Early Springtime Blues + Anxiety: Natural Ways to Deal
The days are getting longer, brighter, and warmer, so why do you feel so blue?
Many people find themselves asking this question this time of year. Coming out of a long, hard Winter, it seems counter-intuitive to be feeling nervous, depressed, agitated or anxious, and yet year after year, the coming of Spring sparks an increase in people experiencing these symptoms.
Note I said 'symptoms', as oftentimes these feelings or states of mind can be indicators of deeper issues beginning to surface: It could be a dissatisfaction with one's life or station, an increasing disquiet over something that is not "right", a feeling of being stuck or stymied, an unhealthy lifestyle or relationship, and so on.
Rather than simply addressing the symptoms (which unfortunately most people do, which is why there's also an increase in prescriptions this time of year), seek to address the underlying cause(s), and then take action.
Here how you can discover the underlying cause(s) of your feelings:
Get Quiet to connect: It is so, so easy for us to distract ourselves in this day and age. Schedule an hour of quiet time, shut off all electronics, and put everything else aside so you can just be with yourself.
Ask Yourself Questions: First, acknowledge whatever it is that you are feeling, out loud if necessary "Ok, I'm feeling anxious right now". Breathe deeply at least 2 or 3 times, and then ask yourself "Why?". Don't try and force the answers, just ask and see what floats up to you in reply. You can journal or even draw pictures to help you open up and relax.
Make a plan: Once you're aware of your underlying cause, determine what you can do about it, and then make a plan that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based (SMART). It could be something small like "I need to clean out my closet because it keeps weighing on my mind and stressing me out. I just need to do it! I will do it this Saturday at 3pm for 1 hour and see how it goes". Or it could be something big like "I've been unhappy in this marriage for a long time, and it's time that I start dealing with it. I'm going to call today and make an appointment to start seeing a therapist next week." Acknowledgment brings peace, action is empowering, and a specific plan creates a sense of security and potential success.
Get help and support: Too often we view ourselves as our sole source of support. This limits our options, depletes our energy, and cuts us off from help. Once you've looked within, don't forget to look without and draw on the trusted, loving resources that are or could be around you.
Some additional tips on how to cope with the feelings naturally:
Exercise: it can be either gentle or vigorous. Find an activity (like running or hiking) or a formof movement (like dance or yoga) that you enjoy, and see if you can commit to 5 -30 minutes of exercise daily. This will help to clear your energy, and creates an overall sense of increased well-being.
Meditate: even just 2-5 minutes a day of focusing on your breathing with your eyes closed, or on a still object with your eyes open, can help ease your mind and take a break from whatever stories are running through your head. Don't worry about having a perfect practice or a transcendental experience. Claim this time as a moment of peace.
Work with crystals: wear, sleep or meditate daily with a piece of blue lace agate, lithium quartz, rose quartz, black tourmaline, blue calcite, amethyst, or smoky quartz, all of which have properties that reduce anxiety, clear stress from the system, and lift the spirits.
Take flower essences: Bach flower "Rescue Remedy" helps many people manage stress and anxiety, or you can choose a flower essence that you feel is particularly suited to your situation.
On a spiritual note: This time of year is a time of new beginnings, especially as we approach the vernal equinox (nature's new year) and the sun moving into Aries (the astrological new year). It's a time when, on a spiritual level, the soul is yearning for growth and change and the release of what no longer serves, which can trigger feelings of disquiet and discomfort if we're not fully in tune.
When we look to feelings as educators and our inner selves for guidance, we're more likely to move in the direction of our true purpose and thrive. Think of this as clearing out what no longer serves, a bringing to light of what needs to change, and an opportunity to shake off the remnants of a long, deep winter in preparation for a joyful and abundant spring.