By Shaan Khan
For Europeans in Spring, there is more sunlight and warmth since Earth’s northern hemisphere tilts closer to the sun. Plants and trees receive enough photosynthesis to vegetate; blossoming flowers and growing produce.
The warmth and abundance of food bring animals out of hibernation and is a time when many animals such as birds give birth.
Many species are positively impacted by Spring, including humans – how?
Greater Vitamin D & Healthy skin
There is an increase in ultraviolet rays from the sun in Spring. When this strong sunlight is exposed to your skin, your body begins to produce natural oils that moisten your skin, and the skin’s cholesterol creates vitamin D that gets absorbed into your system.
Vitamin D plays an essential role in human health. To give an example, Vitamin D commands the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus – the key minerals that maintain healthy bones.
The benefits of Vitamin D are widespread throughout the body, maintaining muscle, skin, hair and eye health. Overall, It allows your body to function optimally by giving it the power to absorb minerals from all types of foods.
Unlike minerals, the sufficient amount of Vitamin D you need a day is only available in a small list of foods such as salmon, egg yolks and canned tuna. The limited choice might not be appealing to include in a daily diet. However, the Spring sun is an optimal source of Vitamin D that’s easy to absorb, meets your daily demand for Vitamin D and only requires you to go outside and bask in the sun some more.
In Spring, you’re likely not going to find every day perfect for sunbathing. Unlike Summer though, you wouldn’t need to worry about the sun producing too much UV radiation that can harm your skin without sun cream.
If the day isn’t cloudy, the sun is out, and it feels warm, then you only need anywhere between 5-30 minutes in the sun to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D.
It’s best to have the skin of your arms, legs, hands and feet exposed to the sun since these areas of the body absorb the most Vitamin D.
When your skin begins to produce natural oils, then this is a good indication that your body is also producing a sufficient amount of Vitamin D. However, if your skin starts to turn a pinkish colour, then you’re on the verge of damaging your skin from too much direct exposure to UV radiation so you should stop sunbathing at this point.
To be more specific & safe, simply do an internet search on the UV index forecast in your area on any given day. If the UV reading is above 5, then Vitamin D synthesis from sunbathing is adequate. Also, you can check the healthy amount of time you can spend sunbathing based on your skin type.
The natural oil your body produces known as sebum, is great at repairing skin & hair damage. Also, it makes your hair shiny and your skin glow – overall a useful resource for skin hydration.
Nature Walks & Physical Exercise
It’s understandable to reduce your outdoor activities in winter when being harassed by the harsh chill and little-to-no sunlight to brighten up your day. People come back from work/school and the sun already starts to set.
The sluggish winter lifestyle can impact our mental health and create a bad habit of preferring to lounge instead of being active in general, even when Spring begins.
Spring is an opportunity for change, the same how the environment goes through a drastic seasonal change with warmer days and longer hours of sunlight. The blossoming period is a short time window in Spring with different plants and trees blossoming flowers at various intervals. Some blossoms are worth witnessing at their peak when the colour of flowers is most intense while still most of them haven’t fallen off their trees or plants.
The perfect time in Spring to witness a majority of the blossoms, including the infamous bright pink cherry blossoms, is throughout April. The burst of colour and their fresh aromas is bound to inject some life back into you after the winter gloom.
Being mindful of your outdoor environment will fill you with positive thoughts witnessing positive change. A way to encourage mindfulness is to keep a log of all the different fauna you encounter and photograph or draw them. You could also research the different Spring blossoms on the internet then go outdoors to find them yourself in person.
For most Europeans, I would advise going on a woodland walk in an ancient forest with lots of native fauna since the biome is incredibly diverse. One of the highlights of many European forests in Spring is the bright white plants of wild garlic that flood the woodland floors and reek of garlicky sweetness, if that’s a scent you don’t mind.
Another tip to promote mindfulness is simply forest bathing. This form of ecotherapy was introduced in Japan in the 1990s, with researchers in the fields of phycology and psychology reporting many health benefits that were great at tackling the tech-boom burnout many faced then and now where we spend hours glued to screens for work and leisure.
Forest bathing is conducted by slowly walking in a forest with the goal of heightening your senses to what surrounds you and being mindful of every action and object. The act is supposed to enter you into a meditative state where you should spend roughly two-to-three hours forest bathing for optimal benefits.
This deep connection with the reborn nature of Spring is supposed to offer peace of mind with some scientific backing, where trees in the forest release a chemical known as phytoncides that can increase your production of T-cells that fight diseases and reduces the possibility of cancer as long as you are outside exploring nature that has evergreen trees nearby.