“What changes do you make to get ready for spring?”
That’s the question I asked yesterday at the start of my spring natural beauty workshop. Just asking the question seemed to puzzle people. Aside from switching our wardrobe, most of us don’t think about how the change of seasons might impact how we feel. But it does. Well, it does if you’re tuned into it.
Our never-changing lifestyles are a new phenomenon. Our great-grandmothers (and their great-grandmothers) would have lived in sync with the seasons because they had to. Imagine: before electricity you would naturally spend more time indoors and sleeping in the winter in the limited sunlight. In the summer you’d be more active, spending more time outside, and working later into the evening. The seasons also had a huge impact on what we ate: fresh fruit + veg just weren’t available in the colder months, so our great-grandmothers would have lived on hearty foods, root vegetables, and preserves that they’d put by for the winter. This is how humans have lived for thousands of years, it was just natural. (I imagine even in tropical countries which maybe not so dramatic, there are shifts in living during the rainy seasons…)
But not us. Oh no, we want to be exactly the same, every day, without fail. We want consistency. We want to eat strawberry smoothies in February and keep our same routine year-round.
What if making small seasonal adjustments actually made you feel better?
I’ve found that just some simple changes really work for me. So today I’m sharing three easy ways that you can bring a little more ‘spring’ness into your life this year.
3 simple ways to feel better this spring
1. Eat more greens.
Let’s think back to great-grandma again. Imagine after a winter of eating meat + potatoes, just how excited you would be to see a green vegetable again! Spring is the time to eat greens, and with good reason. In the winter, your body needs hearty warming foods to maintain your internal heat. But come spring, your body needs to prepare for warmer weather. (You’ve probably noticed how in the hot summer months, you crave cold foods or even big salads and a bowl of stew just seems unappealing. That’s really the only way we notice seasonality anymore – if we listen to our internal compass pointing us to the right foods.)
Spring is the time for cleansing and lightening up, and one of the best (and most natural) ways to do this is by eating more green vegetables. Green vegetables are energetically cooling and detoxifying, plus they’re filled with vitamins and minerals to support our bodies. In early spring especially I recommend increasing cooked greens, with a tablespoon of fat on them to increase nutrient absorption (try olive oil, grass fed butter or coconut oil.)
If you’re adventurous, add some wild greens to your diet. Wild plans have to be strong to survive their growing conditions, and they’re grown in soil very different from traditional agricultural land, which give a nice diversity in our diets (I don’t have scientific proof here, but to me it feels right to include more variety in my diet.) You might try dandelion leaves in your salad, or making my very favorite spring treat… stinging nettle soup!
2. Don’t leap into your summer routine – yet.
It can be tempting to switch into your summer clothes and dive full-on into smoothies and salads on the first nice day of spring. But not only is spring weather really fickle (especially here in London!), our bodies aren’t quite ready to go from bundled-up winter to shorts-and-flip-flops summer.
If it’s still cool where you are in early spring, I recommend keeping the raw foods to a minimum (raw foods like salads are very cooling to the body – great in the summer, but not so great in March!) and instead transition slowly from cooked vegetables to raw vegetables.
You should also keep drinking warming teas, like ginger, cinnamon or chai. And don’t go totally bare yet. You can start to show some skin but keep a lightweight scarf handy to put around your neck. (I’m studying a lot of traditional chinese medicine recently, and they say that the cold wind enters your body and causes illness through the back of your neck. Interesting, since while studying in France in college, my French host-mother was always giving me scarves and insisting I kept my neck and throat covered to stay well. Maybe there’s something to it?)
3. Do a gentle cleanse.
Detoxing is so trendy, especially in spring. But you don’t need to do a 7 day juice fast to get the benefits. Our bodies are always detoxifying, and we can support those natural processes this time of year with a few simple changes. First, eat more green vegetables (have I said this enough?) Make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day (including herbal teas.) You might try an herbal tea blend which contains dandelion root which is supportive to the liver (one of our major detox organs) – I like this dandelion + rooibos chai.
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS: How do you change your routine for spring? What are you going to try this year?