Listen closely and you may hear the cheerful sound of spring birds chirping outside your window. Small buds are forming on the trees, animals emerge from hibernation, the days are gradually stretching out, and if you take a whiff, you might smell fresh green grass. Spring is here!
Spring Rituals Across the World
Across the world, spring is a symbol for rejuvenation and rebirth. Many cultures honor the season by getting outside, cleaning up, and spending time with loved ones. In India, the glorious colorful display of Holi is celebrated. Entire towns of people throw colored powder at one another, culminating in a gloriously colorful display. In Iran, the Nowruz (new day) festival starts with some spring cleaning and house repairs, and continues over a period of days of bonfires, costumes, and outdoor activities. Christians celebrate Easter by hiding Easter eggs in green lawns, and in the Jewish culture, Passover marks the journey from slavery to freedom.
Get Outside, and Improve Your Health
All of these age-old rituals involve spending time with loved ones in the great outdoors, and we definitely have a lot to gain by going outside. In industrialized nations, people spend on average 93 percent of their time inside. Yet, studies show that spending time in nature has a slew of mental and physical health benefits:
- Lowers risk of type II diabetes.
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improves sleep.
- Reduces blood pressure and heart rate.
- Boosts the immune system.
- Lowers cortisol levels (stress).
- Improves memory and mental energy.
- Reduces anxiety and depression.
Ideas for Your Own Outdoors Spring Rituals
If you’re in the mood to start some new spring rituals (not related to cleaning!), check out this list for some fun ideas to usher in the season of rejuvenation.
1. Plant a garden
Learning to harvest the earth’s bounty is a noble feat. But if you don’t have a green thumb, there is no better time to learn how to grow plants than now. Check out this helpful resource for starting a veggie garden and get growing!
2. Pick some wildflowers
This activity is so much fun when you also learn to identify the many different types of wildflowers that bloom in your region. Check out this resource for local wildflowers in your area and places to pick them. Once you have a nice collection of flowers, you can make a gorgeous bouquet, or make pressed flowers for art that lasts through the seasons.
3. Take a bike ride
Did you know that cycling increases brain cells? "A mere 30 minutes of steady cycling on the road, trail, or stationary bike can improve memory, reasoning, and planning. It also has scientifically proven benefits for emotional mental health, helping combat depression and anxiety."
4. Pack up a picnic
Picnics are such a wonderful way to force yourself to sit still and live in the present. Although the preparation can be a little hectic, once you lay down your blanket, you are reconnecting with your ancestors who shared meals together outdoors every day. Check out this list of delicious picnic food ideas.
Bring Nature Indoors
So you’ve enjoyed a blissful spring weekend outside and you feel absolutely rejuvenated. But Monday always rolls around and you’re back in the office listening to the birds having all the fun outside. How can you keep the momentum going when you must be indoors? Bring spring indoors with you!