Because this is your charge, March and April can be a tough emotional months and transitions to navigate. You're getting cabin fever, but the weather isn't going to allow you to lounge outside with that latte quite yet. Your beautiful yellow daffodils open up, only to be crushed by heavy snow. Your blossom trees freeze in an ice storm and you don't know if they'll set fruit or even survive. You're slopping around in mud and slush and it seems like your boots will never be clean and dry. You always seem to have an open umbrella in the hallway airing out. You may feel tired, blue and worn out just as the weather is starting to warm up. You need a plan so that you can approach that fresh season with energy and high spirits.
The remedy: Embrace the change with some smart strategies and some positive thinking informed by the knowledge of what this spring cleaning time is all about. This means "greening up" your diet (and no, that doesn't mean shamrock shakes or green beer), doing some detoxing, seeking healthy heat therapies, moving as much as you can, and getting some extra sleep to help adjust to the time change of Daylight Savings. Let's start (but not END) with diet:
Good Breakfast Choices:
- “Thai” Smoothie (apple or pear, ginger, natural peanut butter, coconut milk, almond milk, frozen banana, cinnamon)
- “Gingerbread” Smoothie (apple, frozen banana, ginger, almond milk, molasses, garam masala, cinnamon)
- Green Juice (Spinach or Kale, Cucumber, Apple, Mint, Celery, Grapes, Ginger & Lemon--any or all of the above are great)
- Fuschia Juice (Beet, Apple, Carrot, Lemon, Ginger). Drink less often, but for a fun change of pace.
- Stewed apples/pears (cook an apple, chopped large, in a small saucepan with a bit of water or apple cider, and a few cloves, add a lemon peel. Feel free to add prunes.
- Oatmeal with maple syrup or stewed apples
- Corn mush with maple syrup or stewed apples
- Chia pudding—seeds soaked overnight in almond milk with vanilla extract, dried cranberries, almond slivers and unsweetened coconut—add cinnamon and nuts upon eating, if desired.
- Green Tea
- Everyday Detox Tea
Good Lunch Choices:
- Green Salad—lots of veggies/greens with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
- Roasted or Steamed Squash, Steamed Greens
- Tonic Soup (broth with ginger and garlic) with Greens and mushrooms and green onions, add some buckwheat noodles
- Lentil Soup with greens
- Vegetable Stir-Fry with Quinoa
- Artichoke with lemon/olive oil, steamed veggies with brown rice
- Asparagus, asparagus, asparagus
- Edamame/Green Peas with brown rice, lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs
- Pureed green pea/arugula soup
- Fish, eggs or tofu for protein
- Green Tea
- Everyday detox tea
- Drink a cup of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning, followed by green tea throughout the day, a detox tea or lemon tea into the evening.
MOVE!!! Take a walk outside or do a walk/exercise dvd inside. If it’s rainy then grab an umbrella. Go for at least 30 minutes. Take in the weather, landscape, sights, smells and sounds. If it's just too depressing, then do indoor exercise but do not skip it. Take yoga classes. Bounce on a mini-trampoline. Jump rope. Lift weights--get a dvd for instruction, or look something up on You Tube. No excuses, there are so many options nowadays.
HEAT THERAPY: to combat all that cold dampness, drink lots of hot/clear liquids and if you have access to a sauna or whirlpool bath, use it. If not, then run a hot bath (if your skin is dry and itchy, add colloidal oatmeal to the water). Or, if you cannot take a bath, run a hot shower and add a few shakes of eucalyptus oil to the shower stall. Use body butter or massage oil on your skin afterwards to ward off dryness. Soak your feet in a basin with hot water and Epsom salts, add an essential oil like lavender or eucalyptus. If you want an upgrade, buy a "foot spa". I purchased a Homedics one for $39.99 on Walmart's site. What's wonderful is that the water stays perfectly warm. Marvelous and easy luxury!
SKIN THERAPY: My latest easy favorite, inexpensive Korean facial mask sheets, I put one on while having that hot bath. Clean your face nightly with cold cream, it cleanses and moisturizes. I also love a high quality face cream (my latest crush is Charlotte Tillbury's Magic Cream).
SOUL THERAPY: Find some good reading material. Now is a great time to delve into a spiritual book you've always wanted to read. Something by the Pema Chodron, or Surya Rama Das, or Eckhart Tolle, anything that examines life and your place in the universe. It's also a great time to dive into the work of a favorite poet. Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost---whatever you find feeds your soul. I like to read a poem first thing in the morning while drinking my hot water, do it before opening email or social media. My latest favorite is Hart Crane--an Ohioan who unfortunately killed himself at age 37. He used language like no one I've ever seen. So lyrical.
MORE SOUL THERAPY: Visit your local botanical gardens (it really can be a salve at this time or year), the art museum, a natural history museum, a concert or lecture at the library. Give yourself the gift of more knowledge. Water and nurture your mind.
Remember, May is around the corner, leaves will bud and open, flowers will bloom, sunny days will arrive, heavy sweaters will go back into the dresser drawers.
March into spring like a gentle and wise warrior!