Originally published in Elephant Journal.
Spring is a great time to hit the reset button both on and off the yoga mat.
When the daylight hours begin to increase, the nice weather days increase too.
Spring is a dance—we are beginning to dust off the stagnation and heaviness of winter. Colorful foods are starting to make their way to the farmers markets, and the longer days may give us all an extra burst of energy.
But spring is also a potent time to listen to your needs so you don’t become frazzled.
It is a great time to do a cleanse, engage in some spring cleaning, and become aligned with what really nourishes you—in your body and in life in general.
If winter is a teacher to help us be more comfortable with rest and deep self-care, spring shines a light on what we need to do to feel invigorated and balanced while taking on new ventures.
How do we stay calm and feel nourished while our schedule changes, or the demands of life increase?
This spring I’ve been challenged a lot more than I expected to be. I went through an intensive cleanse in March called The Whole 30 in an attempt to become more aligned with what makes my body feel good, and also to get a skin rash under control.
In that process, I’ve learned a lot about my crutches and all the “healthy food” I’ve been eating that did not align with my body, or help my mood! The craziest part was that I didn’t notice this until I began to remove certain foods. And when I re-introduced certain foods into my diet, a shift had occurred and I could feel the effects, both good and bad.
I am a believer that this “spring cleaning” mindset can apply to the ways we fill our time as well, and can make us more aware of what makes us happy or cranky.
Here are three things you can do now to spring clean your body and mind:
1. Start an activity/mood journal.
Get a notebook or simply write down on a sheet of paper how you feel before engaging in a certain activity (like watching television or going to a party) and then go back to your journal and record how you feel after that activity. Write down what’s going on in your mind, body, and emotions.
Be honest. There are no right or wrong answers. It is just an assessment to see how certain activities you engage in may be positively or negatively affecting you on a regular basis.
You can repeat this process with food. For one day, log your energy and mood before you eat each meal or snack, as well as after. Notice if anything surprises you.
2. Get outside a bit more.
Even if you are an urban dweller like me, there are simple ways you can add connection to nature in your life.
During your lunch break, instead of eating inside, try eating outdoors. Take a five minute walk outside (without your cell phone). Do this at least two to three times each week. You will notice the difference in your mood and mid-day energy.
3. Get active—try something new.
Spring is a great time to be more active. If you practice yoga, now is a great time to try something new. This could mean trying a new pose for the first time, or simply starting to move a bit more on your own, in addition to going to class.
You could start your day with some cat-cow stretches and a downward facing dog before you walk out the door or do three rounds of sun salutations.
This time of year I also love to go on hikes—the wildflowers are so beautiful.
I hope you found these simple tips helpful and have a lovely spring!