It’s hard not to appreciate spring in North Carolina – the air is just the right temperature, birds sing good mornings and lullabies, and sunlight feels like warm caresses. Though much of the country is still feeling the cold of winter, my corner of the world is getting ready to bloom.
I’ve written a lot about spring lately because I feel that it’s such a positive time of the year. Like all animals, we humans follow the cycles of nature. And while we can hide from the summer heat with air conditioning and grow indoor plants out of season, the emotional effects of the seasons are not so easily mitigated. Winter is a period of waiting and hibernation, a time of sharing food and enduring. It’s only natural that our bodies long for spring.
The energy of spring isn’t just a vague phrase either – studies have shown that the first few warm days of spring boost our mood and make us more openminded. Spending time outside during spring improves mood and memory, and makes us more flexible in our thinking.
Welcome Spring In
You can’t enjoy spring from behind glass. If you want to harness this spring energy, the best way is to go outside and experience it. But as with everything else, life can get in the way. We can’t always move our responsibilities outside, so instead, bring the outside in! Open your doors and windows to let in fresh air, birdsong, and the sound of rain.
Growing up, I was always nagged to close the door so I wouldn’t let the air conditioning/heat out. Our houses aren’t designed to be a part of nature – they’re designed to keep it out. Humanity works incredibly hard to be free of or control the natural world, and sometimes we end up forgetting that we’re a part of it. Because of this, we end up isolating ourselves from the rest of the natural world. Opening your house to the outdoors lets you surround yourself with nature even if you aren’t stepping out into it – and being around nature boosts your energy levels.
The beginning of spring is the perfect temperature for this too, as there’s hardly any need for air conditioning yet. So let the birdsong and breezes waft into your house this spring – it’ll make you happy and save you some money.
Enjoy the Afternoon Sunlight
The energy of spring goes beyond the weather and the resurgence of animal and plant life. Growth is happening on a cosmic scale too – the days are waxing, and as they grow longer they bring us more and more sunlight. After so many dark winter evenings, it’s refreshing to step outside into the sunlight after work. We need more sunlight than we get during our commute though, so open those blinds!
Many of us avoid excess sun exposure because of our fear of skin cancer, but UVB wavelengths (the same ones that cause sunburns) also help us create Vitamin D. Vitamin D supports the immune system and bone health, protects against dementia and aging, and helps reduce the risk of cancer.
The best way to get some sunlight is to go outside of course, but you can open your blinds to let some indoors as well. Our pets take advantage of this all the time! If you’re stuck in the house doing chores, consider stealing Fido’s spot and doing a little basking yourself while you work.
Don’t Forget to Sleep
Longer days and more energy mean we may want to stay up later. In winter, it was often dark out when I drove to work, which made me feel that I should still be asleep. Now that it’s spring, I find myself wanting to stay up later and later – I hate to feel that I’m wasting time on sleeping, especially when I feel so energized to do things. So while you should be spending time outside and in the sun, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep as well. The sun will be out again tomorrow.
by Venn Crawford