Spring time is often thought of as a season of rejuvenation and growth for nature and we may
also correlate these aspects to humans. Most adults are busy cleaning and decluttering their
homes and offices to bring about a Spring like charm to their environment. We must do this
same thing when it comes to our mental health. Are you coming off of the residual emotional
effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Are you experiencing fatigue from the Winter
months? Well this is a great time to go within and do some Spring Cleaning of the mind! I know
we often think of Spring as a happy and joyous time that promotes growth in abundance but
honestly you are entitled to define each season to your very own level of comfort. Maybe Spring
means you can get outside more, you may can walk your dog after a stressful day at work,
spend an evening at the park with your family, or simply start an exercise regimen. I like to think
of Spring as a time to put my goals in action. I often declutter my home and get things clean and
organized, I often spend more hours outside (If pollen permits) and implement a walking routine
at the local track to get my exercise in. Spring reminds me of the concept of patience. Most of
the days are rainy and cool but some days are warm and sunny. It offers a great balance and
promotes the duality of life. For those reasons alone, Spring is one of my favorite seasons of
them all. What can you incorporate this Spring? Are you still working on your New Year’s
Resolutions or have they fallen by the wasteside. If they have, this would be a great time to start
things back up. Yes I know we feel the pressure of exercising fiercely to get to our summertime
bodies but pacing yourself, just as the elements of spring does, may present a better solution to
you sticking with your goals. Whatever you decide to do this Spring, just remember that spring is
about growth and rejuvenation. Start a self-care journal and check off some of the things that
you would like to accomplish for yourself. Get a massage, get a pedicure (especially if you are
like me and brave it all winter), get a facial, participate in Water Zumba, or simply set aside a
mental health day for yourself. Just remember that You deserve a Spring!
“Yes, I deserve a spring–I owe nobody nothing.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary
Sharika Pruitt, LPC
It’s not unusual for young people to experience "the blues" or feel "down in the dumps" occasionally. Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life.
Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things "never go their way." They feel "stressed out" and confused. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet. They are also forced to learn about the threat of AIDS, even if they are not sexually active or using drugs.
Teens need adult guidance more than ever to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. When teens’ moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention — adolescent depression. Parents or caregivers must take action.
Dealing With Adolescent PressuresWhen teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.
Recognizing the Warning SignsFour out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings. Pay attention to these warning signs:
Spring is in the Air! Well if you are in the South, you know Spring has not quite sprung yet. Spring offers a great opportunity to clean some of your old habits and implement a fresh start. I encourage most of my clients to seek ways to improve their self-care by first organizing their environment. I suggest starting with cleaning and organizing your home and even planting beautiful plants outside. I also suggest making a schedule of each task you would like to complete and tracking your progress. I decided to clean my closet this spring and I was so impressed about how I began to think clearly and not feel overwhelmed due to this unfinished task being completed. I believe that once we start to de-clutter our environment it purifies our thoughts and provides some additional mental space, which then provides with you with a sense of peace.
People in Your Life
If you are an Empath, you probably like me, carry everyone's baggage and problems. While you are working towards detoxing your home and promoting positive mental health, look at the people that are around you. Ask yourself if those around you beneficial to you and if the will hurt or harm your ability to achieve positive mental health. If the answer is no, it may be time to do some spring cleaning and remove those people from your life. Think of it this way, once you clean your home, would you allow someone with muddy boots to track mud on your freshly cleaned carpet? Absolutely not! You would tactfully ask that person to remove those boots or leave your home. Sometimes we have to ask those in our life causing stress or aiding in negative mental health to either become supportive or leave our lives. This includes family members, friends and significant others. This can be a difficult boundary to set for loved ones, significant others or family members but I strongly believe that if a person is bringing negative energy or abuse into your space, it may be time to separate from that individual. You will feel relieved once that bad energy is removed from your space and it will provide an opportunity to practice self-care.
I Cleaned, Now What?
Now that you have done some spring cleaning, it is now time to practice self-care! Treat yourself to a spa day, get a manicure/pedicure, read that book that you have not read since last summer, plan a family vacation, take a walk, go camping, get that passport and book a cruise, invite family over for dinner, have lunch with friends, dance the night away, or simply plan a rest weekend and do absolutely nothing. Practicing self-care is very important in achieving positive mental health. The bills, family drama, work related stress, and other worries will always be there! Try focusing on you this season and all year long. I challenge you to plan 2 self-care days each month this season and please comment below how this has assisted you in achieving positive mental health and even encouraged you to focus more on your personal needs. Remember you can not pour from an empty cup and what overflows is for everyone else....fill that cup up and give everyone else the overflow!
The holidays are approaching and if you battle with depression or anxiety, you are probably not too excited to see it coming. While the holiday season is a happy and joyful time for most people, it can be a time of sadness and depression for many. With the glamorizing of the Christmas holidays, most people suffering with depression may view this season as a feeling of ultimate dread filled with unrealistic expectations. The overwhelming family gatherings, Christmas parties, and other holiday events may be more than enough to push someone who is experiencing depression over the edge.
So how do you avoid holiday depression triggers? A good starting point is simply realizing that you can control how you celebrate the holidays. Focus on the positive things in your life and start developing personal goals that you would like to accomplish in the new year. Complete a vision board, renew your health and wellness, start blogging, turn one of your hobbies into a business, or practice mindfulness. You can also use this time to spend time with your nuclear family and maybe opt out of huge family gatherings. This method has worked better for me and my family. I usually spend Thanksgiving at a huge family gathering but have limited my Christmas holiday for me and my immediate family.
Remember the holidays are simply what you make it and you can choose how you want to celebrate. If you find that your depression continues after the holiday season, please schedule an appointment with a Licensed Counselor.