Ah Spring! The birds are chirping, bees buzzing, flowers blooming and life appears to be awakening from a cold winter.
There is so much visible change that makes Spring a great time of the year to practice living mindfully.
Longer days bring more of that much-loved daylight to brighten our mood. We fall in to believing that we have more time at the beginning and at the end of our days purely because there is more sunlight.
The sun tends to have more warmth in it. In winter I can tend to what I call cat-like behaviour where I move from one warm winter spot near a window or a fireplace to another. In Spring I find myself wanting to be outside more. Being outside brings fresh air in to our lungs and seems to offer a sense of freedom, choice and energy.
Tuning in to your senses
Spring is a great time to notice by tuning in to your senses. Tune in to not only what you can see, but also what can you hear or feel on your skin? Even notice the aromas and fragrances of spring and the colours and tastes of different seasonal foods.
The sounds of spring are often joyful sounds of connection. Birds and bees connecting, people talking and laughing, there is even more movement around our neighbourhood or workplaces. There is a buzz in the air.
Here are 5 things you could do to put a little spring in to your Spring!
Notice the connections
When you are out moving around, notice the sounds of your present moment. Without judging if you like or don’t like them, just notice the sounds around you. Notice that sounds means connections of some sort. Nature connecting – animals moving, birds singing, wind blowing. Notice yourself connecting with others. Smiling or making eye contact, sharing your space with others either on public transport or letting someone in when you’re in traffic. Take advantage of the warmer weather to get out and about. Be active, walk, cycle or jog around your neighbourhood. Take the dog for a walk and watch her connect with the neighbourhood, other animals and humans. Notice connections.
Make your bed in the morning.
There is some research to indicate that making our bed is an indicator of good mental health as it shows self-care. Taking that time to straighten things up before you move in to your day can slow things down and start the day more peacefully. It also sends a message to your mind that you are worthwhile caring for. Make a mental note to be grateful to have a warm, safe bed to make in the morning, knowing that you aren’t one of the many sleeping rough.
Notice the breath
Take the time to do some ‘waiting’ meditations or a 3 Minute Breathing Space. Notice the breath moving in and out of your body when you are in a queue, waiting for a meeting, waiting for traffic, or waiting for children at sport etc. Waiting meditations are quick breathing spaces. Notice the pause as an in-breath changes to an out-breath and an out-breath changes to an in-breath. When you do this for 3-5 breath cycles things seem to slow down. Try stopping and breathe in for 4 counts and then out for 4 counts, in for 4 counts and extend the outbreaths to 6 counts. Gradually increasing the exhalation to being twice as long as the inhalation. Breathing out that little bit longer slows the system down, relieving stress and anxiety.
Notice the sunrises and the sunsets
Pay attention to the beginning of each new day. Note that you have never had this day before. You have never been this way before, purely because yesterday existed you, and the world, are different. Notice the sun setting bring an end to the day’s daylight. Reflect on what you have done today with compassion, rather than worrying about what is still on your to-do list. We often are so busy doing that we miss these times of the day. Noticing the natural rise and fall of the sun and the moon help us realise that we are part of an amazing system of nature. Our planet provides both day time and night time for us. We are part of a much greater system.
Spring is a time when the planet is rebooting, time to do that as a human being as well. Unplug from devices and connect with people you maybe haven’t seen for a while. Make that phone call to see how a friend or family member is doing. Catch up in person rather than by social media with someone. Give your brain a rest from the blue light in devices like phones, tablets and televisions. Nourish your mind and body with activities that require you to step outside, breathe in the air and notice your surroundings. Your mind and your body biologically will be grateful. Try some tree/forest bathing. Go for a walk, ride, even a drive along the beach or in your neighbourhood.
Let go of the demands 24/7 technology and society, and tune in to living as a human being not a human doing – it’s Spring!