Tips to Transition into Spring—With a Spring in Your Step

You feel neurotic. Lethargic. You don’t know where your life is going. You’re frustrated. But it’s spring—or almost spring. What can you do to move with ease through this spring season?

In Chinese medicine, spring is the time where we’re moving from this really deep, introspective winter time, and our energy is rising upward and moving outward, toward the extroverted summer time. But we’re used to watching TV, and darkness, and eating warm, heavy foods. Believe it or not, your feelings are normal! There is definitely a transition period where our body is trying to adapt to that change—and that’s what spring is all about.

The good news is that there are basic things you can do to feel better and help yourself transition well.

In Ayurveda, or Indian medicine, spring is considered the Kapha season. Kapha is the energetic time of being very cold and damp and weighed down. Certainly some of you are Kapha types, and for you, spring is an even tougher time. If you tend to be sluggish, heavy, overweight, sensitive to carbs, or easily nauseated, you might be a Kapha. It can also be tough if you don’t deal with transitions well, or if you get frustrated and aggravated if things change quickly.

Here are six tips to combat your yucky feelings and move into a happy time of year!

1. Wake up earlier, rather than sleeping in.
This may feel very difficult, because you might already be struggling with getting up. But getting up with the sun helps get your energy moving. If you are sleeping more, it slows you down more.

2. Work up a good sweat.
Now is a good time to switch up your exercise routine. In the winter we’re doing more core or strengthening work. Now, you can do fairly strenuous exercise for more extended periods of time rather than short bursts. If you tend to run or bike or swim, start going longer distances—but do it at slower speeds. You haven’t really built up endurance yet, and you need to get your Qi moving for more extended periods of time. Think about this time as building endurance, not speed. Speed is for summer.

3. Time to stretch.
Spring is the time of the Liver, which rules your tendons. In the spring, it does a body good to spend extra time stretching after exercise, or making sure you’re moving through your full range of motion during yoga. Stay loose and limber.

4. Meditate.
Do cleansing meditations. You can do a cleansing breath with a sitting or a walking meditation. Take a nice, deep inhale through nose and long, slow exhale through mouth. Exhale at least twice as long as you inhale. Match this breathing with your walking pace. You can also chant a mantra if you’d like. Inhale deeply and on the exhale chant, “I am,” and release the trouble and cares you have.

5. Let go of something that’s holding you back.
If you are feeling frustrated and stuck, remember that spring is the time of new beginnings. It’s time to move on and release something that’s been bothering you. You will feel more comfortable this season and transition more easily to the happier, joyful time of summer.

6. Eat lighter foods this time of year.
You might crave carbs or comfort foods still, but it’s time to lay off the meat and potatoes a little bit. Eating more fish and lightly steamed vegetables is a great way to start switching your diet over. You can also switch to broth-based, rather than cream-based soups, and add beans, chicken, or more herbs to your daily diet. A little note: Don’t switch to raw vegetables yet! Your digestive Qi hasn’t been boosted from the sunlight yet so you want to make sure you are still cooking your food.

Here’s to feeling fantastic!