Why Spring is good for our health and wellbeing
Spring is the season of new growth and change, a wonderful reminder that the cycle of life is starting over again and that better times lie ahead.
With the warmer weather, the trees in bud, beautiful blossom blooming and daffodils shining how can we not be inspired to feel more joyful and optimistic about life when Spring arrives? Afterall, if the flowers can push their way through the frosty ground, then surely, we can flourish too??
There are many reasons to be excited by the new season and the positive effects it can have on our emotional and physical wellbeing. So, let’s explore why Spring can be so good for our health and wellbeing and how we can put an extra Spring in our step with nature’s finest essential oils.
Spring gives us hope
Hope is a common theme associated with Spring and this is perhaps what prompted the philosopher Bern Williams to say: “The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created spring”.
Hope and optimism are fundamental to our wellbeing. Not only do they make life more enjoyable, but experts say they provide psychological resilience against things like stress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. People with an optimistic outlook on life have also been found to be ill less often, recover from any illness more quickly than others, and live longer.
After the year we've had, some of us may be feeling a little 'hopeless', but there are some beautiful essential oils that we can use to help inspire hope and optimism for the months ahead. Some of our favourites are Bergamot, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, Jasmine and Sweet Orange.
Spring helps us to feel happier and energised
The increased daylight and warmer temperatures in Spring encourage hormonal changes that help to boost our mood and energy levels.
Studies show that when it is darker outside in Winter, our bodies produce more of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which causes us to feel more lethargic. When the days start to brighten in Spring, the light suppresses our melatonin production, which helps us to feel more alert and energised.
Essential oils that can help boost our energy levels include Basil, Grapefruit, Lime, Peppermint and Rosemary.
To kick start energy levels at the start of the day try diffusing 3 drops Lime, 3 drops Rosemary and 2 drops Peppermint.
More hours of sunlight also cause our brain to produce more of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin, which makes us feel happier!
There are many essential oils that can help support our mood and dispel lingering winter blues. We’ve already mentioned some above, but some of the best oils to use include Bergamot, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lime, Neroli, Sweet Orange, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Yuzu.
For a cheery blast of Spring sunshine diffuse 3 drops Yuzu, 2 drops Geranium and 2 drops Petitgrain or try our Balance Spritz with Neroli, Bergamot, Sweet Orange and Petitgrain.
Spring encourages us to become more active
Humans are programmed to rest when it is dark, and to be active when it’s light, so as the days get lighter, longer, and warmer we are more encouraged to start doing outdoor activities. Green exercise and being connected to nature is a huge wellness trend and has become even more important during the pandemic.
If winter is too cold and summer is too hot, Spring is just perfect for outdoor exercise, which according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, is actually more beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing that a sweaty session indoors. The fresh air and natural light are more invigorating and provide more energy for the body and mind. It is also thought that outdoor exercise lowers the blood pressure and heart rate. This means it feels less strenous than exercising indoors, which in turn helps us achieve our maximum performance. In addition to this exercise releases endorphins that help relieve stress and pain and increases the production of serotonin which boosts our mood. Sleep quality can also be improved.
Essential oils can support your exercise regime in a number of ways; from providing motivation and energy through to warming the muscles and soothing post-workout aches and pains. Click here for more detailed advice.
And don't forget, you don't have to be doing strenous exercise to reap the health benefits of the great outdoors. Technology and urbanisation have led to what is being labelled as 'nature deficit disorder', so just taking time out to slow down, relax and connect with your natural surroundings is also good for your overall wellness. Go for walk, go forest bathing, hug a tree, walk barefoot in the grass, smell the flowers, do some stargazing, or simply sit outside with no devices and enjoy the sights and sounds of Spring.
Spring is a great time to get busy in the garden
There is lots to do in the garden in Spring, and there is now a growing body of evidence that shows the positive effects that gardening can have on our health. It not only helps keep us physically fit but can also significantly improve our mental health and wellbeing. Researchers have found that smelling flowers or even pulling up weeds can decrease blood pressure, increase brain activity and produce a sense of wellbeing.
Read our blog for more information on how essential oils can benefit you as a gardener, and also your plants.
Spring sunshine tops up our Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin that most people don’t get enough of. Although some comes from our diet, 80% of our vitamin D is made from cholesterol in our skin when it’s exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is essential for optimal health and a deficiency or insufficiency can cause many serious health problems including osteoporosis, cancer, depression, muscle weakness and even death. We don’t get sufficient sunshine in winter in the UK, which is why we should get outside and enjoy the Spring sunshine as much as we possibly can (in a safe manner of course). According to the NHS, most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from late March or early April to the end of September, especially from 11am to 3pm.
Spring encourages a cleaner diet and a cleaner home
Spring is a great time to spring-clean both your diet and your home
We’re more likely to be hungry and crave not so healthy foods in the chilly winter months, but the warmer spring weather gives us the perfect opportunity to ditch the winter stodge and dose up on fresh, spring produce. Veggies in season include artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, spring greens and spinach. And for a sweet treat, what could be nicer than a good old rhubarb crumble. And, if you want to give your entire system a good old cleanse read our detox article for more info and advice on how essential oils can help.
Spring is also a traditional time of year to give our home a good old Spring Clean. Apart from removing harmful dirt and bacteria, the process of cleaning and decluttering can actually make us fitter and benefit our mental health. Research shows that clutter and mess can leave us feeling anxious, overwhelmed and helpless – raising stress hormone levels, and making it harder for us to relax. So, throw open your windows, let the sunshine and fresh air in and have a good old vigorous clean and tidy. You’ll not only burn a few calories, but a more stream-lined space will help you feel more in control of your day-to-day life.
Pop some oils in your diffuser to boost the ‘cleansing’ process and to lift your mood while you work! Try 4 drops each of Bergamot, Lemon and Lime for a purifying citrus punch!
Spring really is the season to feel fabulous and healthy, and we hope the above has given you lots of reasons to feel excited and more positive about the months ahead.