Spring Equinox has arrived!
The interplay between your external and internal environment is the foundation of Chinese medicine practice and is key to your health. Season changes aren't just about shifts in weather patterns, they impact your whole body - physically, mentally, emotionally. From a Chinese medicine perspective, your health cannot be separated from your environment - one influences the other. Major seasonal shifts, like the movement from winter into spring, calls for some major shifts in your internal environment. Internal environment is the result of what you eat, drink, and think, along with what activities you engage in. Winter in Canada is pretty slow, dark, and quiet by nature and our instinct to 'Netflix and chill' with some butter mashed potatoes and steak on our plate is a sensical one. But don't be fooled by your habits - they can deceive you! Netflix and chill works in the winter when the world is naturally in hibernation mode, but spring is a different beast. The nature of spring is much more active, fresh, and energetic. To maintain your health and harmony, a spring tune-up might be in order!
Here are some recommendations for getting your mind-body on board:
Drink more water. What was once frozen and rigid in winter is now warming up. The movement of the fluid flushes down the mountains to cleanse the hillsides of decomposed debris from the fall. Your body goes into a natural detox mode in a similar fashion. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is for your body to undergo this natural process; if not, the junk dams up inside causing breakouts in your skin, irritation in your mind, and others symptoms such as headaches.
*Tip: squeeze a lemon wedge into your daily glass of H20. The sour flavour stimulates the detoxification pathways of the liver and will help invigorate the digestive organs!
Eat your sprouts. Those weird, stringy things that resemble hair, are the young versions of some very potent foods. Broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and radish sprouts are packed with anti-cancer compounds and other molecules that help detoxify your cells. They are great in salads, wraps, or on burgers!
Get Creative. Creativity is associated with this season. Indulging in projects - painting, photography, woodwork, writing, etc - helps move the energy of the mind and reduces the risk of getting stuck in a melancholic winter mood as the world starts to wake up around you.
Get active. This doesn't necessarily require explaining. The birds, the worms, the plants are all moving around - it's natural with this season change. Break your winter habits and go for a walk after dinner or get up a little earlier in time to hit a yoga class. Whatever works, just move :)
The key is to pay attention, this is always the greatest guide when it comes to your own health. Your body will tell you what you need. If you need some help, book in with your local acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practitioner. They'll work with you to tweak your meals, exercise, sleep, and daily activities so you can optimize the Spring energy bubbling up. The alternative? Suffering through the next two months, fighting with yourself and everyone around you, as you can't quite get into the flow.
Yep, if you're feeling crazy, go get poked!