Written by: Amanda Levison, M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT
Spring is just around the corner! After many months of early sunsets, cold days, and frigid weather, it is time for Spring. Spring is known for bringing new life to the world; flowers, trees, and crops, so it's natural that we take opportunities to bring new life or cultivate our lives where they are.
If you are aware of any religious facets, you know that Spring is heavily associated with ideas of rebirth, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth. A new beginning or a fresh start on the old one. For those greatly affected by the changing of the seasons, this can be an excellent opportunity for your mental health, which is your emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Mental health is essential at every stage of life as it affects how we think, feel, and act. It even influences how we handle stressors, make decisions, and joys. With Spring, we can achieve inspiration and renewed motivation to strive for the change that got stagnant during the colder winter months.
So, how can you boost your mental health in the Spring? How can you take advantage and bounce back this spring season? What changes can you implement to create a renewed spirit for living?
Get yourself outside. Warmer weather, beautiful wildlife and plants, and increased outdoor activities offer many things that the return of Spring can offer.
Being outside and connecting with nature can give us an increased sense of happiness and positive well-being. The sunlight outside increases serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood, which can decrease your levels of depression and anxiety. Time in "green" nature decreases cortisol which is a stress hormone.
Outside also gives more chances to exercise, even if it is a brief daily walk. Being physically active also increases our sense of positivity and can tremendously affect our attitude and mental health. Being outside reminds our bodies of play time or recess, and as a result, we begin having fun with our workouts, unknowingly releasing the pressure of working out altogether.
Ideas to do this...
Go on a hike! There are many trails in Pennsylvania.
Ride a bike with friends and family or by yourself.
Go on daily walks or take your dog on a walk.
Relive childhood moments like going to the playground, jumping rope, flying a kite, or playing catch.
Go to a farmers' market. Many cities have monthly farmers' markets with cool vendors and good food.
Search for dandelions and four-leaf clovers! You can make a wish and blow on a dandelion; perhaps it will come true. Also, the more dandelions in one place, the prettier it looks. By blowing the feathered seeds of a dandelion, you are helping it to grow. And legend has it that a four-leaf clover grants good fortune. Whether you believe in luck or not, great joy can be found in scouring a park for these two weeds and enjoying the fresh air.
Go to the local zoo. Spend the day petting animals and learning about how they live in the wild. You can even buy snacks as you walk around. Pretzels and Slushies on a warm spring day are amazing.
Plant a garden. You can plant flowers or fruits and vegetables! Whatever you'd like to have in your home. Get good at it, and maybe you can sell at next year's farmer's market.
Have a picnic in the park.
Take your dog(s) to a dog park.
Visit a city that has horse-drawn carriage rides that will take you around the town.
Put on a mime show outdoors for all to participate in.
Enjoy yoga in the park.
Make lemonade to give out at the end of your driveway.
Make a puppet show.
Buy yourself flowers and put them in your home.
Get a plant and take care of it. Watch it grow over time.
Go to an outdoor festival. Several cities have festivals for every holiday, for local accomplishments, and even just because. Search your local community listings for upcoming events, and go!
Go to a car show! Find local events in town and take yourself to look at automobiles old and new.
Go to a baseball game! Eat ballpark snacks and enjoy the excitement of the community of baseball goers.
See an outdoor movie or outdoor theater performance. You can find this information by looking up theaters or theaters in your local community.
Draw on the sidewalk with chalk.
Partake in spring cleaning.
Everyone has heard the phrase spring cleaning, but what can it do for your mental health? It can provide a feeling of accomplishment, de-stresses you, improves your focus, gets you moving, reduces home hazards by decluttering your home, and fends off depression.
In essence, spring cleaning is a reset for your home, and most people only think of that as a benefit for the home. However, you can "spring clean" physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially in many ways. You could clean and organize and eliminate clutter in all parts of your life. Removing clutter gives you your space back if your home is a mess.
You can journal or make a to-do list if your mind is cluttered. If your finances could be better, you can get an accountant or straighten out your books. Go through your wardrobe and remove old clothes that no longer fit but feel the need to hold onto.
Start this Spring by promoting a better self-image of yourself. Set boundaries and end toxic relationships. Spring cleaning also eliminates the negativity others are bringing to your life.
Think of spring cleaning as a renewal for your life. Ideas to start this…
Have a yard sale or outside clothing swap. After you go through all of your clothes, where are they going?
Turn on your favorite music while cleaning the house, and take breaks to dance and sing.
Go to the container store. If you want to organize, the container store has many storage containers and can help create the look you want for your closet, pantry, and even your cabinets.
Do some work in your yard. Watering the plants, trimming the bushes, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, or cleaning up your mailbox.
Redecorate your home or patio to give it a fresh look
Finish projects you've put off.
Meditate. Create a space for your meditation. This can be as small as a corner or as large as a closet, whatever you need.
