Happy First (full) Week of Spring!
As the weather is trying (emphasis on trying) to change where I am, I’ve started thinking about spring; past springs and the emerging of this current season. I’m beginning to reflect on what happens when seasons change, and well, the short answer is A LOT happens when seasons change.
Some of us are so used to certain patterns and routines that adjusting to a change in the season becomes difficult. We may be used to certain supports and relationships existing that accepting the norms of a new season is harder than anticipated. Maybe somewhere between last spring and now, you lost an important figure or a major life event occurred, and this spring those memories are resurfacing, making it a little difficult to enjoy the possibilities of what could bloom this year.
In a more literal sense, maybe the fall and/or winter months heighten your depressive or bipolar symptoms. Now that the spring and summer months are approaching you find yourself feeling less hopeless, sad or empty. Maybe your thought patterns seem to be healthier or regulated. You are less fatigued and your symptoms are not impairing your ability to show up socially, occupationally, academically or in other areas pertinent to your life.
These are all realistic possibilities of what happens when seasons change.
For those who struggle with depression or have been clinically diagnosed with a depressive or bipolar disorder*, you may be aware that you can have a depressive disorder or bipolar disorder with seasonal patterns.
As we're entering into a new season, one of my biggest reminders is to engage in self-awareness. It's a must. Whether you’re clinically diagnosed or not, it is important that you check in with your emotions and thought patterns to transition well.
If you find that you’re more upbeat, consider what factors are influencing this change. If you find yourself experiencing the opposite, gauge what may be influencing this. Increase the ways of thinking and patterns of behavior that are helping you to transition well!
Here are some tips of what may help you in this new season:
Healthy sleeping patterns
As the weather gets warmer and the days are sunnier, spend some time outdoors
Get some sunlight - some research shows sunlight has been associated with uplifting one's mood
Make time for those who are important to you (not just on FaceTime or over the phone)
Make time for activities you take pleasure in
Eat well and take vitamins - some research shows specific vitamins and supplements are known to impact your cognitive functioning and boost your mood
As always: seek out therapy, if needed
I hope you all take time throughout every season, especially during peaks of transitions, to remain self-aware of how you’re doing.
I’m rooting for you, always.
Diamond James, MSW, LCSWA
*Note: for those wondering what I mean by those struggling with depression vs. those who are clinically diagnosed with a disorder, in order to be clinically diagnosed with a mental health issue, such as depression, symptoms/episodes have to occur for at least a certain period of time depending on the diagnosis.