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Spring is Here!

The Spring Equinox which marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring arrived this year on March 20th.  Spring is a beautiful season of transition to both observe and be a part of.  After the spring equinox the days get longer and brighter, the earth starts to warm, and the natural world begins to wake up.  The renewed energy of the world outside affects both our minds and our bodies.  We feel more energized and experience a collective desire for growth and renewal.  So take advantage of these urges and take a hike - literally!

During the dog days of winter we spend a tremendous amount of time indoors, under florescent lights and in front of one device screen or another.  We instinctually hibernate even as psychologists and health researchers are discovering more and more evidence that spending time outside improves both physical and mental health.  Spending time in the woods, hiking in the mountains, sitting by the sea, or just being outside in the sunshine can:

 

  • Reduce blood pressure and heart rate

  • Improve sleep

  • Boost the immune system

  • Decrease stress, anxiety and depression

  • Uplift mood

  • And foster a healthy mind-body-spirit connection


Remember when you are outside: take time to really notice the sights, sounds and smells of the season and take the long way home whenever you can!

If spring turns out to be colder or wetter than we all hope, or you just can't get outside as often as you wish, you can still make the most of the time you do have.  Benefits can be gained in as little as 5 minutes outdoors.  Some ideas for short trips outside include:

 

  • Have your morning coffee sitting on your front stoop

  • Take a mindful walk at lunch time

  • Cookout in your backyard

  • Do your weekly grocery shopping at an outdoor market

  • Explore a nearby park.
     

You can also bring the oudoors inside:
 

  • Open windows and shades

  • Aromatherapy - diffuse essential oils inside

  • Play nature sounds indoors through an app

  • Bring spring flowers inside


There are many books, apps, websites and blogs dedicated to the great outdoors so just let your fingers do a little research and planning.  For further reading, here are a few really great books:

Forrest Therapy by Sarah Ivens


The Nature Fix by Florence Williams


Walking Meditation: Easy Steps to Mindfullness by Thich Naht Hanh


 

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