"Awake, thou wintry earth-
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!"
(Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn")
As this past winter draws to a close, we all want to "fling off thy sadness" and "laugh forth (our) ancient gladness". It is common to feel a bit antsy or anxious at this time of year; it's often referred to as "spring fever". As the days grow longer and the sunshine feels more rejuvenating, it is normal for us to want to throw off our winter moods and embrace the change and growth we see all around us.
Now is a time for us to venture forth and enjoy the rising temperatures. Many people love winter sports and stay active even in the cold and snowy months, but many people also tend to stay shut indoors for the winter, loath to deal with cold temps and possible messy roads. For those who tend to stay in all winter, right now it is especially important to re-establish outside activities and patterns.
"How does this relate to mental health?", you may wonder. Physical activity has long been known to be an effective stress-reliever and mood booster. So, get out there and be active. Get out in the sunshine. Garden, go for a walk, go for a run, go hiking, go for a bike ride, go on a picnic - all of these are ideas that get us moving, even in the spring. If you've been a couch potato all winter (come on, now be honest with yourself), don't overdo it to start; begin slowly and increase your level of activity gradually. If you have allergy problems or other medical problems, you may want to talk to your physician to see if excersizing and being outdoors is healthy for you. And don't forget sunblock; sunburn can happen at any time of the year.
Please, be happy and be healthy in 2014.
"Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day." -
W. Earl Hall
by Kristin Brown, L.P.C., N.C.C., Ch.T.