by Karen Flores, J.D., Hotline Attorney
After enduring another Michigan winter with below-normal temperatures and arctic wind chills, spring has finally arrived. With spring comes more daylight and temperate weather which beckon us to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, do some spring cleaning around the house, and perhaps get more organized
Being cooped up inside during the winter months can have adverse health effects. Some people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) or the “winter blues” due to the lack of sunlight. We can become less active during the winter since staying inside, wrapping up in a warm blanket, and watching TV or reading a book may be more appealing than exercising. Sidewalks covered in snow and ice are not only uninviting, they can present a slip and fall hazard.
Now that spring is here, we should make an effort to go outside in natural light and take advantage of its many health benefits. Sunlight, even on cloudy days, provides us with Vitamin D, which has been proven to promote bone health and heart health. Exposure to sunlight can also reduce stress and prevent or alleviate depression. Going for a walk outside and breathing in fresh outdoor air can rejuvenate our bodies and enhance our mental outlook. Sidewalks and walking trails are safer now that the snow and ice has melted.
In addition to filling our lungs with fresh air, a warm spring day can enable us to open our windows and fill our homes with fresh air. Although housework may not be the most enjoyable activity, renewing our homes with some spring cleaning on a warm day may feel like less of a chore. Besides vacuuming and dusting, decluttering and organizing our surroundings can create a more appealing home environment. A common source of clutter in a home is the accumulation of documents and important papers. The USA.gov website contains a helpful section entitled Managing Household Records with instructions on creating a home filing system and it also has a chart showing how long to keep certain documents, such as bank statements and tax records.
So hopefully the onset of spring fever can alleviate the restlessness and lack of energy associated with the plague of cabin fever caused by spending too many days indoors for a prolonged period of time. Spring feels like a new beginning, compelling us to emerge from hibernation, spend some time outside, and freshen up and declutter our homes.
Karen Flores is a Part-time Staff Attorney for the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors and the Mid-America Pension Rights Project. She first joined ELM in 1995 when it was known as the Legal Hotline For Older Michiganians (LHOM).
After 4 years at LHOM, she left the practice of law to stay home with her children. She returned to ELM in 2013 as a Volunteer Attorney and was hired in August, 2013.
She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Political Science/Pre-Law. After graduating from Cooley Law School, she clerked for Circuit Court in Midland County and also represented clients on appeals of Termination of Parental Rights Orders.