Staying Grounded Through Spring’s Reawakening

 

Spring transforms the Chicago area, just as it does other cold-climate cities. It’s an exciting time of reawakening as the weather warms up, plants begin to bloom, and people’s schedules start filling with plans. However, this time of transition isn’t necessarily easy for everyone.

 

More than 16 million American adults have had at least one major depressive episode, estimates the National Institute of Mental Health. For some, that depression strikes in spring.

 

“There’s a really natural aspect to hibernating and spending lots of time on self-care in winter. Adjusting to new weather and schedules can be challenging,” explains Integrative Psychotherapist Allison Yura.

 

When patients tell Allison that they’re feeling depressed or anxious despite the renewed life and activity around them, she encourages those patients to remain insightful.

 

“Be mindful of expectations and phrases like, ‘I should be feeling better.’ We each experience seasonal transitions differently, and we often put more pressure on ourselves than necessary,” Allison says.

 

That internal pressure and unintended self-judgement can contribute to anxiety and depression, causing some people to feel as if something is fundamentally wrong with themselves.

 

To ease the transition into spring, Allison recommends carving out time for yourself and keeping your schedule relatively consistent with what it was in winter.

 

“If you were exercising four days a week in the winter, continue prioritizing exercise in the spring,” Allison says.

 

She also encourages her patients to live in the moment, and avoid planning too much ahead. “We’re social creatures and like to know what to expect, but sometimes this causes us to overlook the beauty of the moment we’re in.”

 

Ultimately, working through this transitional season comes down to finding a balance that works for you. Reserving time for self-care—investing time, energy, and intention in one’s self—plays a key role.

 

“We take care of others all the time at work, home, sometimes even strangers. Most of us also need to be more intentional about taking care of ourselves,” Allison says.

 

Think about activities that work to restore and rejuvenate yourself. These self-care activities may include:

  • Taking a bath

  • Spending time with family and friends

  • Enjoying a cup of tea or small treat

  • Getting body work done

  • Seeing a therapist

  • Taking yourself out on a date

 

In spring, you can expand self-care to take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days.

 

“Try to spend some time in nature, whether you head to the lake, a forest preserve, or spend time out in your garden,” Allison says. “You could go for a walk after dinner, or—if you prefer the indoors—spending some time inside with a book can be just as healing.”

 

No matter what you do this season, remember to take time for yourself while staying free of self-judgement.

 

For more ideas on self-care during spring, questions about staying grounded through transitions, or to find out more about integrative psychology at the Raby Institute, please call us at (312) 276-1212.


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