Stepping into spring: three mature women sat cross legged outdoors alongside a lake practising yoga.

10 wellbeing tips to step into spring

Spring has arrived. The time of year when the hibernation of winter draws to an end, and we can start to crawl out from under the duvet and unbatten the hatches.

In place of winter is the promise of lighter and brighter days and nights.  Nature has redecorated, and is blooming with spring flowers and awash with greener pastures.  If that wasn’t enough to lure us back out, the birds are singing and fields are enriched with new wild and farm animal life.

Spring is the season for renewal and new beginnings and, like nature, we too may feel the desire to shed our winter coats and dawn our spring attire.

Nature, along with our body and mind, knows exactly what to do to shift seasons.

However, there is a lot about the modern world that separates us from our true nature, and I believe it never hurts to give nature a helping hand.

Aligning with the seasons

Often called the sister science of yoga, Ayruveda is one of the oldest recorded wellbeing systems.  It is believed to have been developed thousands of years ago in India and is one of the Vedas, which yoga is also part of.

It approaches health holistically, and is principally concerned with prevention and keeping the body in balance – so that it remains in optimal working order.

It works on the premise that we are all made up of a mix of the five elements – ether, air, fire, water, and earth.  These five elements take the form of 3 constitutions or doshas named Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Our unique blend of the doshas determines our mind-body type.  They manifest to influence our mental, physical, and emotional tendencies which, according to Ayurveda, are given to us to help us fulfil our life purpose.

This is a huge subject in itself, which when explored can help us to understand our nature a little better.  Subsequently, it provides an opportunity to make diet and lifestyle choices that promote mental and physical balance and wellbeing.

Along with each of us having our own blend of the doshas, each dosha also has a time of life, time of day, and time of year.

As we move from winter to spring, Kapha, with the elements of earth and water, is the dosha that predominately rules the roost.

In and out of balance

Those who have a dominant kapha dosha are likely to be warm and friendly, strong, steady, and calm.  That loyal friend you turn to when you want a listening ear, and whose home is always cosy and welcoming.  The one you may envy for their luscious thick hair, radiant skin, and large soft eyes.

However, out of balance kapha can be prone to slow digestion, weight gain, fluid retention, allergies, and low mood.  They can be challenging to get motivated and moving, favouring instead more time in bed or in front of the TV.

Whilst this may, or may not, sound a little, or a lot, like you, it does sound a lot like the transition from winter to spring – don’t you think?

So, what can we do to step into spring and balance kapha to boot?

Well, that is exactly the premise of this blog …

Getting support

Before we dive in, a word to the wise.

This is a generic and lighthearted blog, aimed at informing and inspiring those wanting to enhance their day-to-day experience.

It is not aimed at those who have specific physical or mental health challenges.

If this is you, I recommend seeking the support of a medical professional or specialist.

Giving yourself and nature a helping hand

All of the strategies shared below are aimed at giving ourselves, nature and kapha a helping hand – in transitioning to the new spring season.

You will notice that, for the most part, these do not need to financially cost much, if anything at all.  However, whilst the best things in life may be free, please don’t feel that you need to do them all!

It is much better to pick a couple of things that are achievable and fit with your lifestyle, goals, and daily commitments.  Rather than feel demotivated by an overwhelming laundry list of things to do.

1. Spring clean

Now, I love a spring clean and could happily write a whole blog on this!

Whilst spring cleaning will of course result in a cleaner and more organised environment, it can also have a significant impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.

If our home or work environment feels an unclean, cluttered, and disorganised mess, then it is likely to be a stressor that can rob us of our peace at home or work and of mind.  In contrast, when you feel that your environment is somewhat in good shape and under control, it is more likely to be a positive to your mental health.

There are physical benefits to a spring clean too.  We are in the season of respiratory issues with hayfever and asthma, both benefiting from a clean environment to live, work, and sleep in.

In terms of going about sprucing things up a bit, you might like to pick a room a week or create a list of things to slowly tackle throughout the spring season … or beyond.  Or if funds allow, consider enlisting someone to help you break the back of it.

