The days are longer (finally!), the birds are chirping, flowers and trees are abloom, and that dewy freshness scent of life is in the air. Spring has arrived. For many people, this means cleaning out your home of old clothes and items and removing any winterizers that were shielding you from the cold weather. For those people affected by depression and anxiety, it could mean coming out of your mental or physical hibernation and opening up again to the world.
Spring cleaning: renewal, rebirth, revival.
What can you do to aid this process of growth and renewal for yourself or a loved one? Here are some tips on how you can help your psyche achieve a full blossoming.
1. Set a short-term, realistic goal for yourself. Maybe you’ve been putting off polishing up that new resume or joining that gym down the street. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a cooking class but never had the drive to go ahead and actually sign up. Think of one small goal that you would like to achieve for your own well-being and work towards it in an effort to accomplish it by the start of summer. So often, we forget to add personal goals to our lives and can easily become consumed with professional or family goals that can take up most of your time. Set one goal that is solely about you and your rejuvenation of spirit.
2. Take some time for reflection. For those who are working on themselves whether it be anxiety/depression related or other, it can sometimes be hard to identify how you have grown or changed over a period of time. Sometimes the reason for this is that you simply are not taking the time to reflect on how far you have come. Therapy is a great and consistent source of reflection but for those who are not in therapy, you will need to set aside some time for yourself to reflect. It can be done through prayer or meditation or simply during your morning shower or bedtime routine. Taking time to reflect on where you are this year versus where you were last year can not only help motivate you to work towards a better you but can also help give you an idea of where you’d like to be.
3. Reconnect with friends or family you haven’t seen or spoken to in awhile. If you live in an area that gets cold and snowy, it’s likely that you haven’t strayed too far from your home for too many occasions this winter. You probably have friends who live an hour or so away that you haven’t seen during the past few months. Put it on your to-do list to make a plan to reconnect with some friends and family that you know you will enjoy spending time with. Make an effort to reconnect and build up your supports again.
4. Spend some time outside and use your senses to provide soothing. Spring is a great time of the year to utilize mindfulness techniques as a calming tool. Taking the time to notice the colors of the flowers, the brightness of the freshly budded trees, the sounds of the chirping birds, the smell of the morning dew, the touch of the lush and newly sprouted grass, and the taste of the seasonal fruits. The world is alive again and if you can take the time to appreciate all of the new sights and sounds, it may provide energy and soothing to you as well.
5. Last but not certainly not least; Forgive yourself. Maybe you didn’t accomplish the goals you meant to over the past few months. It’s possible that you sat around and binge-watched all of your favorite shows on Netflix. It’s okay. You’re still you. You still have value and it is important to recognize that we all lose sight of our wants and needs at some point in our lives. If you took the winter to take a break, to recharge, to not do very much honestly; don’t be so hard on yourself. Your Spring Awakening is just around the corner. Forgive yourself and prepare to grow into your best self.
Without the rain, we would never fully understand the beauty of sunshine. You’ve got this!