Here are some small things to add a bit of sun in your day-to-day life
The grass is starting to grow beneath the shrinking piles of snow, the flowers are awakening from their long winters’ nap, the air has a slight hint of manure. Yes, spring is here!
When spring comes around, the craving for fresh air and sun is always running high. This is completely natural, as stated in an article by NBC; humans tend to “hibernate” for the winter by staying in. This leads to us awakening from our slumbering and groggy selves as spring rolls in.
Giving in to spring’s good looks can be hard as it tends to go hand in hand with the busiest time of the semester. But the fresh air isn’t as out of reach as it may seem, as you don’t need to dedicate an entire day to soak up the benefits of the sun.
Experts say as little as 10 to 15 minutes outside can lift your mood, improve your immune system and help you sleep. (Which you definitely still need to do, even during finals). A lot of these benefits are related to how the sun boosts your serotonin levels, otherwise known as the “happiness hormone.”
One of the best ways to feel those rays is to sunbathe! Have you ever seen your dog or cat wander the house and sit in a tiny ounce of sunlight that is beaming into the room? Well, they have the right idea. Sunbathing is one of the simplest ways to enjoy UV rays and is often overlooked. It takes next to no effort and can be done from nearly anywhere: your balcony, backyard, a park, or even just next to a window.
While you’re out there taking it all in, you don’t have to sit around and do nothing. You can always take that growing pile of books outside with you and set up an outdoor office. Sunlight improves your mood and your creativity levels, according to an article in Time Magazine. This would put you in a better state of mind to study.
If outdoor lounging or studying doesn’t quite interest you, then find a different time of day to squeeze some sunlight in, like lunch time. You can always have a little picnic at a local park or even in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be a whole setup with a blanket (although every once in a while it is really fun). You can just walk to your favourite nearby spot and take some time to enjoy your food.
With the end of the semester comes high stress, and 15 minutes in the sun may not be enough to soothe your anxieties. You can always go for a walk. Students get told this millions of times a day, but that just shows how helpful and easy it could be. Going for a walk is a triple whammy: it will allow you to enjoy the sun you have been craving, move your body and take a break from your workspace.
An article in the New Yorker mentions how going for a walk can boost your mood: “Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander.” By allowing your mind to wander, a lot of those worries will be put on the back burner for a bit and reduce stress levels.
Spring for some means stress and finals, but it is also a time of new beginnings and growth. Allow these ideas to inspire you to make some small changes in your day to enjoy spring’s warmth and brightness. All you need is 15 minutes.
Graphic by @the.beta.lab