Spring and the Importance of Newness in Our Lives
Spring is late in coming in my part of the country. The mornings have been cold; the days are often cloudy and dreary.
And Spring – the vibrancy and newness of life – has been put on hold across the country due to shelter in place and social distancing policies. Being able to get out and about, get together with friends and family, and go “do something” has been essentially written out of our lives.
As a result, many people feel stagnant. Bored. Unstimulated. All of which can lead to depression and irritability. These feelings, coupled with the underlying anxiety and uncertainty most of us are also experiencing, can lead to a cycle of lethargy and agitation.
The solution is simple (intellectually, at least): pursue “newness.” Do something different, or even a familiar activity but in a new way, in a new place (within your residence!), at a new time, wearing something different than usual.
I had an interesting conversation this weekend with a friend who mentioned that he has subscribed to one of the Great Courses in History series and has enjoyed taking time every day to learn about something new which he had not explored previously. He was energized and brightened up when talking about what he was learning.
Pursuing “newness” is not a cognitive trick we play on ourselves. Newness is in the fabric of life: every morning brings a hint of it; the seasons weave the rhythm of change into our souls; the seasons of life celebrate the newness at the birth of a baby and weddings; nature almost shouts at us with seedlings sprouting, flowering trees, and the fruit from our gardens.
Let’s stop and reflect for a minute about what we could do that would bring some newness into our lives – even while we are confined to our homes. I’ll start and why don’t you add an idea or two in the comment section, so we can brainstorm together?
Potential ways to move ourselves from dormancy to growth and creative energy:
*Think of a hobby or interest you used to have, do some exploration (in old books or notes, or online), and tinker a bit with it. (HINT: don’t create a big project)
*Consider some skill or ability you sort of like, but aren’t really very good at (for me, visual art and mechanical things). Now is a great time to try to improve your skill a little. No one is watching. You may have some free time that you usually don’t. Go online and either find a resource for kids (whose skills are usually just beginning, and need extra instruction) or a YouTube video that can help you through a simple task.
*Try: cooking, baking, drawing, sculpting with Playdough, gardening, writing a poem, writing a short story, practice your handwriting or calligraphy, sing, go outside and listen to the birds, try to identify the cars that drive by your window, call a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while, write a letter, clean out old drawers or a closet – see what you find and engage with it.
CHALLENGE: while the Internet is a great resource for all kinds of things, the “sameness” of doing all of your activities through technology will undermine the sense of newness of the new information you are learning. Start online and then move to an activity that involves moving around, using things or tools. Engage different senses – smell, sensations on your skin, sounds. Do something with the information you’ve just acquired.
One final step – share what you’ve been doing or learning with someone. Two results often follow: 1) we encourage and bring out new ideas the other person hadn’t thought of, and 2) the process of sharing reinforces what we are learning and usually creates additional ideas of something we could do next.
PLEASE don’t let the sameness of your current daily life drag you down into a gray, melancholy state of life. Pursue newness and experience the energy of life that will come!
“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” C.S. LewisTags: change, Newness, Spring
Categories Acts of Service, Appreciation, Burnout, Optimism, Perseverance, Relationships, Stress management, Thankfulness