Another treat awaits our readers this week. Here in Oz we are loving the fullness and vitality of a beautiful spring. As I sit at my table writing with the french doors open to the garden, the scent of Banksia roses drifts into the room. Spring is simply glorious. Julia Richards is a medical herbalist living in Yorkshire and a regular contributor to Viva70. This month she gifts her expertise and wisdom again to help us make the most out of this wonderful season. Thanks you Julia..Love your work!
If you live in the Southern hemisphere spring has sprung. Buds and bulbs have burst open revealing new leaves and flowers, days have been longer and warmer and the sun has been shining (Viva70 has been posting lots of signs of spring on Instagram.) All up, this can make you feel brighter, more energetic, eager to get things done, wanting to exercise more and eat lighter. This new lease of life is not surprising because Spring is the season for new beginnings and increased energy. Following Mother Nature’s lead, we can harness the qualities of Spring to enhance our productivity and health.
Previously in Viva70 we looked at how to work with the energy of winter. ( 2 July ’19) Let’s put Spring into perspective by considering the qualities of the other seasons and reviewing the diagram below that shows the main quality of each season and the mind-set that it brings. Aligning our tasks, environment, diet, exercise and mind-set with the seasons helps create a state of flow. It brings balance to our lives through the rhythm of the seasons and therefore helps prevent burn out.
Working with the energy of Spring
Spring is all about taking action after winter’s hibernation. So, if your New Year’s resolutions have dwindled, now is the time to reignite them.
Work and life projects
Spring is the time for new ideas and insights. It’s also when you’ll have the most physical and mental energy, making it a great time to work on your most challenging tasks and projects. These could include implementing new financial plans, new house projects, meeting new people, changing career or hobby focus, new ways of making income and learning a new skill or sport. Remember, in order to start new things you must make space by clearing out the old.
Things to do:
- Create space for brainstorming and innovation by considering, what existing commitments and tasks you have that are preventing the budding of new growth? These are usually things that drain you. Can you delegate or get rid of them? What activities can you add into your schedule that will fuel and excite you? Read more about determining what’s fuelling and draining you here.
- Determine some goals for the next few months or year. Over winter, you might have been thinking about things you want to achieve or they might have popped up in your brainstorming.
- Write down a few work or life project goals. Make sure they are things that excite you. If not, keep brainstorming. Write down the first action steps you can take towards achieving your goals.
- TAKE THE FIRST STEPS whilst your energy is high.
Feng Shui (the art of placement to create harmony between yourself and your environment) experts and professional organisers will tell you that your environment has a major impact on your energy and mood. It’s time to Spring clean and declutter your home and work environment.
Things to do:
- Systematically go through each area of your environment to declutter and clean. A popular approach at the moment is to follow the Konmari method. Look here for recipes on spring cleaning your home with natural products.
- Implement spring feng shui tips: open windows and doors as often as you can to let in fresh air; change up some of your home decor accents to bright and light spring colours; bring inside potted flowering plants and fill vases with spring flowers; fill a fruit bowl with fresh seasonal fruits. Learn more about Feng Shui here.
- Burn or diffuse some essential oils for uplifting energy. The citrus oils such as lemon, orange, grapefruit and mandarin are energising. Peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, oregano and thyme are good for seasonal allergies. Learn more about aromatherapy here
Embrace the foods spring provides us with in your diet. Spring shoots and leafy green vegetables add the bitter taste into our diet. Bitters help improve digestion after the denser foods of winter. They naturally cleanse our bodies by purifying our blood and bringing energy to our cells via chlorophyll. Sour foods also stimulate the liver and gall bladder for better digestion.
Things to do:
- Add a green smoothie to your daily diet. See how to make one here.
- Enjoy big leafy green salad or sautéed greens as a main course or side dish every day.
- Drink Nettle leaf tea especially if you suffer from hay fever. It’s a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
- Add Mint leaves to drinks, salads and make tea with them. The menthol is a natural decongestant for seasonal allergies and helps with digestion.
- Add spring asparagus to your dishes regularly. It’s high in vitamin K (for blood clotting, heart and bone health) as well as copper, selenium, B vitamins.
- Add spring onions to dishes as these contain high amounts of polyphenols which help prevent disease and reduce oxidative stress that causes wear in our bodies. They are also natural antihistamines and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Add lemon and limes to your water and salad dressings to assist digestion.
- Add radishes to dishes as they remove waste and toxins from the stomach and liver. They are also natural diuretics and help treat urinary and kidney conditions, hydrate your skin, reduce fevers and even treat insect bites
- Seek out restaurants in your area that serve local seasonal food. Get some ideas to try at home.
- Browse at a local farmer’s market and see what fruit and veg are on offer. Choose things that appeal to you and then Google recipes with these ingredients.
With naturally increased energy, Spring is a good time to move more and sit less.
Things to do
- Stretch and strengthen with yoga and pilates.
- Do walking / jogging / cycling outside in the fresh air. Get onto the golf course, bowling green or cricket pitch.
- Start new and challenging workouts eg. training for a marathon, learning a martial art or learning to climb.
Get outside when you can to absorb some Vitamin D which you might have been lacking in over winter. It promotes bone health, proper cell differentiation and boosts immunity. Remember to have at least 10-15 minutes without sun screen on in order to absorb it.
Always seek a qualified Medical Herbalist before using herbs. Always check how the herb interacts with any medication you are taking.
Watch this space for tips on how to work with the other seasons as they emerge throughout the rest of this year.
Julia Richards is a qualified Medical Herbalist and Director of Enhance One Limited, a consultancy passionate about helping individuals, groups, families, communities and organisations be the best they can be physically, mentally and emotionally. To achieve this, Julia uses a holistic approach to help you enhance yourself by drawing on her experience and studies in personal development, life coaching, aromatherapy, nutrition, herbal medicine and other wellbeing techniques. Julia helps you design a wellbeing plan that is unique to you and works in a complementary way with your doctor or any other therapist you are seeing to help you make improvements in your health. Julia offers individual consultations and group workshops. enhanceone.com