Why would we need spring activities for mental health? Spring is the time of renewal and growth. With the changing of the season comes a renewed sense of hope and joy but the transition can also be difficult for some leaving them feeling overwhelmed and anxious according to South University.
The Mayo Clinic notes that although the winter type of seasonal affective disorder is most common, some people experience a kind of seasonal affective disorder where depression increases in the spring.
Suicide rates peak during spring and summer and many people experience increased depression and anxiety as reported by John’s Hopkins. Those with bipolar disorder are prone to more incidents of manic episodes in the spring.
To help ease the transition and boost mental health, here are some fun and simple spring activities that can help bring more happiness into your life.
Causes of Spring Mental Health Issues
Allergies and Mental Health
Getting allergies under control may be a way to reduce spring mental health symptoms. Many people experience spring allergies, where our immune systems are working twice as hard to feel twice as crappy for days on end. Our bodies and our minds might feel completely depleted during the height of allergy season.
Melatonin Fluctuations and Mental Health
Hormones, specifically melatonin, might contribute to mood changes in the springtime. This hormone plays a vital role in regulating our sleep cycles and any change in our sleep can make us groggy or cranky which is never good for our health. More research is needed to better understand this potential link.
Spring Changes and Mental Health
Change may be the last thing a person wants to think about for those still learning to deal with a mental health issue. For some people, change feels like an exciting opportunity and others feel an intense instability. Change as school year ends and becomes summer vacation, change in the weather, and change in daily routines can all produce overwhelming anxiety.
10 Spring Activities For Mental Health
Sort, clean and reorganize a part of your physical space this spring for your mental health.
One study done for the Mindfulness Journal even found that simply doing dishes can increase positive emotions like mindfulness and inspiration and decrease nervousness.
Get Outside Get Healthy
Spending time in outside in nature has been found to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Research into ecotherapy has shown being outside can help with mild to moderate depression.
Listening to birds has been found to improve your mood for up to 8 hrs and there are lots of birds around in the spring.
So get outside and soak up the benefits.
Some studies have found evidence that being surrounded by green or even being able to look out on a green landscape is linked with better recovery from surgery, less anxiety and depression, better stress management, and many other positive effects.
According to Forbes, digging in the soil and connecting with the earth is both rewarding and improves mood.
So get gardening! Eating vegetables you grew yourself, or creating a bouquet from the flowers you have grown, brings a great sense of accomplishment.
Learn Something New
Lifelong learning helps keeps your brain young and your memory sharp and it’s also good for your well-being.
Research has found that continued learning can reduce depression and anxiety. It’s also linked with optimism, self-esteem and life satisfaction and a greater resiliency.
Taking courses can also provide an increased social connection and a greater sense of purpose.
Harvard Health Publishing has shared that expression through art can improve cognition, reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Creating can also give your eyes a much-needed break from staring at your computer and phone screens.
Crafting, creating and making art is a non-medicinal way to stimulate dopamine which provides feelings of enjoyment to help you start or continue doing certain activities and makes you feel happy.
In a study of 3,500 knitters, researchers found that 81 percent of knitters with depression perceived that knitting made them feel happier.
Check out my tips on living a more creative life.
Journal for Mental Health
Journaling helps you get to know yourself better and helps you you take control. When your thoughts and worries swirl around, putting pen to paper can cut down the chaos.
It is believed that journalling allows you to examine negative thoughts by shifting your perspective. You can then identify situations or moments that contribute to those negative feelings which can make managing the symptoms of mental health issues much easier.
Try out my burnable viking ship stress reliever for an easy fun journaling activity.
Despite the changes spring might bring try to stick to a daily routine.
Routines help us cope with change, create healthy habits, improve our interpersonal relationships, and reduce stress.
They have even been shown in studies to alleviate bi-polar disorder and help prevent relapses of substance abuse.
I have created this wonderful self care planner that may help with your routines.
Focus on Sleep
While improving your sleep may not completely cure your depression or anxiety, research is showing it is likely to ease the symptoms.
Wake up at the same time every day and establish a bedtime routine. Dim the lights two to three hours before bedtime and if necessary use blackout curtains or a sleep mask.
Our body temperature naturally drops at night so if your room is cool it will help you slow down your metabolism rate which helps you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
Feed Your Mind
Treating your body with respect by eating good food and a balanced diet is a smart self care habit.
This is one I had to learn the hard way! Changing the way I eat not only helped me loose a lot of unnecessary weight but I was better able to deal with the symptoms of my depression.
Recent studies are showing that a Mediterranean Diet may help promote better mental health and result in higher energy levels.
Talk About Mental Health
Talking to someone you love about your experience may may help ease symptoms of depression. It may also provide some useful advice or support.
At the very least it provides a feeling that you are not alone and reassures you there are people you can rely on.
Talking may also help provide you with some accountability when it comes to developing new habits such as exercising, eating healthily, and sleep habits.
Depression is a serious condition that needs treatment. If you think you may suffer from depression it’s important to see a doctor or mental health professional.
These ideas for spring activities for mental health are not a cure-all but there are many benefits and may provide some relief.
If you or a loved one is struggling with the symptoms of depression please talk to a healthcare provider. They may recommend medications or counselling.
Canadian Mental Health Assistance
Australian Mental Health Assistance
If you have a link to mental health services you would like to add please let me know!