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Health & Wellness

Spring awakening: 8 ways to spend those extra hours of sun

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Spring has sprung, and boy, does it feel like a victory. We made it through the winter! As the days stretch gloriously into the night, have you thought about how you’re going to spend those extra hours of sunshine?

Here are some ideas to take advantage of the spring awakening:

Start sprouting those seeds. It’s time to plan out your bountiful garden! Gardening can bring so much light into your life. It’s a source of fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs, of course, but also a way to connect with the earth, whether the fruits of your labor bloom in your backyard, on your windowsill or in a community space. It can be incredibly satisfying to watch a seed transform into a tomato or cucumber vine and then become a part of a meal shared with friends.

Support your local farmers by making regular trips to your local farmers market. There, you’ll find fresh, seasonal favorites and maybe even discover fruits and vegetables that are new to you. Plus, it’s a great way to support local businesses and get to know your neighbors while spending time outside. 

Start a new workout routine. Map out a walking route, find a nearby jogging path, hop on your bike, or head to the local pool or tennis court and take advantage of the extra sunshine. Try using a fitness tracking app and set goals for yourself to keep motivated. As always, make sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Oh, and invite your friends along to make it a social outing.

Give your house a deep seasonal cleaning. Grab the mop and bucket, open the windows, blast some tunes and spend a weekend spring-cleaning. If you have grandkids nearby, invite them over to help, and offer to make it worth their while (in cookies or cash — your call).  This is the season of new beginnings, so it’s a good time to donate old items and declutter as you let the sunshine in. While you're at it, add some bright accents to your home and fill a vase or two with fresh flowers as a constant reminder that spring is in the air.    

Plan a picnic. If you live anywhere that experiences a cold winter, you know the joys of the first spring picnic (even if you have to haul jackets and a blanket along). Invite friends and family to meet in a park and bring their favorite food items to share — along with kites to fly and balls to toss — as you all reconnect outside.

Take a spring break. Why should school kids have all the fun? Start planning a spring trip to a place you’ve been wanting to go from the mountains to the beach or a local lake. Don’t have time to take a long break? Designate a “spring break” day and visit a new park or pool for a change of pace.

Build a bird feeder. Do a quick online search and you’ll see it’s easier than it sounds. (It can be as simple as a hanging mason jar or placing bird-friendly snacks in a bowl and saucer). Keep it filled with seeds and you’ll find that the feathered friends it invites can deliver hours of entertainment. 

Try meat-free Mondays. Those soups and stews were comfort food for dark winter days. But now that spring it here, it’s time to fill your diet with bright colors that change with the seasons. Want to know an easy way to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet? Go vegetarian one day a week (or more if you wish!). Spend some time each week looking up new recipes to try. With entrée salads, grain bowls, stir-fries or even vegetarian versions of your favorite meals, we’re willing to bet you won’t miss the meat.

So dust off those sandals and head outside; spring is starting! As always, remember to wear sunscreen, drink enough of water and take care of yourself so you can enjoy the blue skies and warm breezes all season long.

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