Written by: Heather Thomasson, LPC-MHSP, PMH-C
Spring is here, friends! For many, the change of seasons and start of the spring season brings warmer weather, the welcoming of change, growth and rebirth. This not only applies to the trees, flowers, and overall nature, but it can also apply to people like you and me. Spring season brings an increased kinetic energy compared to winter months, along with the ideas of "Spring Cleaning", floral prints on our clothing, brighter colors in home decor and much more that impacts our psyche.
It should be noted that the changing of seasons is not the end-all-be-all for seasonal depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles, as many may believe. For some, it may even have a worsening impact on mental health, as new research indicates there is an increase of suicidal thoughts and behaviors with the spring season as well as increases to anxiety and depression levels without suicidal thoughts/behaviors.
But why is this?
Why does this happen?
What are some steps to take to navigate the changes?
Why does spring affect mental health?
Friends, let's face it- change is tough for most of us. And one of the biggest reasons people may have an increase of symptoms is because of all of the changes that come with Spring. Let's also not overlook that this may very well be the closest to "normal" Spring season for us in over two years thanks to COVID-19. This definitely creates an atmosphere for increased excitement, whereas for others it can also bring a feeling of anxiety. Change can look a lot of ways: school becomes summer, planning vacation, change in weather and attire, change in daily routines, and much more.
Spring is also a popular time for major life events such as graduations, weddings, Mother's Day, and other holidays. This can mean social gathers, celebrations, parties, family gatherings, and/or the lack thereof for those with low support. Other factors to consider include our physiological changes- and for those of us with seasonal allergies, we are NOT okay. Our immune system is working overtime and even with daily medications we may not feel our best. Our body and mind may feel helpless to the allergy season, which may increase isolation. There are so many other factors to consider as well.
3 simple steps to better navigate the Spring season:
Establish a Routine- This not only works for kiddos, but for us big kids, AKA "adults" also. It is so important to find a routine and STICK WITH IT. Despite the changes spring might bring, try to find at least one consistent activity for your week to look forward to. This creates a sense of normalcy that we all desperately need and it can look a lot of ways! It could be Taco Tuesday with friends, Monday evening walks with the dog, an hour of self-care on Saturdays, etc.
Assess your Needs- Springtime can bring many opportunities to connect with others. There are graduations, weddings, BBQ's, local festivals and so much more. And while they all may sound fun, it is import to assess your needs and wants. You are allowed to decline an invitation if you are people'd-out and need to rest. Just because you have the opportunity to go, does not mean that you *have* to go. Say NO. Without guilt is a plus also!
Ask for Help- If you know Spring is a difficult time for you- could hold a trauma trigger, maybe you have awful allergies, or just generally off of your patterns in the past, please reach out to (healthy, safe, positive) friends or family for a support system. You can also seek out a therapist or treatment to help you process your feelings - and we can definitely help you with that.
Here's What's in Our Amazon Carts to ENJOY Spring:
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The spring time changes may cause some unwanted changes to our mental health, but Sunflower Counseling Services is here to help you navigate these changes. Our team of licensed professionals tailor treatment programs to meet the unique needs of each individual.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, it’s important to reach out for help. You are not alone- Sunflower Counseling is here to support you in your journey towards healing. You can reach out office at 901-232-1956 to inquire about an appointment.