Springtime is associated with renewal, rebirth and growth. As nature’s colors become more vibrant and its smells become sweeter, how will you invite the radiance of spring time into your own life?
Occupational therapists (OTs) help people improve their health and well-being through engagement in meaningful activities. Mild temperatures, long days, warm sunlight, and sprouting fruits and vegetables make spring the perfect time to cultivate creativity. Health benefits of creativity include increased positivity, decreased stress/anxiety/depression, and improved positive identity and social networks.
What will your creative project be this season? Here are five suggestions to help get the wheels turning:
1. Start or continue journaling.
Allow your stream of consciousness to materialize in written form. Try problem solving a situation in your life, articulating a hope, or playing with creative writing.
2. Draw, paint, sketch or color.
Remove expectations for a finished product and give yourself permission to explore and relax through art. Maybe try one of those adult coloring books everyone has been raving about!
3. Create and share your work through technological platforms.
YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram offer an audience and safe-hold for your digital work.
4. Try something you’re bad at.
As adults we often select to do those things that we already do well. As children we did a lot more; we struggled, we stuck it out and we learned from our failed attempts. Can you set aside your perfectionism — that gnawing bug that stimulates your stress response and negativity — and grow comfortable being out of your comfort zone?
5. Resume or reclaim your childhood hobby.
This is often the most rewarding of all! We all have an inner child and re-cultivating a childhood hobby is a wonderful way to reconnect.
Communicate your goals to friends, family members, and co-workers. This outreach helps increase accountability and can inspire others to add innovation into their own lives.
In addition to creativity, sensory experiences can improve overall well-being. Sensations influence the quality of our occupational engagement and we each have our own unique sensory preferences.
Here are the seven categories of sensations and some suggestions for how to incorporate each this spring season.
1. Proprioception (muscle activation).
This spring, try gardening, bringing a picnic on a hike, riding a bike, flying a kite or getting a massage.
2. Vestibular (movement).
Swing on a hammock, go swimming, practice yoga, jump on a trampoline and dance.
3. Tactile (touch and temperature).
Walk barefoot on the beach, go outside as much as possible, feel the sun on your face, leave the windows open to catch a breeze, make a scrapbook, sculpt, sew, knit or start a woodworking project.
Visit a zoo, listen to the rain, listen to the birds outside, play your favorite tunes, try a white noise machine or tabletop rocks-and-water fountain.
Skip stones across a pond, draw pictures on the sidewalk with chalk, notice the trees and flowers budding or find a rainbow.
Smell the flowers and trees, bring candles, fragrant soaps, bath oils, and incense into your home — vanilla and rose are calming, while peppermint and citrus are alerting.
Enjoy the delicious fruits and vegetables of springtime — roast asparagus, steam artichokes, munch on fresh spinach and sugar snap peas from the farmer’s market or get refreshed from strawberries and apricots.
Can you taste, smell, see, hear and feel your upcoming spring season? Are your senses engaged? Is your creativity sparked? Take a moment to congratulate yourself for starting the process by reading this article. We wish you an inspiring and transformative spring season!
If you need more inspirational ideas for how to get your senses engaged, try visiting your primary care physician.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visitinghttp://www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/
By Brittany Frederick