The word “spring” came to Britain as an Anglo-Saxon noun meaning “head of a well” and a verb meaning “rush out in a stream”. In Middle English, the word took on a figurative sense of origin, renewal, and resurrection, as in “sunrise” (spring of dai) and “moonrise” (spring of mone).
As Middle English morphed into Modern English, the terms springing time and spring of the year were coined to describe the season of regrowth.
The adjective “vernal” came to Modern English from Latin vernus, “of spring”, from ver, “spring”.
Historically, spring has been a good time for a deep clean. Open fires, candles, and stoves fuelled by wood and coal meant a house full of soot. With warmer weather and lengthening days, there was less need for fires and candlelight. Walls, floors, and furniture could be thoroughly washed, and windows could be left open for airing.
Nowadays, with vacuum cleaners, air conditioning, and central heating, there’s little need to schedule a deep clean for springtime. But the tradition lives on. Below are just a few examples of how spring cleaning has woven itself into world culture.
Passover is a springtime Jewish festival celebrating the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. One of the most significant aspects of this festival is the ridding of leavened food from the household. So, before Passover, Jews carry out a ritual cleansing of the house.
Easter is a springtime Christian festival that celebrates the resurrection of Christ, and by association, the resurrection and rebirth of the organic world. It’s traditional for Christians to clean their churches thoroughly on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. Clean Monday, as this custom is known, extends to the home, which is purged of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods.
The Iranian solar calendar begins at the spring equinox. The first month of the year is Farvardin, and the first day of Farvardin is Nowruz. This first day of the year is prepared for by thoroughly cleaning everything in the house.
As the natural world springs into life, springtime inspires regrowth and a desire for a fresh start.
For example, April marks the beginning of a new financial year, so it’s a good time to audit your spending, declutter your paperwork, and plan for the future.
The same applies to wellbeing. Spring is the perfect time to audit our diet and exercise, examine daily routines, and plan for a healthier future.
How can we do this?
Well, let’s look at three ingredients of a healthy body: daylight; exercise; diet.
Circadian rhythm is an endogenous (internal) process that responds to the environment. Governed by the rotation of the Earth, the circadian clock affects almost all life forms, including animals, plants, and bacteria. In animals, a circadian rhythm is important for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. The primary environmental cues are: light, in particular, blue light, which has a short wavelength; and the absence of light.
Key hormones are regulated by the circadian system. Melatonin, stimulated by darkness, induces sleepiness. Ghrelin increases the desire to eat, and leptin inhibits hunger.
Constant exposure to electric light disrupts our circadian rhythm. Artificial lighting doesn’t provide an adequate time cue for the suppression of melatonin, and because few of us sleep in total darkness, melatonin production is often unhealthily low. The problem’s made worse by night-time exposure to the blue light that’s emitted from digital displays, such as televisions, computer screens, and phones.
Absence of night-time darkness and lack of natural daylight cause circadian disruption, which can lead to ill health.
Increased exposure to sunlight helps reduce the physiological and cognitive consequences of circadian disruption. With warmer weather and longer days, we’re more inclined to spend time outside. As the sunlight resets our circadian clocks, we feel more awake and energetic.
Sunlight – in particular, ultraviolet light, which has a very short wavelength – promotes the synthesis of vitamin D, which is responsible for intestinal absorption of certain minerals, including calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to the softening of bone tissue, especially in children and the elderly.
Aerobic exercise promotes the production of endorphins, a group of hormones that suppress pain receptors and induce production and release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.
Strenuous exercise causes us to sweat, which is one of the ways we excrete toxins from our systems.
Just going for a walk will improve heart rhythms, reduce stress-induced anxiety, allow deep breathing, and improve circulation.
Even good posture can have a positive impact on respiration. A slumped position can reduce oxygen intake by up to 30%, leading to a deficiency of oxygen in the blood. Standing upright opens up your chest and abdomen, making breathing easier and more effective.
Stress is the enemy of wellbeing. It can bring on overeating, anxiety, and depression, and it plays a significant role in circulation and digestive disorders. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress, so why not make a springtime resolution to keep moving!
Adequate hydration is at the root of all bodily functions, and everyone is aware of the importance of water in our diets. Many workplaces provide filtered drinking water on tap, actively encouraging employees to refill cups and bottles throughout the working day. But if you’re keeping well hydrated and eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, it’s important to keep in mind that you also need salt.
The nervous system functions through nerve impulses, triggered by the movement of electrically charged atoms or molecules (ions), called electrolytes. One of the most important electrolytes is sodium (Na+), which is acquired through salt (NaCl).
When there’s too much sodium in the blood, the kidneys filter it out, lowering the concentration of sodium in the system. However, the kidneys can’t do anything about sodium deficiency (hyponatremia), which triggers the release of adrenaline. Signs of reduced sodium in the blood include muscle cramps, fatigue, confusion., and light-headedness.
So, to sum up:
At Aqua Libra Co, we love water (Aqua) and we believe in balance (Libra). So there couldn’t be a better time to restore the natural balance of our bodies than the spring equinox, when day and night are in perfect balance.