Yesterday was the first day back to school for my daughters after spring break.
The morning was already off to an unusual start. Around 5:30 AM, I was startled awake by the presence of a body at my bedside. After rubbing my eyes, I found my older daughter standing sheepishly in the corner of the bedroom, inquiring how to make oatmeal.
Usually, Norah is very difficult to wake up in mornings, requiring multiple shout outs before we detect any evidence of life emanating from her. So my husband and I were a bit surprised by her early morning wake up call. And since she has never offered to make breakfast before, we were equally baffled. While I was very honored by her offer, I hijacked her into bed, concerned that she had not gotten enough sleep. Insisting that her hair had been done, she resisted, but I pulled her in and it wasn't long before we both drifted off to sleep.
The night before we had a few out of town friends over for dinner. Knee deep in conversation, around 9 PM, I realized how late it was and started screaming at my girls that it was time to go to bed. By 10 PM, when I discovered Norah was still awake, I started screaming some more. I'm not sure what time she eventually went to sleep, but we were all at fault for going to bed much later than what should have been for a school night.
So it was with much struggle that we eventually awoke Monday morning.
When I made my way to the breakfast table, I discovered this note at my usual spot (next to the oatmeal which ended up being made by dad):
What? Where did this come from??? Turns out that in between my screams the night before, Norah had been writing notes to the entire family.
Considering that Norah, almost twelve, has been rebelling against my role as her mom for the last few years, a love letter from her came as quite a bit of a much needed shock.
On the last day of school before the start of spring break, Norah was extremely irritable when she came home. She shrugged me off when I ask her questions. She moaned when I tried to hug her. She fought incessantly with her sister. It was common for Norah to be quite stressed and snappy when school was in session.
Perhaps the week off from school gave her body the chance to detoxify from negative emotions, allowing the free flow of love and joy. And on the day of the vernal equinox, it seemed that she caught spring fever.
Known as the season of birth, new beginnings, renewal, and growth, spring is naturally the season for cleansing. It is an invigorating time, and with new beginnings, we often find a deep urge to rid ourselves of old unwanted items, creating a new space for ourselves. So the urge to "spring clean" can become quite the phenomenon.
Given an opportunity, the body will also undergo spring cleaning by detoxifying itself naturally – it's built to do that. Over winter, toxins can build up in the body. Overeating during the holidays, in combination with a lack of exercise, can lead to a build-up of toxins – which results in sluggishness, extra pounds, poor sleep or worse.
Here are some tips to help us live harmoniously with the glorious season of spring:
Clear out the clutter- whether from your office, a single closet, a room, your car. Decluttering your space will help declutter your mind. Let go of things that no longer serve you or have outlived their purpose. Start fresh and feel the joy of being lighter.
Clean out your body- avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, red meat, dairy for 2 weeks to give your body a break. If you observe the Lenten season, this works perfectly as a detoxification regimen. Undo the negative effects and build up of toxins from overeating and underexercising during the winter season. Maintaining a lighter diet will also help mitigate seasonal allergies
Enjoy exercise outdoors- after the short, cold winter days, take advantage of the longer days to enjoy the outdoors. Many of us may experience the "blues" or seasonal affective disorder during the winter season, but with spring comes an increase in energy and vitality known as spring fever. Get outdoors and revel in the rebirth of nature.
Breathe deeply- attention to the breath will bring a sense of lightness to the mind. Breathing is a very cleansing practice. By breathing properly, one can rid the body of impurities.
Eat in season- Spring is the season for bitter foods. Continue with warming spices like ginger and turmeric to ward off blood stagnation. Warming bitters like dandelion and argula will also aid in fat metabolism. Avoid heavy, oily, sweet, and salty foods such as red meat and dairy.
If you have school aged children, take advantage of taking time off during their spring break and start setting these practices into motion. For spring break this year, we took our daughters camping at a state park in Mineral Wells, Texas. We spent several days outdoors, engaging in the natural surroundings around us. At night, we roasted marshmallows by a campfire and gazed at the stars. When we returned home, we cleansed the house of several items by selling them on a neighborhood website. Norah got a fresh spring hair cut and with it, a fresh start on the first day of school.
That morning after she left for school, I found my Ipad open to a webpage. She had been googling "How to Make Oatmeal." So sweet.
Happy Spring Everyone!