Look out the window. Something wonderful is happening. After a seemingly endless winter, the nights are starting to recede and the days are growing longer and brighter. After retreating for months, the plants are starting to creep up from beneath the ground and trees and bushes all around us are lighting up with explosions of color. There’s a sense of optimism in the air and anything seems possible. Heck, we might even be able to make good on all those health and fitness promises we made ourselves at the start of the year. As the mornings get brighter and more cheerful, it becomes so much easier to get up an hour earlier to go for a run or hit the gym so that we can get the day off to a positive start and ride a wave of endorphins throughout our morning. Summer, after all, is just around the corner and with just a little discipline you may well be swimsuit ready by the time your summer vacation rolls around after all.
Spring Awakening: The psychology of spring
The coming of spring has a very real and profound psychological effect on us, especially when we’re outdoors enjoying it first hand. It makes sense, really. We’ve evolved to be natural hunter-gatherers and our instinct tells us that as plants wilt and animals retreat, sustaining ourselves is difficult in winter. As the sun starts to come out and the flowers begin to bloom, something deep in our reptilian brain tells us that everything’s going to be okay, crops will be plentiful we’ll be able to sustain ourselves.
Most of us have spent our winter in the thrall of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This means that we’ve spent most of our time in the dark or in artificial light and this takes a toll on us psychologically. We develop an instinct to nest and to hibernate. We retreat into our homes and the home becomes a barrier to the outside world and all its myriad woes. Thus, we tend to keep the drapes shut, the blinds down and the door locked. We barricade ourselves indoors and load up on comfort food. This is a perfectly natural reaction to the winter season, it can impede our enjoyment and sense of psychological relief that comes with spring.
Even if we feel good walking amongst the blooming flowers and buzzing insects, we tend to come down with a thump when we walk through our front door. Thus, it becomes important to give the home a little makeover to capitalize on the seasonal feeling of warmth, growth, and optimism that the season provides. Here are some ways in which you can brighten and freshen up your home even on the most stringent of household budgets…
Is your home giving you enough natural light?
Natural light is a proven mood booster and one of the many factors that gives spring its particular brand of potency. Sunlight triggers our brain’s production of serotonin, giving us a natural good feeling, while also providing us with essential vitamin D. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that your home capitalizes on the feel good rays that are streaming through your windows. Of course, you’re limited by the size of your windows (unless you have the budget to install a set of French doors) but even with this in mind, you can give any room a mood lifting shot of natural light.
For many, this involves the age old quandary of how to choose between blinds and curtains. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages and the decision will depend largely on the nature of any given room, how much natural light it has to work with and your own personal taste in home decor. If you have a classical taste you may prefer curtains and if you prefer the clean lines and minimalist aesthetic of more modern designs, blinds may be better suited to your tastes.
Whichever side you choose in the blinds vs curtain debate, you should ensure that your have the facilities to either pull your blinds all the way up or tie your curtains all the way back to ensure that you get as much light into the room as possible.
It’s all done with mirrors
We can also capitalize on the sun’s rays using mirrors which reflect and redistribute the incoming light while also giving us an illusion of space and a sense of flow. Even small and gloomy rooms can be brightened up with the strategic placement of a few mirrors.
Spring cleaning. It really matters
Ever wondered why so many of us choose to spring clean our homes in these brighter months? Well, the answer lies somewhere between the practical and the psychological. In practical terms, the natural light streaming through our windows places the home under greater scrutiny than the natural light we rely on in winter, so those crumbs, smears, streaks and spots of mold and mildew are that much more visible. Moreover, the act of cleaning helps us to purge ourselves of the junk and clutter of our homes and with it we throw out the negativity that has plagued us all through the winter. Thus, a good spring clean can make a universe of difference if you’re not feeling it this spring.
Get your home in full bloom
As well as the influx of sunlight, one of the greatest triggers of positive emotion is the sprouting and flowering of plants and flowers. We get the psychological gratification from seeing these when we’re out and about so why not bring the good feelings into your home? Filling your home with flowers and houseplants can not only look great but can oxygenate the room giving it a sense of calm and tranquility as well as a splash of color and cheer. To get that quintessential spring feeling we recommend that your home is adorned with vases full of daffodils, carnations, stargazer lilies, anemones, daisies and blue irises. These will lend any room a burst of color and vibrancy without calling too much attention to themselves if your tastes veer towards the minimalist.