Bring On Spring Winter can be a difficult time for many, and not only due to the cold, grey days that impact our behaviours and how we spend our days. It can also be a time when people begin to feel more isolated, while the reduced exposure to sunlight significantly impacts people’s overall mood. With the longer days of spring upon us any minute now, it’s the ideal time to start putting some strategies in place that will bring you out the darkness and prioritise your mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Chase the sun It can take some time for the days to get warmer, however Australia is blessed with a decent amount of sunshine through the colder months. As the saying goes – there’s no bad weather just bad clothes. When a dry sunny day appears, try to plan some outside time, and get yourself dosed up on fresh air and vitamin D. It might be a simple walk, a coffee at an outside table with a friend, or even an hour just sitting in the sun outside at home. Sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D and it’s important for bone and muscle health as we age and become less active. Oxygen is an essential component in our body’s biochemistry so getting outside and taking a few big deep breaths is a great way to get a fresh dose. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Move your body Ideally, combined with the previous suggestions, a vigorous walk outside greatly improves mood and wellbeing. In addition to the vitamin D and oxygen intake, it also increases your heart rate which improves blood supply to your external limbs, your organs, and your tissues, which increases oxygen’s reach to fuel the hormonal and chemical processes in your body that affect mood, emotions, cognitive function, as well as general physical health and wellbeing. If a walk isn’t an option, simple exercises that involve bending, stretching, and moving around will do! Everyone’s fitness level is different so make choices that suit your own strength and pace and work them back into your weekly routine. Spring cleaning home and heart With homes closed up for months on end in the cold and hearts neglected from not enough social time with people we love, a broad spring cleaning is a great booster. Open up the windows, clear out the dust and stagnancy and get some sun and breeze through. Change your bed linen to something cheerful, add a few more colourful throw cushions to your sofa and by yourself some flowers for the kitchen table. It’s easy to go to dark places mentally during winter so as the weather improves, start to make plans again with friends and family to slowly increase your social interactions. Organise catch-ups with people you haven’t seen in a while and try to get a group of friends together for a meal or a drink. Spending time with others can be extremely therapeutic and can offer some perspective when we’ve spent more time than usual on our own or with the same people. Spring is all about metaphors so adopting an attitude of ‘bring on spring’ will support these changes being made. New life and growth is revealed as the buds emerge and the days lengthen. It’s a time to open yourself more to what life can offer by giving yourself some small but meaningful challenges. Each new thing you choose to do may only be a small step, but the progress you will make over time will improve your quality of life and help you to reconnect with your own capacity for change. If you feel like you need a bit of help to get you back on Track, you can reach out to open arms counselling for additional support.