If someone you love is depressed, here's 12 springy ways to practice self-care together.

Did you know that for some people dealing with depression or mental illness, it's often spring, not winter, that's the hardest time of year?

Why? It's complicated. It might be something about how sunlight affects our hormones. Or some connection to allergies and inflammation. Or it could also be cultural — spring comes with a lot of pressure to feel cheerful, and nothing makes you feel worse than being told to be happy when you just can't.

With that in mind, spring is basically the perfect time (other than all the time) to practice a little self-care.


Here are 12 springtime things that might inspire you if you (or your loved one) are feeling down as the season rolls in:

1. The rush of going over your budget in the garden section of Home Depot.

Image from Celeste Lindell/Flickr.

There's nothing like getting down and dirty with some potting soil. Even better, studies have shown that having plants in your home can improve productivity and mood!

2. Walking around in baseball gear two weeks before the first game of the season.

"Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd!" Image from Leon Halip/Getty Images.

One study from the University of Kansas suggested that being a sports fan could help buffer us from bouts of depression.

3. Napping is just more enjoyable when it's done in the sun. It's, like, a fact.

Mmmmmm. Image from Ewen Roberts/Flickr.

According to the CDC, a fourth of people are vitamin D deficient, which some studies link to depression and fatigue. So cuddle up and take in those rays (and maybe invest in some supplements if that's what you're into).

4. There's no better time to take your bikes out on the road!

Just be sure to wear a helmet! And dodge the potholes. Image from Nelson L/Flickr.

Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can help get those endorphins pumping.

5. Hitting the park with all your friends (and everyone else on the planet, apparently)...

Image by David Orban/Flickr.

Pack a picnic lunch, a frisbee, or your favorite book, and just relax on a sprawling lawn together.

6. ...and then thinking of the perfect April Fool's Day pranks to play on each other!

Either this is a prank, or that child is about to destroy us all. Image from Lars Andersen/Wikimedia Commons.

...of course, then you'll spend the whole day worried they're about to do the same to you.

7. Sit outside with your dog or volunteer at a local shelter. Sometimes caring for a furry friend is the best kind of self-care.

Happy dogs who are covered in mud. A lot of mud. And who want to jump up on you right now.

Not to mention, hanging out with your best animal pal can help relieve anxiety and improve your mood.

8. In spring, people watching becomes 1,000% more entertaining!

Image from Haritz_Euskal Dantzari Taldea/Flickr.

Even if you're feeling down, sitting outside and watching buskers, performers, and strangers pass by on the street can sometimes put a smile on your face.

9. If you're near D.C., take some time to watch the cherry blossoms fall (and pretend you're in Japan)...

And then sweep up the two metric tons of cherry blossom petals off your front porch. Image from Nathan Wong/Flickr.

10. Or, if you're on the West Coast, enjoy the 1.5 months before California turns completely brown again...

Don't worry, it'll be back to "Mad Max: Fury Road" soon enough. Image from tdlucas5000/Flickr.

11. ... or, if you're in the South, go see the entire state of Texas turn blue.

Image from Earl McGehee/Flickr.

Any of these options are good — nature walks can help lower stress and improve mental well-being. Wherever you are, find a park or nature center and go for a long walk.

12. Spring brings beautiful flowers, bright sunlight, and warm weather, but one of the best things is how it can inspire us to take care of ourselves.

Image from Eneas de Troya/Flickr.

And if you're the one who's depressed, I know it's hard, but there's never been a better time to focus on yourself and what you need. Take each day as you can. Reach out to friends and doctors if you need to. Remember to treat yourself well.

Everyone deserves a happy spring.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture