula gets the lymph system moving and that effect is compounded when you add in the element of massage. The lymph system is one of the most overlooked systems in the body, yet one of the more important! It travels throughout the entire body, helping to eliminate waste and regulate the immune system. The lymph must flow freely for waste to be eliminated instead of building up in the body, so massage and herbs which decongest the lymph are a wonderful combination!
Bring In Plant Allies
All this aliveness of spring brings awareness to our plant allies who put on beautiful displays for the world to see. Beauty is meant to be enjoyed. Stopping to smell the roses, or any flowers in bloom, is a wonderful act of self-care in and of itself. We can receive benefits from our plant allies by just spending time with them, using them on our skin, and delighting in their internal support.
Rosemary – Here in the high desert, Rosemary is one of the first plants to bloom bright bluish purple in the spring. Like the spring sun, Rosemary helps us to shake off the winter heaviness and bring light into the darkness. She is a creature of optimism, hope, and vitality. When those final pangs of cold linger into spring, Rosemary helps us by improving circulation and blood flow to warm us up from the inside.
Dandelion – This cheerful flower, which is unfortunately scorned by so many, is actually quite the spring gift! She brings forth the sun, with her bright yellow blossoms, foretelling of warmer days to come. Dandelions are wonderfully detoxifying, which is right in line with the energy of spring cleaning. Clearing away toxins in the spring helps our body to reset after a cold and sluggish winter. Nature gives us the “medicine” we need, when we need it, so if we pay attention to what’s happening in the natural world around us, we will also tune in to what our bodies need.
Calendula – Another bearer of the sun, calendula communicates her gift through her bright orange flowers. Our bodies appreciate a little tune-up in the spring, just as our cars need occasional tune ups. The filter within our body (liver, kidneys, colon, lymph) can become congested with metabolic waste and so many plants can help us to open up or stimulate those bodily “filters” in order to allow them to work more efficiently. Calendula is one particular plant that is helpful for stimulating the movement of the lymph system, which allows toxins to be more efficiently eliminated.
Nettle – Another wild food that it plentiful during spring in many areas of the United States are Nettles. Nettles are nutritious and delicious, once you learn how to avoid the sting (one way is to pick them with gloves and then boil the leaves for 3-4 minutes or until the greens have wilted)! They are packed with iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, which our bodies tend to appreciate after a long winter. What’s more, Nettles can be wonderfully supportive for our bodies if we experience spring allergies.
Evening Primrose – One species of these beauties are currently in full and audacious bloom in my yard here in the high desert. You can find species of evening primrose all over the country, however (always be 100% sure you have correctly identified any plant you intend to ingest). This gorgeous plant is another ally that can help us the move our lymph and because of its anti-inflammatory actions, it may also help to relieve seasonal allergies!
What other self-care practices can you think of for spring that would allow you to feel an element of renewal and invigoration? I’d love to hear other suggestions via the comments below. And of course, I hope you have an absolutely marvelous spring!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and no state regulatory board licenses herbalists. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, please remember that using remedies is a personal decision. You are in charge of your own health. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others.