There is more to cleaning than just the merit of cleanliness. Even if we’re not talking squeaky, shiny clean, the process of cleaning up can have a profound effect on your mental health and cognitive performance. There is evidence that clutter adversely affects decision-making and can cause changes on a hormonal and cellular level. For example, in an observational study conducted by researchers at UCLA, they found that mothers’ stress hormones spike while dealing with material possessions.
Then there’s the satisfying feeling of clean. There’s something so rewarding about cutting through grease on a stovetop, or seeing a pile of dust bunnies and crusties after a good, clean sweep. We’re just talking about the home, in this case, but what about your insides?
You might be thinking: here it comes. She’s about to talk about cleansing… and you’re right, I totally am!
Even if you are averse to the words “detox” and “diet”, you should know by now that we here at Evolve Health + Wellness adhere to the principles of Chinese medicine and support our recommendations with modern science.
Here are some of our tips on Spring Cleaning for the mind, body, and spirit:
Give It A Break, and by “it” we mean the Spleen
There’s a reason why breakfast is called ‘breaking fast’. The Spleen/pancreas in Chinese medicine is in charge of transforming the things we eat into usable bits and transporting them to where they need to go. Like all of us, it can become sluggish and overwhelmed when presented with either too much or non-stop information. Do yourself a favor and set a time in which you stop eating for the day – and one in which to start eating again the next day – in order to give your Spleen an opportunity to catch up and rest. Science says overnight fasting is one way to do it.
Like Nate Dogg and Warren G said, It’s Time to Regulate
One of the oft-repeated statements of fact in Chinese medicine is that “the Spleen likes regularity.” When we talk about regularity in Chinese medicine, we don’t just mean the movement of our bowels. There are guidelines regarding the timing of activities such as sleep, mealtimes, and even sex in order to optimize health. One of the best ways to regulate your circadian clock is to eat at the same times consistently every day, regardless of how long your day ends up being.
Out with the old, in with the new
Stressed? Overworked? Overwhelmed? Just take a deep breath and do nothing. Studies show that taking a moment to breathe deeply is a cheap, easy, and reliably effective way to manage stress reactivity. A lot of times the focus is on taking a deep breath, when other studies show that the rate at which you exhale is just as important. Exhaling in a controlled and steady manner allows the diaphragm to fully relax and the abdominal muscles to gently engage, allowing for that next literal breath of fresh air.
Even if you’re not ready for a complete closet overhaul or a fasting cleanse, it is important to take some time to do your own version of a Spring clean. In Chinese medicine, the changes of season present a unique opportunity to effect your future health, and making small changes in the Spring can have great impact on your state of health in the Fall.