Spring is finally here! Winter can be a challenging season for any of us. The cold weather and gray skies can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, lead to depressive feelings, or further social isolation. Spring is all about reawakening; flowers bloom, patios open up, and morning walks begin.
‘Spring Cleaning’ is a phrase that is used to describe the deep clean we often do as Spring rolls around; winter jackets get stored, dust gets cleared, and closets are cleaned. It’s a time to refresh and look forward to warmer and sunnier days. Though we usually think of ‘Spring Cleaning’ in terms of physical space, the idea can be applied to mental health too! Below are five ways to clean out some of the anxiety of the past few months:
Sometimes we get so caught up in feeling anxious that we forget the reason we started feeling this way. Start thinking about the origins of these feelings. Did you have a stressful day at work? An argument with your partner? Maybe you are anxious about a mistake you made. Recognizing the cause of anxiety can help us understand how to move through it in a healthy way.
Once you understand where your anxiety is coming from, visualize yourself releasing it. Intentional breathing can be helpful; when you exhale, think about the stressor and picture it falling away. If you want, the ritual can be a bit more physical or literal; write the stressor on a piece of paper, rip it up, and throw it out. Releasing comes in many forms, find the one that feels right for you.
Thinking about the future can alleviate anxiety in the present. Try to think of things you are excited for in the future. If that doesn’t work, write about something that you want to achieve, and focus your thoughts and energy on making a plan to get there.
Spending time with friends can be a great anxiety reducing activity. Choose to surround yourself with people who make you feel positive about the future and confident in yourself. If you are comfortable, open up to your friends and family about your anxiety. They may have good resources or tips to help you with your feelings.
If things start to feel chaotic in your brain, organize the physical space around you. The act of organizing can settle feelings of anxiety and be a physical symbol of calmness in your mind. Traditional ‘Spring Cleaning’ might actually help you clean out your anxiety.
These are just five examples of the many ways that you can take stock of and reduce your anxiety. Use the change in seasons as a turning point for your mental health management.