[Gloversville, NY] As spring slowly starts to make its presence known, The Family Counseling Center of Fulton County is offering advice on ways to lean into the change in positive ways.
Did you know that studies have shown “spring fever” actually exists?
Many of us feel a surge of energy as we shift from the cold, dark days of winter into the warmer days of spring. For those of us who have mood disorders, spring can bring manic behaviors such as the decreased need for sleep, increased goal-directed behavior, irritability, and more.
Studies have shown that suicide rates actually increase in the spring and early summer months. Whilst the common perception is that changing seasons bring hope and excitement about the opportunities ahead, the idea of change can bring overwhelming anxiety, deep nostalgia of better times, and melancholy for some – all of which may trigger depressive episodes.
How can you effectively lean into spring?
Carriebeth Epstein, a Clinic Supervisor at The Family Counseling Center suggests the following options to help transition from winter into spring.
- Get outside if you can or let nature into your home in some way.
The physical act of being in nature can actually have a positive effect on an individual’s mental health. Studies have shown that being in nature (or even just seeing pictures of nature) can reduce fear, anxiety, and stress – increasing positive feelings. Being out in nature can also have a physical impact on our bodies by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
“Taking a walk and concentrating on the sounds, the way the air and the bark of a tree feel can automatically ground you in the moment,” says Epstein. “Even opening up your windows on a nice day and letting the fresh air come into your home can elevate your mood.”
- Look for moments of silence
Meditation, yoga, and journaling provide moments for silence and reflection. Mindfulness practices help to quiet thoughts, relieve anxiety, and prepare you for a more restful sleep. Starting a practice of gratitude can also help to increase positive thoughts, better relationships, and overall emotional health. “Mindfulness can be found in all sorts of situations on a daily basis,” adds Epstein. “Taking a moment to reflect on how something sounds, feels, smells – forces an individual to ground themselves to the moment.”
- De-clutter and deep clean your home
Spring cleaning not only clears out the cobwebs in our homes, it can clear out the clutter that impacts our emotional health. “Clutter can trigger anxiety,” says Epstein. “A deep clean of your home can help to prepare you for the transition of the season and create a peaceful space to feel safe and relaxed in.”
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.8255
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- How does nature impact wellbeing? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
- Seasonal spring peaks of suicide in victims with and without prior history of mood disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2837087/
- The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/having-gratitude-_b_1073105
The Family Counseling Center of Fulton County has been serving the community since 1976 and ensures a broad range of superior, quality, evidence-based, behavioral support and social services to the community. The Center is licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health, providing services to children as young as five years old. For more information about the Family Counseling Center, its services, or how you can become a volunteer, please go to www.thefamilycounselingcenter.org.