With spring right around the corner, daylight starting to last longer than our working day, the birds bringing you their theme tunes, and the cold breeze warming up, many of us are eager to harness the seasonal change. But sometimes this time of year can leave us a little disappointed, the sunshine and summer evenings are just out of reach, it’s often rather rainy although warmer, and we end up having to change plans and adapt fast. So keep reading to find out how we can help you harness the seasonal changes as we head into Spring.
Now, we’re not saying there aren’t some really wonderful things about Spring. There’s new life in nature, flowers beginning to bloom, birds singing away, and there’ll be little lambs in the field before we know it. The weather and days are starting to brighten up, even if there are a few more showers than we’d like, it’s not as icy or dark as those wintery months.
Some of us tend to feel more motivated at this time of year, like we’ve adjusted to the new year, got our bearings and are ready to pursue goals and live life. Getting outside and being active can feel much easier to do this time of year, and eating those nutritious fresh foods becomes a little more tempting - more salads and fresh fruit, fewer stews and casseroles (although they can all be rather nutritious of course).
But it’s not always hunky dory in Spring. It’s a season full of hope, but with fickle weather, an hour of sleep lost and perhaps some memory malfunctions, maybe you’re not feeling so motivated. Let’s take a deeper look, and get to the ways to harness the new season, despite the challenges so we can embrace change.
Copingwell in Spring
At this time of year, our mood tends to shift, thanks to increased serotonin and dopamine levels - responsible for satisfaction, reward and self-regulation. Those who experience seasonal depression - or even the winter blues (the milder sibling) - are likely to notice symptoms lift, with the changes in natural factors like longer daylight hours and more sunlight.
These effects may be quite noticeable for some and may be not for others. There are likely some of us, who haven’t felt so good lately, or have found the dark months of winter particularly difficult and still need some time to feel it lift. While seasonal factors influence our emotions, our routines and lifestyle habits will play a bigger role.
So take your time embracing the seasonal changes. We can go at our own pace and embrace Spring unfolding in our own time - Spring takes its sweet time getting ready, and so can you. Soothe those wintery feelings, restore your energy as often as needed, and take time to process your feelings as we move into Spring - even if that looks like feeling excited about summer plans! Take time to embrace changes and make time for yourself.
Eatingwell in Spring
As the weather has such a huge impact on the products we can buy, seasonal eating can help us save a few pennies, actually be able to source the veg, and is often the tastiest this time of year. But where we can’t get hold of cucumbers, the only broccoli we can find is frozen or tomatoes are exclusively in tin form for the time being - there’s no need to panic.
There are plenty of options for meeting our nutritional needs, and the good news is there’s often more available this time of year. What’s tricky is its predictability. For example, when we’ve planned our meals for the week, and we head to the shops to stock up only to find the ingredients we need aren’t there and we have no idea what to make now.
So we can make small steps to embrace change this Spring. Just because we can make changes, doesn’t mean we have to do it all at once. We might stick to some tried and tested wintery routines that still work for us or we’ve really enjoyed, like homemade soups for lunch, the home workouts or even using the ‘the darker evenings’ as an excuse for a night in. but try making at least one small change to your routine, even if it’s simply trying out a new recipe.
Movingwell in Spring
Whether it’s the random rain shower that ruins your plans to go for a run, or the still chilly mornings that encourage you to jump in the car instead of walking or cycling to work in the morning, or having to cancel your hike with friends due to adverse weather conditions. Trying to maintain an exercise routine as we head into Spring isn’t always smooth sailing.
But by no means does it feel as hard to do as when there are frosty winds and snow through Winter. While getting outside does feel easier, there are often disruptions to navigate so it can feel a little pointless making plans to move in the first place. However, we know getting outside, being in nature and breathing fresh air is really good for us and our wellbeing.
So keep plans flexible through Spring to help you navigate your schedule.
When making plans with friends, consider a backup option for bad weather, or encourage yourselves to embrace the showers - at least there’s some rain to water the plants, trees and crops. Avoid putting pressure on yourself to stick to plans, if you miss your run because of the rain it’s not the end of the world, try again tomorrow. Cancel and rearrange plans when you need to, if there’s too much on your plate, the kids are poorly or you just need to sit down instead.
Thinkingwell in Spring
Our working memory - that’s our mental workspace, responsible for understanding instructions, using information, solving problems and making decisions - shows the lowest activity.
The reasons for this are not yet fully understood, but chemicals in our brain play a role in it: as well as seasonal variables like daylight, humidity, air pressure and life routines.
This can mean lower performance in tasks related to working memory activity for some of us. But it’s not that we can’t, or will struggle, to perform these kinds of tasks, just that it might take up more of our resources, or energy.
So as we approach Spring make use of external resources to help you manage the seasonal changes. For example, use calendars, notes, diaries, voice notes and your kid's memory for things you need to keep track of. Avoid relying solely on your brain power to keep up with day-to-day life, maintain energy levels throughout the day and feel generally better able to cope with day-to-day life, including all the seasonal changes.
Sleepingwell in Spring
The dreaded time of year when we lose an hour of sleep - even the thought probably makes you feel sleepy. But we don’t actually need to fear this, nor do we need to feel too worried about what it’ll do to our kid's sleep habits!
In fact, stressing about the changes is more likely to cause our sleep to suffer than the changes themselves. For the majority of us, we may just be more bleary-eyed and require that morning coffee just that bit more. But we’ll get through the day nonetheless, and when it comes around to bedtime we might even find it easier to fall asleep. And the key for kids is consistency in their routine.
The thought of losing sleep can be daunting though, so building a consistent habit through Spring might be helpful for you - and for dealing with the other seasonal change in general. If sleep’s an issue it might be a consistent wake-up time or 10 minutes of journaling in the morning, having a smoothie at 11 am to quash sugary cravings, or even seeing a friend at the same time every week. Having a consistent habit we can rely on can help us feel grounded and at ease around changing times, giving us a sense of control and predictability.
So there are 5 ways to harness the seasonal changes:
Take your time
Make small steps
Keep plans flexible
Use external resources
Build a consistent habit
Keep a look out for all our content this month to help you embrace these changes, become a master of adaption, and learn to effectively cope with change. There’s a webinar coming soon, plenty of blogs to come and the Healthy Habits are ready for you to join - start building that new and consistent habit now!