By Harriet Lowbridge | Head of Advice
The spring season is fast approaching, and we will be able to finally shake off the cobwebs of winter. For many of us, this will be a time of revision, studying, coursework and nerves about the future. Whilst they are all vital to keep on top of, you should allow yourself time to enjoy the coming season. As well as making the most out of spring’s benefits.
The best way to shake off winter and feel more in touch with spring is to utilise the fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats produced in season. There are many local produce markets within Cardiff, such as Cardiff Central Market and Pontcanna’s farmers market to name a few. Eating seasonally helps to promote local farmers and is more environmentally friendly than buying out of season food from supermarkets. Fruits and vegetables will also contain the most amount of nutrients whilst they are in their natural season. For the United Kingdom consider trying leeks, asparagus, potatoes, and peas for vegetables. Whilst local fruits include rhubarb, strawberries, and blackcurrants.
Explore local wildlife
Cardiff is filled with numerous parks and gardens for you to enjoy. If you prefer a quick city centre walk, there is Roath Park, Cardiff Castle Grounds, or Bute Park. There are also so many forests, parks, and farms just out of Cardiff that are worth exploring. Castell Coch and its surrounding woods are only a twenty-minute drive out of Cardiff and have stunning forest walks as well as tours of Castell Coch. Penarth Beach and pier is only a fifteen-minute drive from Cardiff where you can scramble across the rocks, or simply enjoy the pier and its food. Exploring your local wildlife will give you some much needed breathing room from the pressures of university life, whilst also allowing you space to appreciate the coming of spring.
Take some of your meals outside
Why remain stuck in your university dorms, especially after lockdown, when you can enjoy the changing weather? Pack up your breakfast and grab a coffee in the park to enjoy spring’s brighter mornings. Get some fresh air out of your lecture halls by enjoying your lunch in the castle grounds. Treat your friends and loved ones to a picnic dinner out. You can score brownie points with loved ones or simply provide yourself with a change in scenery to appreciate Cardiff’s springtime. Alternatively, you can bring your coursework out to parks or local coffee shops to give yourself a more authentic city experience for university. On warmer days you can enjoy Cardiff’s nature and sunshine. On those cooler days, you can wrap up warm with a book and a hot drink and escape the four walls of your house.
Let in the light
Winter can be a depressive and dark time of the year for all of us. You can shake those winter blues by keeping your curtains and windows open, where it is safe and possible. Natural sunlight will provide your bodies with much needed vitamin D and can help improve your sleeping cycles. It can also reduce the harm caused by fluorescent lighting. Whilst most fluorescent bulbs are safe and will not cause you much harm, prolonged exposure can cause headaches, affect anxiety levels, and strain your eyes. Where possible enjoy the sunlight and warmth that spring can bring. Not only does it provide numerous health benefits, but it will also give you some of the best lighting for any photos you want to take.
Try your hand at gardening
Spring is all about new growth, flowers, and new life. Why not bring some new life into your home with potted plants? Herbs will provide you with nutritional and tasty additions to your meals. Many of which will also bring a pleasant fragrance to your home. Potted narcissus or daffodils will provide that springtime Cardiff touch to your rooms. Potted lavender will reduce anxiety levels, smell amazing and promote a better night’s sleep. Alternately, you can bring in air purifying plants like peace lilies, snake plants, and aloe vera will boost the oxygen within your home as well as being decorative accents for your home. Bringing springtime indoors will boost your mood and bring a bit of joy into each room of your home.
Spring cleaning your home is a great way to improve your quality of life. You home will be clean, which will be very beneficial to your health as well as looking good. It is finally time to get rid of the excess of dust, dead skin and, for some of us mold. Having a fresh wardrobe, or simply one where everything fits you, will boost your mental health and mood. Alternatively, you can spring clean your study notes and habits. See what resources and methods you have actually used in past assignments and focus on those for any future assignments. Get rid of any notes that are merely cluttering up your study space, such as those A-level notes which you have not touched since arriving at university. You home will look better, and you will feel better for it.
Document your scenery
Springtime is full of beautiful sights, people and events. Do not forget to document some of the beautiful moments in your life. Whether you draw, paint, photograph, sculpt, or write about them. You can do what makes you happy. It will allow you some breathing space from your university life pressures. Even if all you get are a couple of pictures on your phone, it is still a fun way to enjoy the springtime without having to go far from your home. At the end of your degree, you will have a whole bunch of memories or projects to look back on and enjoy.
Walk more often
What better way is there to enjoy Cardiff in the springtime than to walk through town rather than using transport? Where possible avoid driving about town. Allow yourself some time to appreciate the walk. Rather than power walking between lectures and then heading straight home. You will be increasing the amount of exercise you fit into your week as well as helping the environment. Look around you, Cardiff is full of beautiful landmarks, architecture and sceneries to give you a different perspective on city life.
Bake more often
Dust off your old lockdown kitchen utensils and find some time for baking in your day. Baking will not only provide you with that much needed downtime from university, but you can also improve your cooking skills at the same time. You will also end up with a home full of tasty treats at the end of it. Springtime is a great season to enjoy baking, as it brings about a homely touch to your day. You can enjoy all your local produce at the same time. As well as being a great bonding experience if you do it with friends.
Bring spring into your style
A new season is a great time to try new styles. You can upcycle your old clothes or create a whole new look for the spring season. Charity shops and second-hand clothes apps provide a cheap and environmentally friendly way to do this. Alternatively, you can spruce up your spring look with a new hair style or colour. Trying a new style can be a great way to shake off the cobwebs of winter as well as providing a different outlet for creativity.
The springtime season is a great time of year. Whether you utilise it for mental and physical health benefits or to exploit the variety of locally grown seasonal foods. Embracing springtime is something that I recommend all of us to do. It is far too easy to get bogged down by the pressures of life and university. We all too quickly forget that life is still moving around us and that there are so many opportunities to enjoy the small things. Give yourself downtime, break up your old routines and allow springtime to benefit your life.