I’d been looking forward to Spring.
Although we’ve hardly had a ‘real’ winter here in the Netherlands, I was longing to be outside, feel the sun of my face and watch nature come back to life. The blossoming trees and light-hearted energy of new beginnings in the air never fail to put a smile on my face.
But then, the coronavirus spread around the globe, forcing so many of us to stay at home.
I’m no stranger to being stuck indoors. For more than a decade, I spent most of of days in bed or on the couch due to juvenile rheumatism, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. So I know plenty of ways to keep myself entertained when bored and sick at home – in fact, you can get my 130 best ideas for low-energy activities for free when you sign up here!
But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss simple Spring routines like being in nature, cycling my kids to school, having lunch outdoors and seeing newborn lambs and baby ducks around.
However, if there’s one thing I learned from all those years of being housebound with chronic illness, it’s how to make the most of any situation. Surely there must be a way to get that sense of renewal, growth, rejuvenation and creation between four walls?
No matter if you’re stuck at home due to chronic illness, social distancing or quarantine, here’s how you can still embrace Spring during a season of self-isolation.
This blog post contains some affiliate links to resources you might find helpful. All opinions are my own.
1. Get Your Daily Nature Fix
Intuitively, we know how vital being in nature is for our wellbeing. Who hasn’t felt refreshed after a walk on the beach or a hike in the woods? Research confirms that green surroundings ease mental fatigue, lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels, reset your biological clock and improve your eyesight.
So how can you still get your daily nature fix when you’re social distancing or in self-isolation? Here are some ideas:
- If you’re able and allowed, go for a short walk around the block (while keeping a safe distance from others of course!). Often, you can find hidden patches of green and signs of spring in surprising places.
- Explore foraging. Maybe you can find spring plants like dandelions, nettles or garlic mustard in your neighborhood?
- Do you have an outdoor area? Expose yourself to natural daylight in the morning by having your coffee on the balcony.
- In that spirit: have a picnic in the garden or fire up the grill for a spring BBQ.
- Go birdwatching from your window. You could also keep an eye out for butterflies or place an insect hotel in the yard.
- Adorn your home with air-purifying plants, flowers or potted herbs.
- Did you know that even a picture of natural scenery can reduce anxiety and lower pain levels? So why not choose a natural art print for your home or a beautiful screen saver to instill some calmness?
For more ideas, read: 6 Natural Ways to Bring the Outdoors Indoors
2. Enjoy Spring Produce
Ok, getting fresh fruit and veggies becomes a lot harder when you can’t go to the shops as often as you’d like. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a taste of Spring. Here are some ideas to enjoy Spring produce when you’re housebound:
- Order your groceries online. If getting fresh produce home-delivered is an option for you, choose veggies like baby spinach, leeks, asparagus, radishes, rhubarb and arugula to embrace that Spring feeling. And what’s a better treat than enjoy strawberries in the sun?
- Stock up on Spring produce with longer shelf life. Frozen garden peas, canned artichokes and lemon zest make a zingy risotto primavera, while roasted new potatoes, radish and raw beets can be used into this amazing spring brunch. Love and Lemons has more helpful tips on which veggies to buy, how to store your produce and use them in a tasty way.
- Grow garden cress and other sprouts in your kitchen. It’s easy to do and these micro greens are packed with health-boosting nutrients.
- Add flavors of Spring to your usual dishes. Sprinkle dill and chives over potatoes and root vegetables, or add mint to your couscous salad. You can also upgrade a simple pasta ‘cacio e pepe’ with lemon and arugula.
For more Spring recipe inspiration, check out 19 Revitalizing Recipes to Enjoy More Spring Vegetables.
3. Spring Clean Your Home
It’s an age-old tradition: spring cleaning your home. After being cooped up inside all winter, it feels natural to freshen up your living spaces. You may not have the energy to clear out the attic and deep clean your entire home when you’re struggling with chronic illness. But maybe you could spring clean in simpler ways:
- Get your spring and summer wardrobe out. Put those comfy sweaters in the back of the closet and place your tees, skirts and sandals in sight. This also gives you a chance to see which new clothes you could use this season and avoid wasting money, energy and natural resources on bad buys.
