The year of the Red Monkey starts today. In the Chinese calendar, the first day of the new year is also the first day of Spring. Winter was all about nourishing ourselves and conserving our energy. Spring is a time for regeneration and new beginnings.
Element: Wood, an upwards moving energy.
Organs: Liver and Gall Bladder. The Liver has an amazing capacity for regeneration. It filters, nourishes and stores blood. It also plays an important role in the metabolism of sugar, fat, as well as proteins, which are essential for tissue growth and repair.
Emotion: anger. In Chinese philosophy, the Liver system promotes the flow of Qi (vital energy) through the body. When this flow is smooth, we are physically and emotionally balanced. Sometimes however the slow aspect of Winter carries across into Spring, and especially with the stresses of daily life added, we get stuck. We suffer with ‘Liver Qi stagnation’, one of the most common imbalances I see in my acupuncture clinic. It can manifest as neck and shoulder tension, PMS, migraines, sleep problems, irritability, impatience or frustration.
The health of your Liver is decisive to how healthy and happy your Spring will be, so here are a few tips:
- Cleanse and detox. Spring is ideal for cleansing and rejuvenation for health and wellbeing. Reduce or eliminate ‘toxic’ foods from your diet, and consider a detox that specifically targets your liver.
- Stretch and exercise to move that Qi. Have you noticed that when you exercise you’re in a better mood? Spend time outdoors, take lunchtime walks. The days are getting longer, so you can start getting up earlier, in tune with nature.
- Include green foods in your diet: green apple, spinach, kale and fresh herbs like parsley or coriander. Sour foods such as lemon and lime are great for the liver. Keep drinking your hot water with lemon in the mornings.
- Look after your eyes (the sense organ related to the Liver). Limit screen time and take breaks for eye exercises. Alternate focusing on distant objects with close ones.
- Control your anger. Find activities to re-focus your anger in healthy ways, keep a journal, meditate, look into counselling and stress management.
- Breathe deeply. Breathing is a fantastic way to get your Qi flowing smoothly.
- Get acupuncture, bodywork or both. They’re great for getting your liver Qi moving, help you de-stress and support your detox.