You don’t need to go overboard.  If we get too consumed by having the perfect environment, then it is likely to work in reverse and compromise our mental and physical wellbeing.  Excess pitta dosha – but that’s another story!

I personally like to line up getting the garden summer ready, then bedding it back down for winter, in line with the clocks changing.  Whilst there are some years where this doesn’t exactly line up with our lovely UK weather, it gives me a sense of an evening out of the year.

I also switch wardrobes for spring/summer and autumn/winter.  This provides more space and I enjoy the feeling this gives of having new clothes to wear.  Along with an opportunity to let go of any unused or unwanted items to charity, and worn-out items to recycling.

A spring clean is an opportunity to let go of anything that is no longer serving you and to make space for the new, but it doesn’t need to stop at the physical environment.

2. Consider a cleanse

A cleanse or detox can relieve the body of any build-up of toxins and give it an opportunity to rest and restore, whilst potentially creating some positive new nutritional habits.

If you would like to explore or plan a cleanse or detox, then check out the fabulous Cytoplan Blog, ‘How to Detox’

If this is stretch too far, particularly for our kapha friends who are likely to find limiting food challenging, then you might like to simply start to move away from the comforting winter foods to more lighter spring choices.  Building in lots of fresh produce flavoured with stimulating spices like cumin, chilli, cayenne, and pepper to get those kapha systems moving.  Along with upping your hydration, supported by herbal teas such as lemon and ginger, to again help stimulate and flush out toxins.

There are many benefits to eating seasonally, both to our own health and wellbeing and to the environment. If this is something you are not doing already and would like to explore, Love British Food provides a simple list of ‘what’s in season when’.

In Ayurveda, tongue scraping is a simple technique that helps to remove any build-up of toxins, or ama, as it is known in Ayurveda.  Think about that delightful whiteish coating that might appear, particularly following an ingestion of excess.  You can usually get a tongue scraper from health stores or the chemist, or purchase a ‘u’ shaped metal one online. You might also like to check out Healthline’s ‘5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue and How To Do It’ for further information on the why’s and how’s of tongue scraping – if you are unsure.

3. Spring is in the air!

Our senses are a powerful way to invoke and to experience the new season, perhaps without even needing to step outside.

Visualisation is a powerful technique that can see you capitalise on those spring vibes.

Simply close your eyes and spend a few moments conjuring up an image of the sights, sounds, and scent of spring, and see if it lifts or shifts your mood?

Or perhaps pop a couple of drops of an uplifting essential oil, like lemongrass, in the base of the shower of a morning and enjoy the aroma whilst you shower.  Or utilise an oil burner to fill your home with your favourite uplifting spring scent.

Perhaps these techniques will inspire you to get up and get out in nature.  Or of course you can simply open the windows and let nature flood in and freshen up your environment.

4. Clean out the pipes

Talking of using one’s nose, those prone to hay fever may find it starts to get a bit itching and sneezy this time of year.

A Neti Pot is another Ayurvedic technique that is on hand to help and is great for Kapha imbalance.  Basically, a neti pot is a little teapot device, that you fill with sterile saltwater or a saline solution, that is used to flush out mucus, allergens, and bacteria from the nasal passages. They are not expensive, and you can usually pick them up in health stores and certainly online.

It is important to use either distilled or previously boiled and cooled water – as tap water is not safe to use as a nasal rinse.  Equally important is to keep the device clean and use a high-grade salt.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Fill your neti-pot with distilled water and approximately a teaspoon of high-grade salt.
  2. Lean over a sink, tilt your head to one side with your forehead and chin approximately level. This helps to avoid the liquid going into your mouth.
  3. Breathing through your mouth, insert the sprout into the upper nostril allowing about half the liquid to disperse and drain into the lower nostril.
  4. Gently clear your nostrils and then repeat on the other side.

Further information and benefits are detailed in the Yoga Journal article, ‘Nasal Health to Benefit the Entire Body’

5. Move more

You may be as fit as a fiddle post winter but equally you may be feeling a bit kapha sluggish and out of shape.

Whatever your dosha, spring is an opportunity to get outside and get back on track – should you wish or need to.

