Welcoming Spring

Welcoming Spring

Spring is the morning of the year, a fresh start. While nature awakens and plants push up and out, we too begin to stretch our limbs, after a long winter of stillness and rest. Spring is the time to usher out the old and welcome the new, to clean and clear our living spaces, take stock of our affairs, and action our plans for the year ahead. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each season has a corresponding organ pair, energy, direction, climatic condition, emotion, colour and taste. This is the Theory of the Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.


To live in harmony with these elements is to live with reverence for nature and the most natural way to find peace within our own unique ecosystem of body, mind and spirit. In spring, the Wood element dominates, and with it, the reflective, yin energy of winter is transformed into a more expansive, outward, upward, yang energy. This energy is mirrored in nature by the first signs of growth and new life - the arrival of bobbing daffodils, bluebells that carpet our favourite woodland walks, and the pungent smell of wild garlic that signals a change of ingredients to welcome into our kitchens.


During spring, the liver and gallbladder are our most active organs. To nourish and tend to these organs, helps maintain balance within the whole body, creating a healthy foundation for summer, when energy levels are high. Gently cleansing and detoxing with the help of certain plant allies, and a diet of fresh, seasonal whole foods, relieves the liver of the fats and proteins required for extra warmth and comfort during winter. Spring signals a lightening up, in terms of both the foods we eat and the way in which we prepare and cook them. Steaming, stir-frying, sprouting and fermenting are the order of the day, with bitter and sour flavours called upon to activate the blood and move stagnation. These can be found all around us - in our gardens, woodlands and at our farmer’s markets.


We can extend this gentle process of detoxification to our mental and emotional health too, letting go of unsupportive habits and emotions. In TCM, spring is associated with the emotions of anger, resentment, and irritability, which are said to be stored in the liver pathway. It’s important to find a healthy means of expression for these feelings, as when suppressed, they can overwhelm the liver, leading to irritated skin and eyes, headaches, and hormonal issues. Gentle movement, stretching and walking in nature, alongside practices of journaling, mindfulness, and meditation can help us shift any stuck energy.




  •  Prioritise seasonal ingredients. Cook fresh leafy greens, asparagus, beets, broad beans, and nourishing root vegetables into soups and warm salads to support your digestion during the transition into the warmer months.
    •  Look out for foraged leaves, wild garlic, stinging nettles, dandelion and sheep sorrel, as well as adding pickles, ferments and pungent radishes whenever possible.
      •  Seaweeds are ideal spring foods as they lubricate the digestive tract, helping to move food along, also serving as an efficient binder for toxins.
        •  Liver-supportive herbs include: dandelion, yellow dock, gentian, chelidonium, mugwort, chrysanthemum, schisandra, burdock root, rehmannia, milk thistle, and aloe vera.
          •  Find ways to connect to the essence of the Wood element and realign with nature. Whenever possible, spend time outside, cultivating the gentle energy of nature within yourself. Consider everything you see a mini meditation.
            •  Spring can feel unpredictable, with changeable weather that might mirror our emotions. Ease into the new season by leaning on simple, grounding routines: start the day with a cup of warm lemon water to cleanse and rehydrate; practise deep, rhythmic breathing to calm the body before eating; tidy your space prior to starting your day. Self care doesn’t have to be an expensive product or treatment.
              •  The sensory organs of spring are the eyes / eyesight. Be mindful of staring at blue-light-emitting screens for long periods, especially after dark. Upon waking, get outside as soon as possible and view natural daylight for at least ten minutes. This will help to balance your circadian system, setting you up for a good night’s sleep.
                •  Studies have shown that daily journaling strengthens the immune system and boosts cognitive function. It’s also a great way to process emotions and foster mental clarity. Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, is a wonderful guide to stream-of-consciousness, longhand journalling.
                  •  Physical and emotional movement are key to liver health. Find ways to move your body whenever you can. Stretch, walk, run, shake, and dance alone. An inversion pose, like legs up the wall, is an accessible option when time is tight. This posture also works well before bed.
                    •  Massage, dry skin brushing, hot Epsom salt baths, and sauna bathing are natural cleansing tools that stimulate the lymphatic system and fuel circulation to shake off any stagnation that may have accumulated over the winter months.
                      •  Meditation, breathwork and mindfulness are friendly ways to release emotional charge. Practice walking meditations - moving through nature without the distraction of music or a podcast. Tune into all that surrounds you and notice how your body feels.
                        •  After the stillness of winter, spring is an invitation to connect with others. Embrace your community. Schedule dates with your friends, and stick to them! Even small windows of connection can dissolve a bad mood.


                          Beccy Candice Clarke is a writer, editor, and holistic health coach, currently based between Scotland and Somerset. If you would like to work with her, or find out more about her practice you can do so here: @beccycandice

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