Updated: May 15
The unfolding of Spring is a beautiful thing. It starts with a few brave buds peeping out from the morning frost and then suddenly overnight everything makes you sneeze.
The change can be jarring. Between allergies and acclimating to Daylight Savings, we are all a bit groggy and fighting the Spring Feverish desire to quit everything and play outside. A nice way of consciously easing into all the changes and giving the system a chance to acclimate is a cleanse. I tend to do one at the turn of every season, making little tweaks accordingly.
For me, "cleanse" means giving my 5 senses a chance to relax, recalibrate and burn off any excess accumulation. So I cut way back on stimuli in all it's forms. That goes for input (no heavy meals or big social obligations) AND output (no HIIT sessions or painting the house).
Below are some of the things I incorporated into my own practice. If you are interested in doing a reset yourself, the rule of thumb is nothing you do should feel depleting or stressful, so take what will work or tweak accordingly!
I spent the first day in total silence. no people, no blue light, no distractions. Instead, I listened. I soaked in the sounds of spring-- the rustling of leaves, the myriad of birds, even the sound of grass under my feet. On the second day and going forward I opened my phone back up to the world, but I took 3 30-minute breaks throughout the day of just sitting with myself and listening.
Maybe a full day won't fit into your schedule or even 30-minutes is asking a lot. Try for 5-minutes, maybe when you first wake up, as a midday pick me up and right before bed.
I turn off all social media, tv, and movies for the entire 72-hour period. Lights are off by 9pm and I light candles until I'm ready to go to sleep. It does wonders to get yourself in bed by 10pm!
I get outside for at least one slow and mindful walk in nature a day, making sure I have my water bottle, and take advantage of any green fields or benches to sit down and take it all in.
72 hours shouldn't be a long time without tv or computers, but let's face it, it is. See how long a digital detox works for you. If you are hankering to watch something, make it something you find personally enriching or inspiring. Pro-tip: make a list of webinars or documentaries/movies ahead of time so you don't fall down the Hulu rabbit hole. You just want to avoid things that will overexcite you (like action movies or twitter).
I make sure anything touching my skin is cotton and non restrictive. I do dry brushing and an oil self massage before my morning shower. It's something I do on a weekly basis, but during cleanse season, I take extra time with it, spending around 30-minutes before washing off.
If doing self massage is new to you, you could certainly just massage your feet or hands, or you could use a body scrub in the shower. A professional massage is also a wonderful option and one I will often book at the end of my recharge.
In the hierarchy of senses, for most of us smell falls lowest on the list.
For my cleanse, I make a point of noticing smells, like when I'm cooking or right before eating, I take a pause and just breathe in, taking the time to see how the smells are affecting me.
I make sure to only use natural cleaners and products and keep a light incense or diffuser on most of the day, and change the scent according to the time of day. Lemon is nice in the morning, lavender in the evening. I make my own blends of essential oils for the shower or bath. In spring, energizing scents like eucalyptus or rosemary are great ways of waking up from winter.
If you are sensitive to smell, try to find more subtle natural ones, maybe picking up some cut flowers or smelling the skin of a cut orange to spark your senses.
Since these 72-hours is about giving my body a break, I keep meals very simple. I stick to kitchari or dhal soup with vegetables, nothing too spicy (no garlic, onion, or chili peppers). Rather than making big batches, I take the time to prepare each meal separately. According to Ayurveda, this helps preserve the energy of the food, and it is also a chance to practice mindfulness and gratitude.
If Indian food is not your thing, any whole food meal with simple ingredients is great. Stay away from raw foods including juices (which are harder to digest). Oatmeal, brown rice with cooked vegetables and soups are all great. The most important part is taking your time to enjoy the food. Sit without distractions, smell it, chew it well, eat slowly.
some easy spring recipes:
It's really interesting to notice the effects a few simple changes can make. My eyes are brighter, my digestion and mood are optimal, and I feel a little more ready to take on the changes of a new season. That said, any changes done consciously to welcome in the season can work: preparing and eating a clean meal, doing a self massage or lighting some candles can all be great stand alone ways of giving your mind and senses a break.