Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring forward

At the end of March, every year the clocks change and I always have to think hard if I am going to lose or gain an hour of sleep. The mantra “spring forward, fall back” helps with my thinking; however it also holds a message about the mood of the upcoming seasons. Spring is about longer days, lighter nights, growth, sunshine, potential and happiness – and maybe “fall” is about nurturing, warmth, reflection, hibernation!

Let’s stick with the spring message. Spring heralds colour, blooming plants, daffodils in the local parks – and our psychology can mirror all that growth and possibility. But sometimes we want to languish in the winter days, spending a little longer under the duvet than we should, wrapping ourselves up and making excuses.

Get a spring in your step, throw off the duvet and abandon the winter – here are some ideas:

1. Write a list of all the easy, simple things that you have done or would like to do that would make you smile or laugh or simply brighten your day – and then do one or two of them, or more! This will get you in the mood to reenergise. My list contained the following: Playing noughts and crosses with the kids, pillow fights, eating a ‘99’ ice cream, listening to Take That, watching a Billy Connelly DVD, having a hazelnut coffee at Starbucks, telling jokes with my mates.

2. Get excited about your goals – talk to others about them, build anticipation about how you will get there, get inspiration from your past successes and from other people. It is important to feel excited so you move towards your goals as excitement is a real magnet.

3. Socialise, don’t be isolated. Spend time with your support network and talk to them, keep it simple, have a coffee, go for a meal, to the cinema, bowling – whatever, but talking and sharing has a hugely positive effect on your energy and motivation.

4. Get outdoors – many GPs state that the most sustainable treatment for depression is exercise – not anti-depressants – and outdoors is the best. Bill Oddie, the BBC presenter of Springwatch, has no doubt that contact with nature has helped his depression. Our caveman friends saw lots of daylight; getting up at sunrise and going to sleep at sunset. Exposure to sunlight for 30 minutes a day helps keep your internal clock set. This circadian rhythm helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle and insures a good night’s sleep which in turn, helps our physical and mental health.

So, when you read this, it may well be raining, but trust me, spring is here, the daffodils prove it, so pull yourself up and get a spring in your step!

I hope you enjoy the ‘99’ ice cream as much as I did!

Author: Gill McKay

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