Did March feel extra long and awful to anyone else this year? Maybe the weather, bringing most of the U.S. nothing but dreary cold, facilitated this misery. March, at least for me, has been nothing but hard luck and impatiently waiting for spring. So, I would like to take a minute and congratulate us all on making it through, and offer a happy and hopeful reminder that April is here! Three cheers for April, which marks the return of leaves and birds to the sad, dead-looking trees outside our windows. It’s the month to switch out the sweaters for skirts, the snow boots for sandals. It’s when we start planting gardens and stop resenting our dogs for requiring us to accompany them outside while they do their business. April—perhaps to make up for the drudgery of March—is also sprinkled with fun, easily celebrated holidays to help banish your winter blues. Here are some of the highlights:
April 2: International Children’s Book Day
Background: The International Board on Books for Youth (IBBY) designated April 2nd, the birthday of beloved Danish storyteller Hans Christian Anderson (1805), as International Children’s Book Day.
Ways to celebrate: Take time to revisit a favorite children’s book from your childhood. Go to your local book store or library if you don’t own a copy, and share this book with a child in your life. IBBY also organizes events and readings to celebrate International Children’s Book Day. To find events in your area, visit http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=269.
April 2: National Walk to Work Day
Background: In 2004, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson declared April 2nd National Walk to Work Day as a positive way to raise awareness and combat rising obesity rates and sedentary lifestyles.
Ways to celebrate: Just walk to work! Alternatively, take a walk during your lunch break, or with your family when you get home. You can reap all kinds of health benefits by walking 30 minutes a day, including weight loss and a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes,. You can also gain emotional and mental benefits by using a short walk as a form of stress relief. Use this day to jumpstart a healthy habit.
April 14th: International Moment of Laughter Day
Background: Humorologist and public speaker Izzy Gesell established the Moment of Laughter Day to encourage people to laugh. “Laughter comes right after breathing as just about the healthiest thing you can do,” Gesell explains on his website. “It relieves stress, instills optimism, raises self-confidence, defuses resistance to change, and enhances all your relationships.”
Ways to celebrate: Tell jokes, anecdotes, or do other funny things that cause people around you to laugh.
April 19th: National High Five Day
Background: This holiday was founded in 2002 by college students Conor Lastowka, Sam Miotke, and Wynn Walent at the University of Virginia. They celebrated by giving fellow students free lemonade and high fives as a way to boost campus morale. http://www.nationalhighfiveday.com/
Ways to celebrate: High five a family member, friend, coworker, or even a stranger. Explain that today is a national holiday and they should pay the high five forward. It’s a small, simple way to make someone smile.
April 24th: Take Your Daughter to Work Day
Background: This day was established in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation for Women, which sought to give girls more direct attention and an insight into possible career opportunities. In recent years, the holiday has been revised to Take your Daughter or Son to Work Day.
Ways to celebrate: Don’t have a child of your own? Offer to take a niece or nephew to work with you! Spending the day experiencing the professional world can shape and inspire a child in your life.
And finally, if this is not enough to fill you with joyful anticipation for this upcoming month, look no further than April 6th, the season 4 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones! Watch the trailer here.