As the days grow longer, and the animals beginning to emerge, I get the sensation that spring is fast approaching. We all recently lost an hour from Daylight Savings and now the spring equinox is set to arrive on March 20th. Here in California, we did not receive much of a winter; however I am still looking forward to the forthcoming beautiful weather, as I am sure you are too. During the cooler months, it is natural to become a little lazy and complacent with staying indoors. This can result in Seasonal Affective Disorder, stress, and sickness. To remedy these troubles, it is time to shed the coat and get outside for some much needed nature therapy. Here are some suggestions to help move you into a sunny mood:
Sometimes it is hard getting out of the winter Netflix habit, even if it’s for our own good; volunteering provides an exterior motivation to get you out of the house and gives you the opportunity to help those around you. Placer Land Trust has numerous volunteer opportunities that will get you outside and help the natural world. From trail building, to docent hikes, and cleanup projects, Placer Land Trust will be sure to keep you busy, healthy, and enjoying spring. Fill out their volunteer form here!
Go on a hike!
This is my favorite leisure activity when the weather is nice. Hiking is perfect solitary or group nature therapy. Hiking is a fantastic cardio activity as well as a form of active meditation. Active meditation is taking part in any physical activity that increases self-awareness and clears the mind. A study, by the University of London, shows that outdoor activities help boost creativity and problem-solving abilities. If you are not already an avid hiker, it is one of the easiest hobbies to start; you don’t even need a pair of hiking boots, as your trusted running shoes will work out just fine. Check out the AllTrails website to find a trail near you. They list trails for every level, from easy to strenuous. Don’t forget to periodically check Placer Land Trust’s website for informative, docent led, hikes as well!
Want to get outside and just relax? Try taking your art supplies outdoors and enjoy lovely weather while painting the beautiful scenery. Art is another form of active meditation that allows you to expand your creative perspective and painting outside is the perfect method to transition your mind into spring. Placer Land Trust is hosting an event for all artists at their Taylor Ranch Preserve on April 2nd. Bring your supplies and spend the morning painting the Sierra Nevada foothills. You can find the details here.
Join a Race!
Most people are turned off by the idea of spending their weekend running, but I urge you to reconsider your initial distaste. Fun runs are the new trend; they are whimsically themed and family friendly. You don’t even have to run! Grab your friends, make a team, and have the most fun you have ever had running (or walking). Check out Running in the USA’s website for events in your area. If you are more into extreme activities and are looking for a strenuous workout, go to NorthLander’s website for triathlons, bike races, and endurance running.
Fresh air and blooming foliage is the ideal inspiration to get out in the garden. Try your hand at planting spring flowers and vegetables. Pansies, tulips, wildflower seed mixtures, tomatoes, and peppers all fair well during the spring planting season. A quick Google search or trip to garden store will provide you with an extensive and detailed summary of what to plant this month.
Spring is arguably one of the best times of the year. People begin to venture outdoors, nature blossoms, and moods uplift. Celebrate the beautiful, mild, weather by taking part in one of the activities above. As Harriet Ann Jacobs so eloquently stated, “The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”
By Alyssa Harmon