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  • Lisa Farver

Spring Out of Isolation and Reawaken with Nature

When spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, plants and animals experience a re-emergence that's both literal and metaphorical. The birds start sharing their songs from the treetops and we can feel the dew-wet grass between our toes once again as we encounter all the things we had taken for granted before winter set in.

Just as animals hibernate, we humans tend to isolate in winter. We can easily feel sluggish and unmotivated, as we have a tendency to trade sunlight for screen time during colder months.

But there is a fresh sense of reassurance I feel when the mourning doves return to my Illinois home every spring. Similarly, we can all use this shift in the seasons to come back to our senses and back to ourselves.

Why We Need Sunshine, Fresh Air and Flowers

Roughly 10 million Americans deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, according to the University of Texas Medical Branch. The symptoms of

SAD usually manifest in early fall and linger until the start of spring.

Frequent symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include:

  • Persistently low mood

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of despair, worthlessness or guilt

  • Reduced self-esteem

  • Anxiety

  • Decreased sex drive

Isolation doesn’t just mean being closed off from other people. It’s also means closed off from yourself and your natural surroundings.

Springtime, on the other hand, spurs us to remove not only layers of coats, scarves, hats and other protective winter gear, but also our own defenses, as we, like flowers, begin to bloom again.

Winter’s relative lack of sunshine leads to a lack of vitamin D, which can contribute to seasonal depression. When people start to reemerge in spring, you’ll find an abundance of smiles and a collective rise in mood.

Remembering to Take a Deep Breath and “Touch Grass”

In our current internet-dependent society, the phrase “touch grass” has become a way to encourage people to get away from their screens and reconnect with nature. What better time to do so than when we can mindfully watch nature blossom bit by bit.

When my clients and I have our Walk-N-Talk Therapy™ sessions in spring, we get the opportunity to become grounded in our sessions by witnessing in real time the birds tugging string to build their nests, the flowers pushing up through decaying brown leaves, the dogs anxiously barking as they pull their owners along, eager to explore the undiscovered sensations of the world before them.

Spending just a little time outside on a walk can yield several benefits, including:

  • Alleviating muscle tension

  • Lowering blood pressure

  • Improving immune response

  • Increasing serotonin and endorphins

As we walk, our body experiences bilateral movement, with the arms and shoulders following rhythmically as we place one foot in front of the other, strolling through Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, along the famous lakefront or through forest preserves. This type of motion, paired with memorable sights, sounds and smells, makes for a truly impactful experience.

Carpe Springtime: Let’s Seize Spring!

By the time spring arrives, it can somehow seem like winter has zoomed by. As we watch winter melt away, there comes an acceptance that everything is temporal, whether it’s the chill of winter or the hope of spring.

This encourages us to be in the moment, take things one step at a time and embrace the collective exhale of a brand new season.

About Walk-N-Talk Therapy™

Walking can be therapeutic, but walking with a trained therapist can be life-changing. I founded Walk-N-Talk Therapy™ in 2003 as a fresh way to keep my high school clients engaged in their counseling sessions. Since then, the initiative and similar movements have grown to be embraced around the world, offering a promising new way for people to traverse the twists and turns of their mental wellness journey.

To learn more about Walk-N-Talk Therapy and how it can work for you, call me at 773-512-8813 or send me an email at [email protected].

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