Flowers are blooming, gardens are sprouting with new creation, the sun is out to stay – spring has officially arrived in North Carolina! And to help spread a little more sunshine your way, we’ve compiled a short list of activities for this April that we recommend giving a try. Some may merely make you laugh; but overall, we hope to inspire you to find the joy in the simplicity of life.
- Play with Sidewalk Chalk
This one might sound a little childish, but trust me, it isn’t just for the kids. Although, you could grab them along for the fun! An article published by the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association found that “creating art” can help lower cortisol levels, aka the stress hormone. So maybe it doesn’t need to be sidewalk chalk, even though that can be a fun way to involve the entire family and soak up the sun. Just “creating art” in any form that allows your creative side to be free is more than good. And yes, every person has a creative side; sometimes you just have to try a few different routes to find it! A few other ideas are decorating cutout sugar cookies, painting, and freestyle drawing.
- Make a Flower Bouquet
While this could be considered “creating art,” making a simple flower bouquet can also have an immediate impact on your happiness and mood. And what a more beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness and love for us than wildflowers! Multiple studies have shown that participants reported feeling less depressed and anxious after receiving flowers. So maybe grab one for yourself and another for a friend!
- Learn to Cook
Spring is one of the best times to learn to cook because there’s an abundance of vibrant fruits and vegetables in season, and readily available at your local farmers markets. And if you’re already an expert in the kitchen, then try stepping outside your comfort zone and learn to cook something new. You could also invite over family and friends for a fun cooking lesson or just to get creative! A few fun themes for cooking “parties” would be dumplings, homemade pasta, homemade pizza, ice cream, or even a friendly competition for the best charcuterie-type board.
- Silent Thinking
Sometimes the best way to reduce stress is to simply walk away from the source. And what better way than to take a short walk or sit on a bench outside to enjoy the warm weather, away from distractions of your phone and computer? In fact, researchers have found that “unplugging from technology” is like a little reboot for your brain – helping to increase creativity and problem solving.
- Create a Reading List
Whether you prefer a staycation or planning a special trip away, consider making a reading list for those down times to allow your imagination to run wild. In general, reading can help improve your empathy, memory, focus, communication skills, and one of our favorite words, creativity. It can also help to reduce anxiety and stress, improve your overall mental health, and help you learn new things.
- Plant a Garden
Guess what? You don’t need to have a green thumb to be considered a gardener! Gardening simply requires a little research based on what you’re trying to grow, some soil, a few seeds, and a lot of love. That’s it. And the result goes beyond walking out your back door to pick homegrown produce (that’ll taste better than anything on the store shelves). Gardening also helps us to maintain a healthy diet, supports brain health, and has been found to reduce stress. It is a very calming exercise, and can even improve your mood.
And just like that, you’re on your way to a healthier and happier you this spring season!