7 Wellness Activities to Try This Spring

On March 3, Illinois State University sent a message welcoming spring and inviting its community to partake in some fun activities that promote wellness. After being cooped up for the winter, most people are ready to get out of the house and enjoy some fun springtime activities outdoors. The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and reopening of many facilities and places of leisure and amusement means that individuals and families will have more options for fun as the weather gets warmer. Try one or more of these seven activities that promote physical and mental wellness this spring.

1. Go on a Nature Walk

Bring along a field guide to animal tracks, fungi, trees, flowers, birds or any other living thing you might see along the trail. See if you can identify at least five different flowering plants, trees, birds or insects. You'll get some steps, and the fresh air will give your mood a boost. Connecting with nature is good for the body and the mind. This is an activity one person or the whole family can do. Choose a dog-friendly trail, and bring your pet along, too.

2. Plant Some Flowers

Now is a great time to start planting flowers. You can plant bulbs now. If you prefer annual flowers, you can start growing them under UV lights indoors. By the time the last frost has occurred, your seedlings will be ready to plant in the ground. Consider choosing plants that are native to your community. They will benefit the local birds, honeybees and butterflies. You can also start growing tomatoes, peppers and other garden fruits and vegetables indoors. After the last frost, transfer them outdoors to the ground, raised bets or pots.

3. Do Some Spring Cleaning

There's nothing quite like getting the layers of dust, dirt and grime off your vehicle, windows and floors. Some spring cleaning takes effort, but it will improve your living space and your mood. Now is also a good time to swap out the heavy curtains and quilts that you used during the winter months and switch them out for lighter fabrics and coverings for the warmer months of the year.

4. Get Rid of Some Clutter

Most people have a few things laying around the house that they're not going to use. Perhaps you have a broken chair that you thought about getting repaired, but you just haven't gotten to it. Maybe you have a pile of boxes from holiday packages, and they need to be recycled. You may even have a stack of winter clothes that no longer fit or suit your style. As part of your spring cleaning, go through your home. Look for things that are no longer useful, functional or worth the space they take up. Donating, giving away, recycling or throwing them in the trash will free up your space. Living in a cluttered environment is known to be a trigger for anxiety and depression, and getting rid of the clutter should help give your mood a boost.

5. Get a New Pair of Athletic Shoes

If you've been wearing the same old shoes since last autumn, it's probably time for a new pair. Your feet will thank you when you walk out the door to go on a leisurely stroll or vigorous run through the neighborhood. Be sure to get anti-slip shoes that will keep you steady if you have to walk through some spring rain puddles. Look for shoes that have a wide toe box, plenty of arch support and a cushioning sole to protect your feet.

6. Learn Something New

Spring is a time for growth and renewal. You could freshen up your style of thinking by signing up for a class or borrowing a book from the library and learning something new. Perhaps you're bored with your current workout routine. Now could be a great time to sign up for an outdoor rock climbing class. If you've always envied your friend's talent for painting or drawing, take a look at the offerings in art classes at your nearest community center.

7. Go Outside

Now that the weather is warming up, spend more time outside. Be sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun's UV rays. Find a park bench, and do some people watching. Put a lawn chair on your patio, and listen to the birds. Consider this a mindfulness break for your mental health.

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