Hope in the Air; Knots in My Stomach
Winter weather in the northeast is finally winding down and signs of spring have arrived. I’ve heard more birdsong, seen bright yellow daffodils break through the monochromatic hard earth, and observed tiny buds on some early blooming trees. The days are notably longer! The single word that summarizes my feeling at this time of year is “hopeful”. And still, it is important to remember that this is a time of transition and to take care of our emotional wellbeing while we acclimate.
Spring represents a time of renewal and growth. And with it comes a natural shift in our emotions and mental state whether big or small. To fully embrace the potential of spring and all it brings, how can we prioritize our emotional health? What would it take to move into the new season with gentleness and intention?
One way to take care of our emotions as we ease into milder temps and longer days is to allow ourselves to feel and process any emotions that may arise. Feelings of anxiety, stress, and excitement commonly surface as we enter a new season, even one we’ve been looking forward to after an endless (albeit milder) New England winter. For example, on early spring mornings, I sometimes wake up with knots in my stomach that have no apparent cause. By acknowledging and accepting that transitions, even those that we’ve been excitedly anticipating, can evoke more than just happiness, we can take care of ourselves appropriately.
Here are some steps we can take to ease into the new season:
- Be intentional about calming the nervous system. This could be practicing mindfulness and relaxation through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing techniques.
- Make a point of connecting with our support system. This may be time carved out to be with loved ones, participating in community events, or reaching out to a mental health professional or life coach.
- Get moving, preferably outside. Fresh air, the beauty of nature, and all the emerging sights and smells offer an abundance of goodness for the soul. Take a walk around the neighborhood, local park, or hiking trail.
- Do a little spring cleaning. Find a small area to declutter/organize at home and get rid of things no longer needed. This applies to letting go of things that occupy space in our mind that are not serving us.
- Plan and start a garden. Whether we have a large yard or just a few pots on a balcony, planting some seeds and watching them grow can be a rewarding experience.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporate seasonal produce into meals.
- Get enough sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene to maximum sleep quality.
Taking care of ourselves as we transition into spring is essential for our overall wellbeing. By allowing ourselves to feel and process our emotions, practicing mindfulness and relaxation, staying connected with our support systems, and being gentle and kind with ourselves as we are to our friends, we can embrace the new season with ease. Let us welcome spring with open hearts and minds and prioritize our emotional health along the way.