Today is the vernal equinox! Yay spring! I have to say, this winter has been abysmal. Little rain, family tragedies, and a cold that seemed to last the entirety of winter. But today, today I feel hopeful. My tulips are growing, my family is healthy and it’s finally nice to go on a walk- at any time of day.
The first day of spring used to be considered the first day of a new year, and for good reason! It was the day when the year started to rebuild itself. It was the first day of growth, of warmth and of life. Baby animals born and time to plant the seeds. Pagans worship the day as a day of fertility (hence the bunnies and their prolific nature). The myth of the phoenix is rooted in spring. As the story goes, the phoenix refused to eat from the tree of forbidden fruit and gained immortality. Every 500 years, he would lay an egg and then immolate. In the morning, an egg would be found and the phoenix would be reborn of this egg. And this is possibly where we get Easter eggs. In modern day times, we look to spring to bring us the hope of happiness. I think that’s the way it is the world over- the first day of spring is a good day.
Winter affects a lot of people adversely. Seasonal Affect Disorder is real, and there are many contentious reasons for it, such as a lack of Vitamin D and lowered temperatures. But with the first day of spring, depression can ease as people start leaving their houses and resuming a social life outside the home. However, there are those with persistent depression where it will take more than a season’s change to relieve symptoms. For those where it takes more than a little extra daylight, here are some tips for you:
1. Go for a walk– I cannot stress this one enough. Get the heart rate raised for over 20 minutes, and studies show most people will have an increased level of seratonin (aka the chemical that makes us happy).
2. Travel– Get out and see the world. (I make it sound easy, I know.) But take the first step out of your house and go look at the world. Travel locally or afar. If you are local, check out Apple Hill and their blossoms, Daffodil Hill, Hidden Waterfall, Enchanted Pools and the American River.
3. Grab lunch with someone you don’t know very well– It’s hard to make friends, but inviting someone you would like to get to know will help increase your circle of support.
4. Join Meetup.com and go explore your interests!
5. Get off of Facebook– Seriously, if you are prone to depression, social media does not help, even if everyone is being positive. Lots of reasons for it, but Facebook is just not healthy for the depressed.
6. Enjoy the outdoors– sit on your balcony, patio or backyard, and enjoy some vitamin D.
7. Change your routine– if it hasn’t worked for you yet, try changing it up and seeing what happens.