Practice self-motivation aloud, like affirmations in the mirror.
Connect with others. Warmer weather means more activities and more chances to be social.
As much as it is comforting for some to be home in their pajamas and bingeing on their favorite TV shows or books, spending time with others can be so rewarding. Human connection is the sense of closeness and belongingness a person can experience with supportive relationships.
A sense of belonging is a basic need for nearly all humans. Social connections can lower anxiety, increase accountability, encourage empathy, regulate emotions, and improve self-esteem; these nurture human connection.
Look for activities in your community, such as a yoga class in the park or visiting a dog park with your furry friend. Maybe suggest to your family to have a cookout or bonfire, depending on the temperatures outside.
Winter months tend to feel very isolating, so getting yourself out there can help you feel connected with your family, friends, and community. Volunteer some time by visiting those in nursing homes or hospitals. Combat loneliness with authentic connection.
Suggestions for getting outside and being social…
Have lunch or a picnic in the park.
Check out Facebook events in your area. There are so many community groups having events and promoting them on Facebook. Check out weekly events in your area by searching the events tab on your Facebook page.
Sports! Join a community volleyball, baseball, or basketball team. Check your local libraries or community centers for information.
Create an outdoor scavenger hunt or obstacle course.
Go to an amusement park with friends.
Go watch Saturday morning pee-wee community sports at the local park.
Get a snow cone, snowball, or ice cream and walk on the beach or at the park with people you like spending time with.
Explore a new or nearby city.
Host or join a camping trip.
Go to brunch with your friend group.
Play golf with some buddies or meet new people at the course.
Go to a beach or a pool for a swim.
Cook dinner and enjoy it on the patio with the family.
Have a cookout or a barbeque with friends and family in the backyard.
Make a sudsy soapy slip and slide in the backyard and enjoy the day with loved ones.
Prioritize your mental health this spring by taking a break from technology and engaging in a digital detox. With all the flowers blooming, you can mirror their growth by disconnecting and heightening your sense of self.
The ease of work life, school life, and social life is achieved through prioritizing your mental health. How do you respond when life throws 100-mile curve balls at you consistently? How do you respond to a minor inconvenience? If you are mentally healthy, you have positive or active ways to deal with life's challenges.
Creating a routine to level yourself when life gets hectic benefits you and those around you, primarily if others depend on you. Explore things that you like. Set boundaries for your time and interactions with others.
Explore healthy coping skills for when you are stressed. Discover what calms you down when emotions are high. Mindfulness activities can help you gain self-awareness and regulate your emotions.
Take moments to observe. Sit and listen to the rain, watch, and listen to the birds, pet your pet, or listen to nature sounds.
Take deep breaths. Use an app or a quick guided YouTube video for soothing breathing.
Lounge by lying in the sun. (wear sunscreen, of course)
Have a self-care day.
Read a book.
Color, draw or paint on a canvas.
Take a pottery or ceramics class
Go to a paint and sip class. Located in many cities.
Spend a day at a spa or get a therapeutic massage.
Listen to music. Inspirational instrumentals or your favorite chill hits. Apple Music and Spotify have tons of playlists available.
Meditation. YouTube and apps can lead you through calming guided meditations.
Crossword puzzles, word search, and Sudoku can be calming and focusing exercises.
Practice mindfulness by taking time to engage all five senses. (See. Taste, touch, smell, hear)
Schedule an appointment with your Harrisburg PA therapist.
For many, Springtime is a beautiful way to bring positivity to your life. However, for others, feelings of loneliness and isolation may continue into the warmer months. Seeing others out-and-about doing many activities you want to do could be hard for you if you feel alone. You may feel more alone than in winter when you tend not to see everyone together.
This is normal; many people have seasons of loneliness or sometimes feel isolated. Combat your loneliness by getting outside. Sometimes, just sitting outside while you sip your coffee or tea in the morning can be enough to change your mood.
Connecting with others, partaking in spring cleaning, and prioritizing your mental health are some ways to boost your energy, mood, and spirit! Life surprises us with the things we need; however, it is difficult to be surprised if we neglect to give life the space to do it.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health this spring, it's important to take proactive steps to address these issues. While talking to trusted friends and family members can be a helpful source of support, it may also be beneficial to seek professional help from a mental health counselor or therapist. At Neurofeedback Counseling Center of PA, we offer counseling services to individuals, couples, and families to help them navigate through mental health challenges.
We understand that in-person counseling may not be possible or preferred for everyone, which is why we also offer virtual counseling to ensure that anyone who needs our support can access it from the comfort of their own home. Our counselors are trained and experienced in a variety of therapeutic approaches and can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
Whether you're dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, trauma, or any other mental health concern, our compassionate and skilled counselors are here to help. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for support and guidance on your journey towards healing and well-being.
*For all events traveling to or trying alone, please be safe and ensure someone you know knows where you are.