Spring Clean Your Spirit: Practical and Fun Wellness Hacks
Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Cady
By Caitlin Cady
Spring has definitely sprung and I’ve been busting out my spring cleaning rituals. I use these daily rituals to stay grounded, keep in the creative flow, and to keep my stress levels under control. Here is a list of favorite Spring Things:
The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and prepare to lighten your physical, emotional, and cognitive load, and change the way you see “things” forever.
on very warm water laced with fresh grated ginger and lemon juice first thing in the morning to kickstart your body’s natural detoxification systems. Water is hydrating (obvi) and when it’s nice and warm, it draws circulation into the belly which gets digestion off to a great start. Ginger is excellent for firing up digestion and lemon is detoxifying and alkalizing.
That all adds up to happy organs, a smiling immune system, and metabolism that purrs. Be sure to keep it warm, not cold, and not boiling hot. If the water is too hot, the lemon’s enzymes and vitamins are likely to be destroyed. If the water is cold, the digestive benefits are disrupted. Warm lemon water is just right, Goldilocks.
Optional: Add a little raw honey that has digestion-boosting enzymes. Hot tip: if you’re including lemon, try to sip it through a straw to avoid damaging the enamel on your pearly whites.
your body with a dry brush and essential oils. Dry-brushing is an amazing way to increase circulation and stimulate lymph. This article is helpful in explaining why dry brushing is worthy of becoming part of your daily ritual.
I brush right before the bath or shower and it takes about 60 seconds. My go-to oils at the moment are grapefruit or Living Libations Verve Tonic. It makes my cells sing!
On a related note, my other major lymph-loving activity is rebounding. A rebounder is a high-quality fitness trampoline and getting one has changed my life! I love it. Rebounding is an excellent way to flush the lymph, detoxify the body, and burn fat (rebounding burns more fat than running…and it’s fun as hell!)
Conscious control of the breath, when done properly, can have a powerful effect on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
The ANS is responsible for all the functions your body does automatically, like breathing, circulation, and digestion, among others. Depending on how we perceive our experiences and environment, the ANS responds by activating one of its two branches: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)—also known as “fight-flight-freeze”—or the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)—nicknamed “rest-digest-repair-and-reproduce.”
When we are freaking out, no amount of thinking about the situation will calm us down at that moment. However, intentional breathing can work like a tripwire that triggers calm vibes. The breath can actually shift us out of the fight-flight response (SNS) and into rest-digest (PNS). As your breath becomes calmer, your body and mind follow suit. Your heart rate lowers, your blood pressure drops, and your digestion and circulation improve. Feel-good hormones flow freely. And you can think more clearly.
For that reason, particular breathing techniques (and the calm breathing we practice when we meditate) are powerful tools for getting out of the spin-cycle of stress.
Try this 4-minute Calming Box Breath practice. This technique called Box Breathing or Square Breathing is beloved by yogis and special ops army dudes alike for its incredibly powerful effect on our body and mind. I use it anytime I need an SOS to calm down.
Sweat it out.
If you follow me on the ‘gram, you’ll see many a story about me heading to the local Infrared Sauna studio, Nimbus Co. If you’re new to infrared saunas, these saunas use infrared elements which penetrate more deeply than traditional saunas which rely on warmed air from stoves or heaters.
This means that you can get a more serious sweat on at a lower temp. Some of the reported benefits of infrared sauna include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, enhanced detoxification, and positive improvements for those with heart disease and chronic pain.
But beyond all that it just feels really good to cut off contact with the outside world, sit in a cozy, dimly lit space, and sweat. It’s also actually one of my favorite spots for a catch-up with girlfriends. One of my best pals and I joke that we should record our sauna conversations because there is so much GOLD that comes from our sweat sessions!
There’s something about a sauna that naturally creates a container for vulnerability, processing, and downloading. It’s sort of a holistic detox for mind, body, and soul. And that makes infrared saunas well worth becoming part of your weekly or monthly self-care ritual.