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As the signs of spring begin to materialize -- fresh grass, sprouting flowers and blue sky -- we tend to want to come out of self-imposed exile and embrace the warmer weather.
"It's natural that we desire meaningful change in the spring," says Kaaren Christ, a therapist and life coach based in Belleville, Ont. "Everything is waking up and we're waking up too." She shares four simple but entertaining ways to spend time with the people you love this spring.
1. Shop at the nearest open air market
They don't call it retail therapy for nothing. The act of shopping for bright new additions to your wardrobe is much more than just a spring outing with friends. One-of-a-kind finds from outdoor markets (rather than stuffy malls) serve as daily mood boosters whenever we wear them, not to mention the fun we have shopping in the sun with friends.
"When we are exposed to more sunshine it brings out the best in us. We're more energized and we want our own lives to reflect the warmth of the season," Christ explains. "We're naturally attracted to yellows, oranges and brighter colours in the spring."
Your bold and breezy new picks will stand out in your closet and you'll have lingering memories of a fun day out. Make a tradition of it with your most stylish pals every spring.
2. Take a hike with your friends and bare your soles
Now is an ideal time to connect with nature. Pack a backpack with a blanket and picnic lunch and head out with your friends to the nearest scenic locale for an afternoon outdoors. Kick off your shoes and walk across the warm grass for a nice way to get back in touch with nature.
"We've been deprived of time in nature throughout the winter, so it's the perfect time to kick off our shoes and let our feet hit the ground. It's a very therapeutic and connective experience that has a way of lifting our spirits and reminding us that we are also a part of nature," says Christ.
Page 1 of 2 -- Check out more fun and easy ways to get your social back this spring on page 2
3. Photograph your neighbourhood at its peak
Capture the transient beauty of spring with a photo-op afternoon with friends. A favourite locale that showcases the colours of the blossoms and flowers, such as a local park, is ideal. Then bring the outdoors into your home by getting your photographs professionally printed and hanging them on your walls where you'll see them every day.
"This can be a fun and creative part of spring cleaning," says Christ. "Many people enjoy taking down old photographs and putting up new ones, or making a photo collage. It's a way of reflecting on the past year and reminding us of the natural movement and change in our lives."
As you start the new season, promote forward movement in your home by displaying the change in your landscape. Documenting favourite places in your neighbourhood and featuring friends in your pictures is a nice alternative to a framed photo of an exotic locale. "It can be a way of celebrating the things that are most important to us and appreciating the uniqueness of our lives," Christ says.
4. Take part in an outdoor yoga class
Sticking to fitness goals is easier when you do it with friends. Schedule regular yoga sessions with a pal into your life this spring, suggests Christ. As the weather gets warmer, many yoga centres offer outdoor meditation or yoga classes in parks, on community centre properties or in a teacher's backyard.
Outdoor yoga is a great way to quiet the mind and arrive at a peaceful place as the fresh breeze flows around us. "I teach people the practice of mindfulness, which is about becoming more aware of what we're thinking, but also includes being more aware of our environment," Christ says. "When we pay attention to what is happening in nature we also learn to live more purposefully in the moment, and spring is a beautiful time to practise that."
Spending more time with friends comes naturally in the spring, but these suggestions are designed to make time spent together more constructive and mutually beneficial. We're more likely to tap into the energy of spring and get the most out of the season when spending time with friends, whether that's shopping, stretching or just turning over a new leaf.
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