Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Spring symbolizes a rebirth of sorts, a fresh start. It's the time when mother Earth uses the power of the sun to melt away excess stagnation from the winter months. In Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, we focus on strengthening the digestive fire, called Agni, to mimic the flows of nature better. When Agni is functioning correctly, the entire body is firing on all cylinders (quite literally).
What Is a Spring Cleanse?
The word “Spring Cleanse” can be loaded so let us clarify by saying we are not in the business of starving ourselves in the name of health, no way! We are, however, in the business of self-care and making some simple dietary changes to help you feel great!
Do you suffer from chronic digestive issues? If so, you're not alone! A recent study showed that 61% of Americans suffer from some form of indigestion. 30% suffer from heartburn and acid reflux, 24% from general abdominal pain, 20% from bloating, 20% from diarrhea, and 19% from constipation.
But did you know that there are other symptoms of improper digestion that don't manifest as indigestion? Suppose you suffer from headaches, mood swings, depression, anxiety, low immunity, skin issues, or food allergies. In that case, you might have some digestive issues to work out, and a seasonal cleanse might be a significant next step!
Tip #1- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
You can buy all the powdered greens and probiotics you want, but it won't do much unless you're fully hydrated. At one point, health experts were saying eight glasses of water a day should do this trick, but more recent research suggests one should consume one half their body weight in ounces daily. Keep in mind if you're active and lose a lot of water through sweat, consider drinking close to three-fourths of your body weight in ounces.
Hint: Consider adding some flair to your water to help promote digestion. Lemon, ginger, and mint are excellent (and delicious) ways to turn your water into a detoxing power tonic!
Tip #2- Take a Sugar Sabbatical
After the cozy winter months filled with dreamy hot cocoa, it can be nice to hit pause on processed sugars and up your water, fiber, proteins, fruits, and veggies game. When cutting things out of your diet, it's best to start slow by first skipping the sugary coffee sweetener and replace with a small amount of maple syrup instead.
After that, maybe you can try swapping your after dinner ice cream or wine for a piece of magnesium-rich dark chocolate. Feel into it and do what is best for your body. Some people like to give up all sugar (including fruits.) If you'd like to practice a more moderate approach, try checking labels before eating anything out of a package and if sugar is in the first six ingredients, skip it.
Hint: Sugar has many aliases; here are some other names it might be listed as:
Tip #3: Sweat About It!
There are three main ways the body detoxes naturally. Bowel movements, urine, and sweat, so put on your dancing shoes and get moving! When we break a sweat, the skin releases toxins such as alcohol and waste, furthering detox. Sweating helps the body expel excess salt, which can help with water retention too.
As the months get warmer, it's best to exercise under the sun. Not only do you get your vitamin D and some much-needed nature vibes but you're also making it that much easier to break a sweat. Exercise is a great way to get your endorphins moving and boost your mood but you don't have to do a full workout to get the detox benefits. If you have access to a steam room or a sauna that will work well just fine.
Hint: Consider drinking a glass of water with a teeny tiny pinch of cayenne pepper and lemon before your sweat. This will increase circulation and aid in digestion by stimulating the sweat glands, further promoting detox.
Shop Ginger Powder to Your Detox!
Tip #4: Marie Condo That Sh*t!
Does it spark joy? No? Toss it! Simply purging your closet, kitchen, bathroom, or all of the above can be a hugely cathartic event. Having too much stuff can quite literally suffocate us or make us feel trapped. When we practice Aparigraha (non-attachment/non-possessiveness), we can practice a more yogic life.
Suppose you begin to clear out your space and notice some feelings coming up. This could be an excellent time to check in with yourself. What are you holding on to and why? Is whatever you’re holding on to making you happy, or is it just providing a sense of familiarity and comfort? Sentimental treasures are one thing, but if it's tough for you to toss a ratty old t-shirt you never wear then, you might want to consider looking a little deeper.
Hint: Mantras like "I am abundant, I have enough, I am enough, I make enough, I do enough" can be hugely helpful when going through a period of cleansing.
Tip #5: The Best Self-Care Sometimes Means Do Nothing
Most of these tips are about "doing," but a vast part of the cleansing season is to practice the art of just being. As you navigate the changing of the season makes it a priority to spend some time alone. Journal, meditate, walk on the beach, practice your art, or any other activities that truly bring you peace. Nothing too strenuous or social, just some much-needed YOU time.
It might not seem like a "detox," but trust us, it is. Just like the body, the mind needs rest too. And when we give it that rest, we are setting ourselves up to perform better. According to a
2018 study conducted by Everyday Health, one-third of Americans have reported chronic stress. Most people are self-proclaimed "workaholics" and consider themselves type A personalities. There is nothing wrong with being driven; however, there is something wrong with being driven insane!
Hint: Practice doing nothing for 10 minutes a day, literally nothing and see how you feel.
A holistic detox can only be achieved if body, mind, and soul are addressed. Use these simple tools as a gateway to your version of spring cleaning. Check-in with yourself often and make sure you aren't obsessing over one particular aspect. Always remember to be gentle, you are a work in progress.