Springtime is fast approaching, but for many, it’s tough to get out of that winter mindset. We’re at that awkward part of the year where it can be freezing in the morning and bright and sunny in the afternoon. It’s a slow warm-up, but as the frost gives way to a sun-soaked city, it leaves you feeling that the frost was worth it just to see the contrast it helped to highlight. It takes something special to live in this climate, and you have to be able to adapt to those long nights and the cold weather.
During this time of year, it’s not uncommon for people to feel isolated and discouraged. Daylight savings time and the cold lingering from the recent winter months can make you feel like winter is never going to end. But those afternoon hours that break through the crisp weather and make way for the sun’s warmth are just the medicine the doctor ordered. It reminds us to get outside and feel the sunshine on our face, even if it’s only for a brief moment before the rain starts.
Green thumbs like me will have started planting in February. Stick to your planting schedule and make time for it. The nurturing and care you provide to these tiny seedlings will pay off when we’re in the heat of summer. If planting is not your thing, get outdoors and find some time for restful relaxation or some light exercise. Take the kids for a walk around the block, visit a park, or bike a trail.
If you’re so inclined, bring along a sack for trash. As the snow melts away and the wind picks up, there’s never a shortage of trash to be collected. Living in a community takes an effort by everyone to keep our space green. If you’re not keen on handling trash, report some potholes to the city so we can get them patched. This time of year they tend to be plentiful!
Don’t forget to visit neighbors, loved ones, and friends. This time of year can be hard for everyone, and we should all help each other shake off the cold of the winter and embrace the springtime whenever we’re able. Everyone needs help now and then but don’t forget to take time for yourself as well. You are a valuable member of our community, and you should prioritize yourself.
By Matthew O’Kane, a K-12 Art Teacher for the Sioux City Community School District and a Sioux City CouncilPerson. He’s a life-long resident of Sioux City, and an avid gardener and artist.