Have you noticed a new “spring” in your step? Now that the Vernal Equinox is behind us spring has indeed sprung; daffodils are starting to sprout and birds have begun to sing. In addition to the force of Mother Nature, brain physiology may play a role in our renewed vigor.
In the winter our lack of exposure to sunlight causes the pineal gland in the brain to produce more melatonin, a chemical that is sleep-inducing. This may slow us down during the winter months, not unlike the phenomenon of animals in hibernation. As we move into spring, however, the days get longer and the sun’s rays become more direct. In response, the pineal gland produces less melatonin, leaving us feeling energized and renewed.
Spring ushers in nature’s rebirth. For thousands of years rites of spring, in a multitude of cultures, have acknowledged nature’s regeneration and bounty. Many of these celebrations involve discarding what’s old and ushering in what’s new. An example of this is found in the Persian new year which falls right on the Vernal Equinox. It’s called Nowruz and is preceded by a period of intense spring cleaning called “Khouneh Tekouni”, or “shaking down the house”. Similarly, many of us grew up in households where turning the mattresses, cleaning out the closets and washing the curtains and windows, were all part of an annual spring ritual.
This year maybe you should consider capitalizing on your new-found zest by literally and figuratively shaking down your house. Here are a few ideas to help you do just that:
Reorganize, sort and toss: There’s hardly a more liberating feeling than going through your files, your kitchen cabinets or those boxes in the basement. It’s hard to get started but once you do you will immediately feel a burden lifted. If doing this on your own is too overwhelming enlist the help of a friend or family member. Better yet, hire a professional organizer who has no emotional attachment to your possessions and can quickly create order out of chaos.
Revamp your wardrobe: It’s time to put your winter clothes away anyhow so why not revisit your old spring wardrobe and spend some time creating a new look? My favorite definition of creativity is combining two or more old things in new ways; this is exactly what you should do with your existing wardrobe! Add a pocket handkerchief to an old blazer, or complement a recycled dress with a different scarf. Small changes like this can make others believe you’ve invested in a new closetful of clothes. If mixing and matching isn’t your forte why not enlist the help of a Wardrobe Consultant? Their services may cost less than a new suit or dress.
Recharge your love life: In the inimitable words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “In the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love”. In my experience the same is true for men and women of all ages. If you’re already in a relationship take this opportunity to reinvigorate it: Send your loved one a copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese, leave a love not in his lunch box or a rose on her pillow. If you’ve been looking for love but have only found a succession of toads (or toadettes), why not re-write your online dating profile? If you need help ask a trusted friend or hire a professional. While you’re at it why not redo that outdated photo?
In sum, every spring re-invigorates us and opens the door to new possibilities. Why not use this spring to your full advantage?
Here's to New Beginnings
by Maud Purcell
Photo Credit: Emily B. Johnson