As I write this, I am looking out the window to another 50-degree, so-so winter day. But I don’t care because to me, March means one big positive for my mental health – the no-good, rotten, very bad days of winter are almost at an end. And even though spring isn’t “officially” here yet (at least not according to the calendars I looked up), I’m an early adopter of spring because of what it represents and what it can mean for our mental health.
I might have almost been too vocal about it on this blog, but I straight up didn’t have a good time this winter. I hope that this knowledge is something I actually remember going into next winter, but for now, I’m excited for spring to come, and the weather (and my mood levels) to improve. But I’d be lying if I said I also wasn’t slightly nervous.
I know what you’re thinking: What do you have to be nervous about, Nathan? The weather is changing. It’s your time! And you’re correct, this is my time for sure. But I can already see myself tamping down my own excitement because of how nervous I am that my depressed winter habits will continue. I don’t like this line of thinking, but it’s also one I’m familiar with and one I’ve experienced before.
When you put so much pressure on something to alleviate your stress, it can sometimes be worse when you still feel that stress or anxiety. My anxious mind is very nervous that there will be a sunny day, or a perfect opportunity will come up to enjoy a lovely day with friends or family, and I’ll be too depressed to join. This isn’t a rational fear at all, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging to deal with.
One way of thinking that’s helpful in times like this is to embrace the spirit of the season. Since this is spring, I’m going to lean into the spring imagery of a fresh start, of a re-awakening or re-imagining of something new. I’m not always a “spring has sprung” kind of person, but maybe this is the year to embrace the aesthetic of the season!
Even though I’ve experienced almost 30 of these springs before, I want to approach it for the unique opportunity it is. Maybe I come out of this spring with some new insights, maybe I don’t. But at the very least, I’ll have tried to create an opportunity to try things in a way that I want and am excited to try, which is already a step in the right direction.