Any energy left in the tank, after all that spring cleaning, then you might like to turn your attention to a spot of gardening.  Assuming you have a garden, it is probably yearning to get you outside to nurture or tend to it.

Alternatively, you might like to make the most of the lighter mornings and evenings and top and/or tail the day with a walk or jog – in nature if possible.  Or dust off the bicycle to use for the daily commute or the odd trip from A to B.

Or how about joining a fitness type class that takes your fancy.  Along with increasing fitness, exercising in groups is a great way of getting you out of the house, connecting with others and boosting motivation.

6. Skin deep

A key function of the lymphatic system, working alongside the circulatory system, is to provide a variety of detoxification functions.

In order to function optimally this requires the muscles and joints to be mobile, otherwise it can become sluggish resulting in, amongst other things, fluid retention, fatty deposits, and cellulite. Another reason to move more!

Next let’s look at two techniques that profess to give the lymphatic and circulatory systems a bit of a boost and influence the appearance of the skin.

Dry skin brushing

One such way is detailed in the Healthline Article ‘The Benefits and Risks of Dry Brushing’

There are some contraindications to this technique, detailed in the article, so it is worth having a closer read – particularly if you have any skin conditions or sensitive skin.

Otherwise, assuming you have a natural fibre brush and a few spare minutes, here is the technique described in the article:

  1. Start at your feet and move up your body.
  2. Brush your skin using wide, circular, clockwise motions.
  3. Use light pressure in areas where your skin is thin and harder pressure on thicker skin, like the soles of your feet.
  4. Brush your arms after you have brushed your feet, legs, and mid-section. You should brush upward towards your armpits.
  5. After dry brushing, take a cool shower to help remove the dry skin.
  6. After your shower, dry off and then consider adding natural plant oil, such as olive or coconut oil, to moisturize your skin.

Tapping

A similar technique is tapping which allegedly aligns to the energy channels in the body.  I have been doing this since my first yoga teacher training in 2012, where I learnt this technique.  I have no idea of its origin or accuracy, but I can attest to it being a great tension buster, an energiser, and it also feels pretty good!

Below is the technique with, where appropriate, the energy channel I was advised it relates to – shown in brackets:.

  1. Gently tap all over head (releasing pineal and pituitary glands)
  2. Tap back of neck with soft fingers
  3. Use fist to gently tap shoulder and side of neck. Cup hand and continue down outside of arms (small and large intestine) to finger tips and back up inside of arm (lung and heart meridians) to armpit (lymph nodes)
  4. Tap fists on chest, activating the thymus gland (immune system)
  5. Lean to one side and tap with fist around buttock area.
  6. Feel into sciatic point with thumb, rub and press whilst focussing on breath.
  7. Pummel around buttock area and tap with cupped hands down outside, inside, fronts and backs of legs (activating bladder, liver, and spleen)
  8. Massage feet and achilles (seat of uterus – caution for pregnancy)

7. Community

If you have been in hibernation, friendships and social interactions may have been put on the back burner.

Winter can be a lonely time of year, and spring brings with it an opportunity to dust off the diary and pop a few more things in it.

Whether it simply be catching up with friends, on one of those morning or evening walks, or scheduling in some holidays and events to look forward to.

If you are looking to establish new friendship circles, perhaps consider booking into a course, trying a new hobby, or volunteering some of your time to a local charity.  A great way of meeting new people whilst learning new skills and/or supporting the community.

8. Lift your mood

I mentioned earlier that those with a kapha imbalance can be prone to low mood.

If we give the body a boost, through nutrition and movement, we are likely to also experience a positive shift to our mind and our mood. The body and mind are in the same vessel.

Add to this some positive shifts to our physical environment, through a spot of spring cleaning and gardening, and we are likely to feel better about ourselves and our lives.

A good spring practice that supports the vessel of the body and mind, is a ‘walking meditation’ which is also incidentally one of the best practices for kapha.

In layman’s terms, the idea is that you walk slowly and mindfully whilst doing your best to connect with yourself and your environment in the present moment.

