For About and By Caregivers
Coaxing Spring

By  Jennifer Cleveland 


We are entering the time of year that some of us find hard to bear–and that is late winter.

The sparkle of the holidays end; family members go back to their cross-country locales, and so begins, for those of us in the colder parts of the country, the longest, starkest part of the year.  Add a serious illness to that image, and it is no wonder that those afflicted, and their caregivers, feel especially overwhelmed and let down.

 But even when caring for a loved one, there are things you can do to brighten long days.  The following are simple ideas you can try, even if you are not feeling very energetic, to remind yourself that there is life and regeneration all around us.

Coax Spring
Prepare a little windowsill garden of fragrant herbs. Or, cut a few prunings of your favorite foliage. A low-maintenance, mini-greenhouse project can result in new growth that’s ready for summer planting. 

Sunshine in a Box
Light boxes have been used for the treatment of various mood conditions like depression, seasonal affect disorder, even jet lag.  Though they tend to be expensive – ranging from $150 to $500 – experts recommend them for the treatment of the winter blahs.  If you’re unable to travel to a warmer climate to break up the winter months, this might be an option.  Be sure to consult your doctor and research the variety of products before buying.

Spring via Aromatherapy
Instead of the common ‘comfort’ scents such as cinnamon, apple pie and vanilla, why not infuse the air with the smells of summertime? Coconut, citrus, lilac, cucumber and melon can remind us of the beach or backyard. (I’m still waiting for a candle that smells like grass clippings.)

Our Feathered Friends
Install a bird feeder or hang suet balls from a tree or similar spot, preferably near a window that you can see out easily. The most basic “suet” ball is a pinecone slathered in peanut butter and rolled in birdseed. Before long, the winter birds will congregate and entertain with their lively spirit and cheerful song.  Note: Invest in that squirrel-proof feeder – the birds will thank you with their frequent presence.

 Another option is to change your view of winter altogether. Living in colder regions of the country is to be blessed with a dramatic change of seasons; and when you decide to, you can find beauty in the soft snowflakes, bare branches on a canvas of white, or the good fortune of a cozy house on a winter’s evening.  You can begin to see how this seasonal cycle parallels your own experience, and how this quiet, barren period is promise of an exuberant springtime.

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