- Give your bathroom and/or kitchen an eco-friendly makeover. You don’t have to go all-in immediately – simple replace item for eco-friendly alternatives when you’re running out of cleaning supplies, beauty products and storage jars.
- Declutter your home. If your health doesn’t allow you to go into full Marie Kondo mode, simply clear one drawer at a time. You could also tackle categories of items – clothing, administration, kitchenware – one by one.
- Swap synthetic home fragrances for natural scents. Create your own essential oil room spray, place a lavender sachet in your linen closet or buy flowers. In the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle, you’ll learn how you can simply make your own (home) perfume and all-natural cleaning products with essential oils.
For more spring cleaning ideas, check out How to Create a Healthy Home.
4. Freshen Up Your Body and Mind
Slough off you dull winter skin – literally and figuratively – by freshening up your self-care routines.
- Feel better in your skin through dry body brushing. This ancient practice helps you to shed dead skin cells, get your lymph flowing and make you feel more energetic. If you don’t have a dry brush, give yourself a gentle scrub with an exfoliant to renew your skin.
- Take a cold shower. As unpleasant as that sounds, exposing yourself to the cold has all kinds of benefits for your health. It stimulates your blood circulation and boosts your mental alertness. If a cold shower is too much to handle, you could also finishing off your usual routine with 30-60 seconds of cool water.
- Boost your blood and lymph flow by stretching in bed and treating yourself to a gentle self-massage.
- Embrace Spring by freshening up your morning routine. Drink a glass of (lemon) water first thing in the morning to rehydrate or start your day with an energizing breathing exercise. You could also eat veggies with your breakfast to get your daily dose of disease-fighting nutrients before 8AM.
For more tips, read Spring Clean Your Life: 11 Ideas to Freshen Up Your Body, Mind and Routines.
Spring is the season of creation, from the blossoming trees to new life being born. Now don’t worry, there are lots more ways you can be creative besides reproduction. Art therapy, for example, can be very helpful in times of self-isolation:
- Keep an art journal to express yourself. Of course you can trust your deepest thoughts to paper, but feel free to also draw, doodle or make a collage.
- Document your daily life with photos. Looking through the lens may help you find the beauty in everyday things.
- Sing! Ok, you don’t want to bother your housemates and neighbors, but singing not only improves your lung capacity, but also lowers your stress levels and boosts your mood. So make a happy play list to keep your spirits up!
- Watercoloring perfectly captures the delicate beauty of spring. What’s more soothing than soft brushstrokes, pastels and pretty florals?
- Baking can be very therapeutic. Just don’t eat all those chocolate chip cookies at once!
- Fold origami birds. This Japanese tradition has become a symbol of hope during times of illness.
For more creative ways to boost you health and happiness, take a look at these everyday art therapy tips.
6. Make Room for Growth
Just like the cherry blossom and budding plants, this is your time for growth. When there’s nobody but you, and little outside world distraction, you’re more likely to turn inwards. At first this stillness can make you unconformable and restless, but often, it eventually leads to insightful introspection. Here are some ideas to make room for growth during a season of self isolation:
- Set your intentions for this new season – both nature’s calendar and this period of your life. The situation obviously is far from perfect. But ideally, what would you like to get out of this time? Your intention can be anything from ‘getting through this time gracefully’ to using these circumstances as an opportunity for important changes.
- Let go off things that no longer serve you – limiting beliefs, energy-sucking habits or negative thinking patterns.
- Nourish your mind in healthy ways. Your mental input has a big impact on your thoughts, brain chemistry and following behaviors. Consider a news fast to promote mental calm. Instead, listen to inspiring podcasts, create a motivational vision board or get a healing dose of literature.
- Learn something new. If you have time on your hands, why not take up a course? Learn how you can take amazing photos with your iPhone, take up Spanish lessons or follow a webinar to grow your business. You can also go on an online museum tour and try new recipes to form new brain connections.
For more self-reflection, take a look at these 31 Coaching Questions to Help You Grow.
How do you embrace Spring during a season of self-isolation?