What Ails You? Seasonal Transitions

—Photo Courtesy of Laura Denman

After a chilly winter, all Vineyarders look forward to spring, but our bodies don’t always work well with the seasonal changes. According to the American Council on Exercise, “For many people, seasonal changes are not so ‘gentle and easy.’ They impact our mood, health, sleep, and general behavior in some very stormy ways.” Winter especially leads to illness, weight gain, and seasonal affective disorder. Some of these maladies can be difficult to reverse. Tack that onto spring allergy season and the impending stress of the busy summer months, and it’s no wonder spring comes in like a lion for many people. So we asked our panel of experts, What are some healthy ways to transition from winter to spring?

Sherry Sidoti, FLY Yoga School and Yoga Haven Studio

Spring has a unique tone to those of us living the Island life. While we are excited about the longer warmer days, more sunshine, and finally getting outdoors, there is a particular hum of anxiety that lives in us as we are forced to exit the quieter, more sluggish winter into kick-it-into-gear spring.

The best way to move through any life transition is to do so with intention. We tend to get overwhelmed with changes because these times feel out of our control, as if a storm were sweeping us up.

Intention setting is not a to-do list. It is being clear with ourselves as to ways we want to grow and have the quality of life we yearn for. It requires some self-inquiry: What is working? What isn’t?

To set a spring season intention, ask yourself, What new skills would I like to gain this season? What attributes of myself are important to share with others, and how can I do this in my workplace/home/social life/etc.? How will I best and easily enjoy my time (at work and free)? How will I best and easily appreciate the Island and nature?

Additionally, intention setting requires that we consciously shed that which doesn’t serve us. Choose one action, one attitude, and one belief system to remove from your life because you know it’s not helping you, and replace it with something better for your spirit. For example: “I will replace every complaint with gratitude for something present in this situation.”

Intention setting does not demand that anything on the outside look any different, nor does it require more time. It can be done at work, at home, in line at the grocery store. We may still have the same job, life obligations, schedule, etc., but moving through change with intention helps us to reclaim our power within the things we cannot control. We are reminded that everything is choice — if not the life challenges, then at least our own thoughts and feelings about them. Remember: Things do not happen to us, they happen for us. Happy transitioning, everyone!

Laura L. Denman, Abundant Life Nutrition

Transition from winter to spring is my happiest time! Spring is the time for hope, for new beginnings. Sometimes after a winter of being inside and feeling sluggish, I turn to some sort of detox regimen to return the bounce to my step. Spring is the ideal time for cleansing. In Chinese medicine, it is linked to the element of wood, which is connected to embarking on a new course or trying new things.

My favorite is the “Standard Process 21 Day Purification Program” which I lead in the spring; it’s a great way to transition. I also drink copious amounts of dandelion tea as a way to spring-clean my system.

And last but not least, getting out in nature is the best tonic/detoxification of any. Take a walk, slow down your breath, relax your body, and take a little time for self-love and care.

Lisa Nagy, Vineyard Personalized Medicine

I think moving into spring is pretty easy and pleasant. If it is not, exercise briefly in the morning before doing anything else. Run or walk outside for 5-10 minutes, with an interval-training approach. This means push yourself initially for 30 seconds — faster than you like to move. By exceeding your capacity to handle the exercise, you increase the mitochondria, which make more energy-producing organelles in the cell. The idea is to exercise for one to two minutes and rest for one to two minutes, on and off, and work up to 12 minutes every other day. That’s it!

The other thing I would focus on is helping someone else who needs it. This brings us out of our own world and makes us motivated for the good of others.

Do not drink alcohol for most of the week. Drink green tea, take CoQ-10, B-complex, and adrenal supplements if you are feeling tired. If this is not enough to get someone feeling good, then see an integrative practitioner for supplement advice, hormone evaluation, and a focused plan.

Sheila Muldaur, Integrated Health Care

For many, spring means allergies. Use of cell or tissue salts can help those who suffer during a particular pollen season. They can even lighten the allergic reaction in future years.

Ferrum phos. (#4) [a Homeopathic treatment] is helpful when the first itch appears in the nasal passages. Nat. mur. (#9) will ease the symptom of sneezing.

For those who show allergic responses even before springtime happens, calc. phos. (#2) supports those with a cold nose, and alternates well with nat. mur. (#9). Postnasal drip responds well to kali mur. (#5) when the ears and nose are clogged.  With chronic allergies and greenish discharge, Kali sulph. (#7) comes to the rescue. When the nose bleeds from repeated sneezing and there is yellowish discharge, calc. sulph. (#3) helps. Changes in weather bringing on green, thick discharge with sinusitis, worse in damp, calls for nat. sulph. (#11). When allergies hang on, and itching in the nose and back of the throat continues, try silicea (#12) for relief.