• leighmcswan

Self Care for Spring

Updated: Apr 21

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


The days are getting longer, warmer, sunnier…. as I sit here, on my couch, cup of earl grey in hand, I’m directly facing my backyard and it’s abundantly clear- spring is in the air. The lawn is a resting spot for Wallace and Bruster, a feeding ground for robins, taking off and landing every few seconds, a neighbour is burning leaves and brush- it all feels so fresh, new, simple and satisfying. Spring signifies something slightly different for many of us but the cornerstone of spring is always about care: caring for new life from the birth of animals to the birth of a new garden to the care you put into your most valuable asset- yourself. Care for yourself the way you care for others so that during this season of growth you’re planting strong roots that allow you to blossom into the best and happiest you. Self care for spring is gentle. It’s kind- easy but impactful. It can be slow but it should be consistent which is why I created this Self Care for Spring checklist so that you’re reminded to check in with yourself more frequently than you have in the past.

You’ll find 8 practices in my recent YouTube video, which you can watch here, and 14 self care practices on that checklist. Let’s look at 3 you can do several times a day, here.

Self Care Practice 1: Go for a Midday Walk

Did you know that your ability to be focused and productive is limited? Research has suggested that working in small chunks of time, with rest periods in between, such as a midday walk can help with focus, since our attention tends to wane after a certain period. How long that time period lasts depends on the person. Some studies that have looked at work and classroom performance place the range anywhere from 10 minutes to 52 minutes (1). Decide on a time frame that works for you and give yourself a break often. Nature paired with light, low impact movement such as walking can leave us feeling better, mentally. Research has shown that various types of nature experiences are associated with mental health benefits in many ways (2) simply by existing in nature, observing your surrounding and listening to natures sounds improves your mood.

Self Care Practice 2: Treat Yourself to a Green Juice

There are two benefits to buying yourself a really good quality, organic green juice when it comes to self care. One, it’s a bougie, high price point bevy, but it’s still going to fall well under $20 even if you live in Manhattan and magical, reiki master, starseed gnomes make it for you- so it feels super indulgent, luxurious and like the ultimate splurge for a cup of liquid. But that’s the point. It’s cheaper than a bottle of wine, 3 trips to Starbucks and better for you than getting your nails done (which I also consider self-care even though it’s an uber toxic practice). The second is that it nourishes YOU. No one can see the good the green juice does for you (unlike getting your nails done) so it truly is an act of self-love. Giving our bodies nutrients, minerals, vitamins, micronutrients…. it’s all a way that delivers (on a cellular level) the message of "I love you." Your body is waking up from a season of hibernation, now is the time to deliver fresh produce in abundance.

Self Care Practice 3: Get Your Hands Dirty

One group of holistic therapies that aim to treat the whole person and has been well researched through surveys and randomized trials is so-called green care, or therapy by exposure to plants and gardening (3).The therapeutic benefits of gardening is something that gets touted all the time by horticultural enthusiasts but did you realize the physiological benefits? There many trillions of bacteria that live in soil and our exposure to those bacteria through physical touch and inhalation can lead to long lasting benefits. One type of bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress (4). Even if you’re not a greenthumb, per se, like me, walking barefoot in the soil, playing in the dirt with your kids and exposing yourself to dirt can have the same benefits. So go ahead, get dirty- it’ll make you feel better!


If you can, incorporate these 3 self care practices for spring into your life this week, maybe even more than once and then download this checklist to discover even more ways you can start a self care practice for spring, regularly.

In vibrant health,

Leigh




References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/focus-on-concentration

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6656547/

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334070/

  4. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/antidepressant-microbes-soil.htm

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