With the longer evenings and warmer weather upon us, Spring can be a great boost when it comes to mental well-being. To make the most of the new season and help cope with stress and anxiety, getting out and about and switching up our daily routine can make all of the difference.
Creating a bucket list, in particular, will allow us to reflect on our values and goals, and identify important experiences that we want to enjoy this sunny season.
According to Elizabeth Scott, PhD, a wellness coach, health educator and author of ‘8 Keys to Stress Management’: “When you make a list of all the things you’d like to do, you can find perspective on how you are currently spending your time, and on what you’d like to be doing. Making a bucket list can help you remember what you value the most”.
And what better time than Spring to bloom again?
With the help of some professionals and experts, we’ve pulled together some ideas that would make fun memories while clearing your head.
Pack a spring picnic
With winter weather finally behind us, enjoy a new found appreciation for the blue skies, sunshine and fresh air. There’s no better time to pack up a delicious picnic and head down to your local park or favourite countryside spot for a family day out, enjoying quality time without having to break the bank. Getting the picnic ready is also a fun activity for kids, encouraging them to help you plan out the food you’re going to bring, write a shopping list and help prepare the sandwiches.
Get up and active
As the light evenings get longer and the weather gets milder, spring is the perfect time to get outside and start a new sport. Whether you’re a tennis player or would like to try your hand at golf, look online for local clubs or sessions that you can try out to broaden your skills and clear your mind.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of being a beginner as everyone starts somewhere and you never know, you may find your new favourite hobby.
My Spring 2022 goals are all about roller skating, and I have a new pair of pink skates with yellow laces and pom-poms standing at the ready – says Nina Lorez Collins, the Chief Creative Officer of Hello Revel, the ultimate online community platform to connect fabulous women of a certain age. – I was a huge skater in middle and high school (do you remember Linda Blair in 1979’s Roller Boogie?) and I’ve decided that despite vague fears of breaking a wrist or leg, I’m going to get back out there and skate the nights away. I’ll wear protective gear this time around though!
Visit your local farmyard animals
Spring is also a wonderful time of year on the farm, welcoming new additions and seeing the young offspring bounce around. Many farms have open hours which allow the public to freely roam the grounds and maybe even feed the animals if you are lucky. As well as being a lovely trip for all age groups, your children can really benefit from the experience as they learn about life on the farm and expose themselves to different farmyard animals.
Take a gentle stroll
Being especially important for those of us that live in urban areas, surrounding ourselves with nature offers a welcome relief from the stress caused by city living. Whether you head to your local park, explore the woodland at a nearby forest or head to the coast for a nice sea breeze, embrace the chance to relax in the comforts of wildlife and unwind as you admire the stunning scenery in your local area.
Join a gardening group
Gardening is a popular preventative solution to poor mental health, being a great way to destress and reduce high blood pressure. People that undertake regular gardening tend to notice a reduction in signs of depression and anxiety, clearing their minds as they enjoy time outdoors with nature. If you do not have a garden of your own or don’t know where to begin, many communities have public gardening groups that not only allow you to expand your knowledge but help you meet like-minded local people.
Explore the great outdoors
Coming out of such a long period of constraints and limitations, this Spring will be the season we wring every bit of richness and meaning out of our experiences. Whether you want to take a road trip with the family, spend a long weekend abroad, or explore the great outdoors, every travel experience will help you learn and grow as a person. And it looks like many of us are really looking forward to travelling again.
My Spring Bucket list includes saying hell, yes to all opportunities to travel – says Margit Detweiler founder of TueNight, a storytelling community for women 40+, to share where they’ve been and explore what’s next. – I need to leave the house. Most of that will be travel planning for the summer: a trip to Austin to see some good music in June; a trip to Atlanta for a wedding and to hang with some friends and a concert in Bethel New York with Allison Russell, Yola and Brandi Carlile in August. Apparently, I’m also excited to be HOT.
On the same page, Kavita Ahuja, a certified Life Transitions & Core Energy Coach, founder of Power Purpose Play, a podcast and platform dedicated to amplifying the inner power and personal growth of women in midlife.
I love the promise of Spring and everything that blooms along with it – she says to CrunchyTales-. Travelling has always been at the top of all my bucket lists, but this spring I will explore locally, as we often ignore what is in our own vicinity. Plus, it is an opportunity to support local businesses and commerce. Living in Canada and as a wine-lover also, I love to explore the beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake with its wonderful wineries, shops, hiking and biking trails. I also am going to hone my golf skills more this spring. Everything and anything outdoors is my wish!
Invite your family & friends to a BBQ
You can’t go wrong with a spring garden party, bringing all of your loved ones together for a day of catching up, good food and refreshing drinks. Depending on your space and capabilities, either fire up the barbeque or host a table full of nibbles that guests can tuck into at their own leisure. If you’re inviting all of the family around, it can be a fun idea to ask everyone to bring a dish of their own choice plus any games, combining new flavours and getting all attendees involved in the fun.
Meditate in the sunshine
Being a well-known way to help with mental wellbeing, allocating time to focus on yourself with meditation can make the world of difference. While you can do it inside, taking your meditation outdoors when the weather gets warmer can offer the extra benefits of fresh air and sunshine. To get the best outcome, find a secluded spot free of distractions, turn off your phone notifications and enjoy the moment surrounded by greenery.
At the top of my bucket list is to slow down – says Scarlett Lewis, founder of Choose Love Movement a no-profit organisation with the mission to create safer and more loving communities-. Breathe in the fresh air and sit in an Adirondack chair on the lake in Maine watching for a bald eagle to fly overhead and listening for loons. Spend more time in the presence of unconditional love. For me, this is my dogs. Have time to play with them, sit with them with their heads in my lap, stroking them and enjoy the warmth of the sunlight on our faces. I’d like the time to take on a creative project, like painting a room or even a painting and also write a poem about something hard in my life, unresolved, that results in finding meaning in that pain.
This is also a season to reflect on our journey. Let’s take stock of what we have achieved, what we have overcome, and what choices we are making now as there are always things to celebrate and be grateful for.
I am going to spend much more time with the friends and family members who are dearest to me – says Maria Leonard Olsen, an attorney, podcaster, TEDx speaker and author of ‘50 After 50: Reframing The Next Chapter Of Your Life‘-. The pandemic brought the tenuousness of life into stark consciousness for me. I surround myself with people with positive energy and have learned how to have better boundaries with people. I am a recovering people-pleaser and would like to be able to say no more easily to things that do not feed my spirit. I also have increased my journaling and meditation. These activities help me to stay in the moment. Life’s challenges continue for all of us, and all we really have is the present moment.
But what if you won’t be able to finish your bucket list in time for this springtime? No worries, you can always start over with a fresh one, full of more achievable dreams.