Can you believe it? Spring has finally sprung! On March 20th, 2023 at 9:24pm UTC, Spring equinox arrived. Let me tell you, for this fella, my soul has been longing for spring for many weeks now. I almost didn’t make it! Winter was brutal this year.
Here in Upstate, NY, just outside Buffalo, we get a lot of snow and cold weather. With global warming, winter weather has been fluctuating quite a bit for many years. But this past winter proved that Old Man Winter can still pack a punch!
According to our local news station, this winter was the fifth snowiest on record. We had over 133″ of snow, much of it was condensed during a few brutal days of heavy snowfall. In December, we had a blizzard that dropped over 50″ in Buffalo and more in other areas. Over 47 died during these days, topping the death toll of the Blizzard of ’77. I was around for that blizzard and this year’s. Just crazy.
Yes, this winter season was brutal. But spring has finally sprung, and, boy, I’m glad it did.
To be open, I suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). When the blue skies and sun come out, I feel instantly wonderful. Thomas Kinkade, the “Painter of Light”, understood that with sunlight comes bright colors and heavenly joy. When the sunlight disappears, I feel so sad. Here in Update, NY, we get only 54 sunny/partly-sunny days each year. Put another way, that is a LOT of gray skies to deal with.
Last year, I had the chance to visit my sister who lives just outside of Grand Rapids, MI. We went up mainly to visit family, but to also experience the annual tulip festival nearby in Holland, MI.
There is something magical in the power of spring and in the power of flowers. It’s as if they are concentrated joy just bursting up out of the ground and into your spirit and soul!
For most of us, our mental well-being is a struggle with so many factors affecting how we feel. Some factors, like the weather, we have absolutely no control over. So it’s important for us to learn how to actively manage our well-being over those things we can control. There are things we CAN do to help when we are feeling less than happy.
With spring here, we can all now get outdoors. Going outside has been proven to have numerous benefits not just to our physical well-being but our emotional well-being as well. Study after study has shown that just simply getting outdoors can do wonders for us. It’s a proven truth.
In our neighborhood these past couple of days, early flowers such as Snowdrops and Crocuses have sprung up. Daffodils are beginning to push up through the soil, though we have a couple weeks yet before their smiling yellow blooms begin to open. Kids laughter has returned as they’ve gotten out their bikes and their roller blades and are again turning outdoors for fun and enjoyment. Dogs are being taken on walks, tails wagging vigorously. They, too, suffer from being kept indoors during the winter months and are over-joyed to get outside once again.
Whether it’s stepping outside to experience spring and the power of flowers, or going for a walk, or writing in a daily gratitude journal such as our dog-inspired journal, there are so many things you can do to actively manage your well-being and to try to life life a little bit better. Believe it or not, YOU have a lot of control on how you live your life and the things you do to manage your well-being and happiness.
So grab that dog leash, put on your sneakers and step outside. Smile at that neighbor you haven’t seen in a while. Let your dog play. Be kind to those in your ‘hood. Kindness brings joy to you as much as it can for others.
Just as the tulips struggle to rise up out of the once snow-covered soil to bloom in fantastic bright colors, we, too need to let ourselves bloom again and experience joy.
Get up. Get outside. Be alive and embrace life!