Spring is that wonderful time of year when nature affords us new opportunities to bring peace and balance into our hectic day-to-day lives. It’s a time to appreciate the beauty and bounty of life. We asked nurses how they reconnect with nature to restore and replenish the spirit when the weather warms up. Here are their answers.
1. Nurturing beauty
You are nurturing by nature. Planting flowers or tending a garden is the perfect way to put your greatest gift toward bringing beauty to yourself, your loved ones and even your neighbors. Nurse Anita Nikiel writes, “I like to plant flowers. After a long winter, even here in Texas, I find that the bland brown/tan landscape needs to be refreshed. I just enjoy the fact that I can get outside, have my dog sit by my side, put in flowers. I pick a diverse group of flowers, different colors, and just dress up the house. My neighbors all love it and comment on the flowers and yard on a regular basis. I do try to put in both perennials and annuals. That way, I can slowly expand the garden, have repeats and add new variations. Now if I could only bottle the fragrance.”
2. Letting out the wild horses
Researchers have been telling us for years that being a caretaker to an adopted pet has proven benefits to one’s health, from lowering blood pressure to relieving depression. One of the best ways to enjoy nature this spring is to share it with your animal friends. Nurse and horse lover Sarah Gregory uses the season of renewal to get her horses back in shape. “Bathing, brushing [the horses] and seeing what is under all that winter hair…they look so sleek and fresh. I also enjoy watching them sunbathe again.”
3. Going from couch potato to porch potato
Breaking away from your winter habits is the perfect way to instantly awaken your senses. Making small changes in your daily downtime will help bring in the budding season. Nurse Connie Rose Harvey recovers from being housebound all winter by having her morning coffee on the porch. “I just listen to the birds, smell the lilacs and hyacinths in bloom, and just contemplate life before the rest of the world interrupts my day.”
4. Taking stock of a short, sweet life
In regions where summer means scorching heat, spring is an especially good time of year to “run, don’t walk” to enjoy the outdoors. “My favorite spring activity in Phoenix is hiking in the mountain preserve that is just a 10-minute walk from my house,” says nurse Chanda Kim. “I love it because it’s cool enough to enjoy the walk in the spring and all the flowers are blooming. I know in a couple of months that the weather is going to go into the 100s and the mountain will look dried and dead. So I go for long walks and enjoy all the beautiful life. It’s almost like a metaphor for how short life is, so I try and take in every bit of it before it disappears.”
5. Singing to the trees
Spring is a great time to reconnect with your community and help open the eyes of the next generation to the importance (and fun!) of enjoying nature. Says nurse Cami S. Brown, “My favorite spring activity is when we take our Cub Scouts pack to camp. There are about 60 seven- to ten-year-old boys who are just dying to get muddy, dirty and wet, and sing at the campfire. The food is great and the kids get to learn a new activity. It always makes me feel good to see them smile and laugh.”
What will you be doing to bring nature into your life this spring?