When the seasons change, many may embrace the longer days and return of sun that come after the long, dark winter. However, there are distinct challenges brought on during this time of year and some individuals may experience increased anxiety or depressed mood, and those in recovery for substance abuse issues may find themselves particularly triggered and at risk of relapse. Individuals transition through many adjustments and shifts during the course of the year, and unanticipated situations or losses may alter mood stability. Some may experience increased feelings of grief and loss during this time of year. There are some simple strategies that may help during emotional highs and lows, contributing to a sense of improved health and well-being.
Some springtime celebrations can trigger increased stress and duress among some individuals. Maintaining an awareness of vulnerability can help protect and buffer the individual from potentially harmful circumstances. Some challenging situations to be aware of may include:
Mother’s Day can bring bouts of melancholy, fatigue, and depression. Whether mom is alive and well or long-since passed, there may be some element of emotional turmoil related to this holiday for many some. Unresolved grief may manifest in a distraction with difficulty in concentration or focus. Others may report sleep or eating patterns are disturbed.
Graduation often represents achievement and is typically, a time to celebrate. However, the milestone can also signify the maturation of our children, the passing of time, and our own mortality. Symptoms emerging during these realizations can include a range of uncharacteristic behavioral changes, such as impulsiveness, anger, and use of alcohol or drugs
Memorial Day sets aside time to pay tribute to those that have had service for their country, often a time of reflection and pause. Memories may trigger grief, which can impact health and wellness.
Seemingly, there are some emotional events that occur in the early spring season, just after the darkest days of winter. The best defense against these predictable occurrences and triggers is to be in top- fighting form. That is, be well and live richly. Eat good foods, even when you may not feel like it. Stay hydrated, drinking good bottled water and fresh juices whenever possible. Remember to take vitamins and talk with a physician about any supplements such as St. John’s wort, Ginkgo , or ginseng that may enhance mental faculties and keep you sharp.
Be sure to get six to eight hours of rest, and when sleep is disturbed, remain vigilant in maintaining good sleep hygiene habits and follow up with provider if persists. Get at least twenty minutes of brisk exercise- walking, dancing, whatever- daily; this has a mood altering impact and can alleviate depression. Bring light into the home, change window treatments, add light-boxes, and try to get as much natural sunlight as possible into the home environment.
Explore progressive relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. These can also de-escalate when feeling anxious or stressed, yet may take time to hone. Listening to soothing music or engaging in some aromatherapy may also contribute to balance. The scent of mint and eucalyptus tend to energize, while vanilla and clove are calming fragrances. Practice daily affirmations and be consistent. Come up with at least three positive, “I” statements, and repeat them as often as possible. Balance work and family with time spent doing something pleasurable, such as reading, watching a favorite tv show, or going on a walk solo.
An attitude of gratitude can be a good approach for those in fear of their sobriety when times get tough. Compile a list of things to be grateful for, and be in service to someone else. This could mean kindness to a friend in need, or some effort to help total strangers. This can be a most valuable tool when feeling burdened by life’s injustices. Most importantly, treat yourself with caring and gentleness. People have the propensity to treat themselves far worse, less patiently than perfect strangers encountered in everyday life. Be kinder to yourself while working toward letting go of things that weigh you down, such as anger or resentments, whenever possible.