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Ahhh – spring is in the air. It heralds an exciting energy of growth, renewal, and change – not just in nature, but also for us. I expect that this holds especially true for this past year of unprecedented stress and uncertainty.
Your body may already signalling you that it is overloaded. Some signs that your system is not working efficiently include:
- bloating and digestive issues such as cramping, constipation or nausea
- skin rashes or complexion issues
- weight gain
- nasal or sinus congestion
Whether you are looking for some relief from any of the above symptoms, or you simply want to kickstart your metabolism, here are some gentle and effective changes you can incorporate to starting feeling lighter and healthier.
1. Breathe. It sounds so simple, but it is so critical. We simply don’t oxygenate our cells like we should. Deep breathing helps to rebalance your nervous system and energizes your cells. In order to breathe in fully, you need to exhale fully. This video explains a favourite technique to breathe well. I recommend doing it before meals to aid in digestion, as well as before bed to facilitate sleep. It is also important to breathe outside in the fresh air, as the outdoor air quality is cleaner and ionized compared to indoor air. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes outside daily to get this important nutrient into your daily routine.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Life gets busy, and we forget to drink. Water is the universal solvent in our systems. The easiest way to re-activate a thirst reflex is to simply start the day with a large glass of warm water (a squeeze of fresh lime juice optional). If you start your day with water early, you will tend to drink more all day long. Aim to drink (in oz) half of your body weight (in lbs – eg. if you weigh 150 lbs, then try to get in 75 oz of water, about 9 glasses per day). If you are not used to drinking that much, or that most of your fluid intake are caffeinated drinks like coffee, cola or tea, then increase your water intake by 1/2 cup every week until you reach your goal. Take it low and slow.
3. Move. Our bodies were designed to move, every day. Movement helps to support our circulation and move our lymphatic fluid which in turn facilitates detoxification. Not only does it facilitate physical detoxification, exercise is also important for emotional health. Physical activity actually stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the region of the brain that controls mood, which helps to relieve depression.¹
4. Skin brushing. Cheap and cheerful, this daily task helps to clean your blood by moving the fluid that is stuck in your lymphatic system back into your circulation. Simply use an exfoliating mitt or washcloth and gently make small strokes in the direction of your heart, before you turn on the shower. It only takes a few minutes and is oh so invigorating.
5. Eliminate! Your body only has four exits – your lungs, your skin, your kidneys and your bowels. All of these exits need to be purged daily. If you do the deep breathing in step 1, drink water in step 2, brush your skin daily (or every second day) in step 4, then the last remaining exit are your intestines. Your bowels need to move 2-3x/day. Anything less and your body is resorbing toxins from your intestine – ugh. For sluggish bowels, try increasing your water and/or fibre intake. Fibre can be easily added using ground flax or chia seeds or cleansing vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. Another option is to supplement magnesium citrate , or take an epsom salt bath (with 2 cups of bath salts) to help get things more regular.
Incorporate one or more of these strategies into your daily routine and it will only be a matter of days before you begin feeling the surge of more energy, more optimism and a healthy body that feels (and looks) great. Spring into action and spring-clean both your body and your life. Radiant health can be yours this season. Don’t do it as a chore, but rather an act of self-care and self-love. You deserve it.