After more than a year of pandemic uncertainty, many of us are looking for new ways to relieve stress, and spring is especially ripe for new approaches.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean spa appointments and expensive vacations. It can be small blocks of time—as little as five minutes—spent clearing your head. As the seasons shift, experts say now is a good time to observe changes in nature and take in sunshine as a way to renew. Breaks that fit into the day—between calls, meetings or school pickups—act as “pressure-release valves,” says Mayo Clinic psychologist Craig Sawchuk.
“Think of a salad bar of different things you could do,” he says—whether taking a walk, reading for enjoyment, or making a great cup of coffee—to take a break.
Here are a few ideas:
Get some outdoor work done by pulling weeds, potting herbs or planting window boxes. “It doesn’t necessarily have to take a lot of effort,” says Charlie Hall, a horticulture professor at Texas A&M University. Dr. Hall’s analysis of more than 2,000 studies—albeit small ones usually with 50 subjects or fewer—showed that gardening or being around plants often has physical and psychological benefits.