Spring is a favourite season among many people. Theres a sense of hope as the cold dark days of winter disappear, and signs of new beginnings, vision, growth, and prosperity, shows itself via warm weather and budding plant life. Yet this is a time where people often catch a cold, get frequent headaches or migraines, have a lot of anxiety, insomnia, skin breakouts, or fluctuating emotional issues.
Below are a few tips to make your transition into spring a good one.
- Resist the urge to underdress
Always wear or bring a scarf and an extra layer with you when you’re out and wear clothing that breaks the wind. Just like autumn, spring is a time of year where a lot of people catch a cold. This is because of rapidly changing weather patterns and people not wearing enough protective clothing. In Chinese Medicine, “wind” is said to carry pathogens and can lodge into joints and muscles causing anything from pain, to skin problems, to cold/flu/viruses. Always make sure to cover your neck when its, cold, damp, or windy outside. Also, be sure to protect any injured areas from the elements as well- if you have low back pain, skip the crop top, if you have wrist or hand issues, keep wearing gloves until its fully warm outside.
2 . Eat more green leafy vegetables
It’s always a good idea to eat with the seasons. This means eating food that’s growing in the region where you live, at that time of year. Of course, in our globalize world, we eat food from all over the world, all year wrong, and that’s great too. But it’s still a good idea to think seasonally. In the winter it’s common to eat heavier, richer, saltier and more preserved or processed foods. We generally exercise a lot less as the cold, dark days are not as appealing to be out and about. The combo of less exercise with more richer, processed foods, leads to a buildup in the system and it’s common for people to feel bogged down. This can show up as poor digestion, low mood or seasonal depression, brain fog, weight gain and so on. This is why it’s common in many cultures around the world, to do a cleanse or fast in the spring. Dark leafy green vegetables are generally the first vegetables that come out of the ground after the long winter. They also support liver function which has a large role in the breakdown of fats, sugars, and toxins in the body. So if you’re feeling like you want to shake off the heaviness of winter, try adding more greens in your diet.
3. Balance Yin and Yang
There’s a tendency to want to do it all at this time of year. Spring cleaning, working, planning, going on trips, exercising more, seeing more friends and family, gardening and staying up later into the night. These are all wonderful things but sometimes this can be a little too much all at once. This can lead to overwhelm, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, anger or frustration, migraines or neck pain. Make sure to balance this sudden increase of activity (Yang) with Yin things such as cooling and light foods, staying hydrated, meditation, getting a massage, acupuncture, or other treatments that you like that helps you de-stress. Try to get to bed at a good time as much as possible.
Written by Ashton Shearer, R.TCMP, R.ac
Ashton is available for acupuncture, herbal medicine and cupping treatments, here at Regeneration Station Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays.
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What is self-care?
Self-care can be defined many ways.
The WHO (World Health Organization) defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-care as “health care provided by oneself often without the consultation of a medical professional.”
I often think of self-care as a continued effort to address personal needs and desires and to then act on those thoughts/needs/desires.
For example, I do not enjoy eating in the morning. In fact, I find it quite difficult to eat anything at all. This usually leads me to feeling incredibly hungry and irritated by 1pm.
I have come to recognize that this habit of not eating is not good for me. My body requires fuel for the day, and furthermore, becoming angry at 1pm daily is not a great way to live.
So, I drink a smoothie. This small act of self-care has huge influence on the rest of my day. My mood is stable, my energy levels are good, and I feel ready to take on anything!
Another recent change I have made is taking better care of my body. I tore a ligament in my knee many years ago and only got around to getting surgery two years back. After surgery, I did not go to a physiotherapist like I should have. I let my knee heal on its own and did not work on it at all.
A year after the surgery I still had pain in my knee and could not walk properly.
Thankfully, I have begun to work with Rakki Dia, the Kinesiologist here at Regeneration Station, and she has put me on a path to having full range of motion and full muscles back in my left leg!
After so many years of limping and weakness, I lost a significant amount of strength and balance. Thanks to my own act of self-care, I finally decided to seek help and put the work in.
I am now on the path to walking properly with no pain!
Self-care, once practised daily, quickly becomes instinct. It was not long after beginning these new self-care practises that I was booking in monthly to get a registered massage!
I am proud to say that I now practise self-care daily. Sometimes in the form of exercise. Sometimes in the form of getting treatments at Regeneration Station. Sometimes in the form of treating myself to a lovely lunch somewhere!
All I know is that no matter the way I decide to practise self-care, it is something I must do daily and keep at the forefront of my mind. After all, as the old expression goes; you cannot pour from an empty cup!
Comment below on some of the self-care practises that you enjoy!
By Alec Le RayLearn More