Raise your hand if you like springtime!
The running theme with my clients and friends alike lately, is an increase in positive mood because the weather has (FINALLY) gotten nicer! Multiple clients have mentioned that they have felt better since we started seeing a bit more sunshine in the past couple weeks, and I would agree. The kids (and adults) in my neighborhood are out and about in full force, enjoying the longer evenings and nice weekends. If you've noticed a little more bounce in your step, you may be experiencing the positive effects of being outside and enjoying some sunshine. Research has shown that being outside can improve mental health and decrease stress. (Mental health prescription: Nature). Even 50 minutes of being outside in nature has been shown to decrease anxiety, increase positive feelings, and improve working memory. (See link for research citations). And because I am all about setting attainable, realistic goals, I would argue that spending even a shorter period of time, will probably improve your overall mental health, even if just temporarily. If you feel like you can't fit this into your schedule, try thinking outside the box: eat one of your meals outside, play with your kids, take a quick walk around the block during your lunch break. (Check out this article for more unique ideas). Whatever it is you decide to do, try getting outside and enjoying this springtime weather. You're almost sure to notice positive differences both physically and mentally!
*Note: If you feel like you have experienced clinically significant depressive symptoms during the winter, you may have experienced Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For more info on SAD, check out this link. If you feel like this is something you may be experiencing, please talk to your doctor or a licensed therapist.