If you would prefer to follow a guided walking meditation, you might like to check out one from mindful ‘A Guided Meditation for Daily Life’ which provides a written and recorded 12-minute guided meditation.

Another practice you might like to try is a rainbow meditation.  Here the aim is to notice everything you can see under the colours of the rainbow on your walk:  red, yellow, pink, blue, orange, purple and green.  Switching colours whenever the mood takes.

If meditation is not your thing, how about listening to an inspiring podcast or create a new playlist, of energising and uplifting music, to listen or move to.

Another option is to include some feel good movies or TV shows to your planner or books to your reading list.

Or you might like to pop on one of those spring outfits, your spring clean uncovered, in a bright colour to literally lighten and brighten up your appearance and in turn your mood.

9. Utilise the breath

Many practices, such as mindfulness and yoga, utilise the breath knowing it is a powerful tool for both eliciting relaxation and boosting energy.

In an earlier blog, ‘let the breath be your guide’, I explained the benefits and mechanics of breathing, and provided 10 different breathing practices that develop and influence the breath.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to provide two breathing techniques that work to increase oxygen and temporarily stimulate the sympathetic nervous system – invigorating and energising the body and mind.

However, these do both come with a caution in that the sudden increase in oxygen can make you feel light headed.  If this happens then stop the exercise.  Or you may like to breathe naturally for a few minutes and then continue.

Bellows Breath

Stand with a straight but relaxed spine and your feet shoulder-width distance apart.

  • Inhale through your nose as you raise your arms out sideways.
  • Exhale through your mouth as you bend your arms, and bring your elbows close to your ribs.

Complete 15 – 30 repetitions:

  • 5-10 slow
  • 5-10 medium
  • 5-10 fast

The Breath of Joy

The below version of the breath of joy is a great way to start the day, or for when you are feeling a bit flat and in need of an energy boost.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel, knees slightly bent.

  • Inhale one-third of your lung capacity as you lift your arms up in front of your body, bringing them parallel to each other at shoulder level, with palms facing the ceiling.
  • Continue inhaling to two-thirds capacity as you bring your arms out to the sides to shoulder level.
  • Inhale to full capacity as you lift your arms towards the ceiling, palms facing each other.
  • Open your mouth and exhale completely with an audible ‘ha’ sound as you bring your arms back to the sides.

Complete 5 – 10 repetitions.

10. Spa time

If time and funds allow you might like to head to an actual spa for a spot of pampering. Perhaps including a treatment or two that enhances the radiance of the skin or targets the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

However, you don’t need to leave the house or splash out on expensive treatments to give yourself a bit of TLC.

An at home spa day is a wonderful way to practice self-care and support your body and mind in shifting seasons.

I recommend planning ahead in terms of your schedule, food, and products.  This allows you to simply relax and enjoy your chosen day, or whatever time you allocate.

If you are looking for some ideas and inspiration, check out a blog by the natural spa factory, ‘DIY spa day at home: recreate professional treatments on a budget’


Headshot of guest blog writer, Bev Alderson. Bev is seated and wears a red, three quarter length sleeve top.Bev Alderson

Bev Alderson is a Mindfulness, Yoga and Stress Management Consultant who works with individuals, groups and workplaces.

Having spent 18+ years in management in the IT industry, in both the UK and Australia, Bev learnt first-hand the impacts of a high-pressure environment and lifestyle and how, left unchecked, this can negatively impact performance and health.

Today, through her business Practically Balanced, Bev brings authenticity to the work she does, drawing upon her personal experiences, management capabilities and expertise in mindfulness, stress resilience, yoga and more.

Bev completed a Diploma in Yoga with the highly respected Qi Yoga School in Sydney in 2012 and with Sivananda in India in 2015. She also completed a Certificate in Stress Management with the London Centre for Coaching and Counselling in 2014, an ILM with the Stress Management Society in 2014 and a Diploma in Meditation with the British School of Meditation in 2016.


With many thanks to Bev for this blog. If you have any questions regarding the health topics that have been raised, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via e-mail or phone:

nutrition@cytoplan.co.uk
01684 310099

The Cytoplan Editorial Team

Last updated on 4th April 2024 by cytoffice


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