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by Colleen C.
Spring is the Season of HOPE, RENEWAL AND JOY and if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious you are not alone. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects around 40 million adults each year and I think it is because we are so stressed out with deadlines and bottom lines!
Seasonal shifting can be stressful for everyone including the flowers. I often wonder how the flowers break through frozen ground, withstand freezing temperatures and snow and still Bloom. It takes a lot of COURAGE! The earth has heard the Wake-Up call and it is reminding us it is to do some spring-cleaning to reduce our anxiety.  Everything inside us starts to thaw out.  There are old emotions, stiff joints and stagnant fluids that are all yearning to flow once again.  To help you re-fresh this spring I have taken a few clues from nature to help give you a jump-start on your spring-cleaning.
Here are some simple and easy ways to ease into spring:
The first natural impulse is to start moving more because many of us have been inside all winter. Moving/Jogging/Riding/Dancing just feels good and it can put some Spring back into your Step!! I was out in the meadow this morning and I noticed the elk frolicking and jumping in and out of the pond.  Usually the elk are very mellow and conserving energy but now it is spring and they know it is time to play and move to higher ground.
People also start to move more and they get to see just how big their tummies have gotten over the winter; and they think it is a good time to develop a training program.  You will naturally lose weight in the springtime so you don’t need to worry about those extra few pounds of insulation that you have built up over the winter.  All animals shed weight in the spring and so will you.  JUST MOVE EVERYDAY AND PLAY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!
Simple Step: Just move around, dance, shake, take the stairs, go for a walk but GET OUTSIDE!! Get a Dose of Nature and Do Forest Bathing
2. Time to Meditate and Breathe
This Spring tune-up is regarding your inner fitness.  This is often the hardest to get going yet it is the easiest.  All you need to do is take some quite time each day, sit down follow your breath and meditate.  It sounds easy right?  This is important for any time of the year but especially in the springtime when you may start to feel anxious.
Meditation activates the body’s relaxation response through the HPA axis, the central stress response system. This lowers cortisol and slows your breathing rate, relaxes muscles, and reduces blood pressure. It also stimulates regions of the brain that control worrying.
It is hard for me to sit still at any time but when the earth is bursting with energy it is especially hard to calm my sympathetic nervous system. I know this is the time I really need to sit and be quite the most, so I can stay grounded, focused and centered in the rush of spring.
Usually, if I trick myself and say I will only sit for 5 minutes I can get myself sitting.  Then once you have been sitting for 5 minutes you are relaxed and you feel like sitting more.  My average sit time is about 20 – 30 minutes.  I focus on my breath and just let all my old winter thoughts and patterns flow out without notice or care. By the way, the word breath comes from the word inspiration or inspire.  This quite time can also help you get the inspiration you need to take on the new spring challenges.
The whole idea in the spring is to “lighten up” and eating light spring foods and thinking light spring thoughts and meditating can really be beneficial to your “lightness of being”
Simple Step: do your one-minute meditations (but do them all day long). It is fun!!
3. Time to CLEANSE
Another spring-cleaning tip is about nutrition.  How to eat for spring vitality is fairly easy, just look around at what is blooming.  You will see lots of green grass sprouting up and dandelions.  Everyone thinks that dandelions are pesky but they are great for your liver this time of year.  I like to eat bitter greens this time of year and I also drink as much Green Barley as I can get down.  It is good to do some type of cleansing during the springtime to help open up your internal channels and get things flowing. SHARON LYNN, from MHP Vitamins (https://mhpvitamins.com/quest.html and use code: QUEST), has a great push-catch system to help clear the liver stagnation.
Simple Step:  Drink a glass of lemon water in the morning
4. Time for Gratitude
I just finished Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s free 21 days of Gratitude meditation series. It was so helpful to sit and be Thankful each day. It was a reminder to me that Spring is like recess for the planet and everything is miraculously unfolding in front or our eyes. So watch a leaf grow, bless the dandelion, count clouds, and appreciate the many gifts of spring.
Simple Step: Appreciate and Say Thank You to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING around you!!