With Spring’s arrival we advance into a new season, turning our calendars to a new month and setting our clocks forward. Time tells us that spring is in full swing, but that doesn’t always mean we easily transition to springing out of bed in the morning. Emerging from the winter season can be challenging for those of us who want the light of spring to come with haste and who would love the May flowers without the April showers.
Spring is a significant season for me because over the past few years March and April have been months of preparation, work and investment that have lead up to exciting life transitions in May: preparing to transfer to a new university, graduating from college and getting married.
While the end of May has been a time of celebration for me, the days and months leading up to those events are challenging as I am often still impacted by a let down after the holidays, lingering sadness from seasonal affective disorder and fatigue from longer days.
This spring my priority has been to find new ways to embrace the now, seek out moments of wonder, choose gratitude and find ways to thrive by staying active and creative.
Here are a few keys I have found essential to staying engaged and active in the midst of complicated external variables.
Choose Creativity: Spring has been especially rainy this year, so I found interesting ways to stay engaged and active indoors. For example, I signed up for a weekly hobby class, volunteered in a language class, started making home made juice with seasonal produce, participated in indoor recreation like ice-skating, and decided to get outdoors and enjoy nature and recreation whenever there was a break in the rain. Choosing a creative process or activity that is meaningful and fun can help us rise above our daily variables and stay engaged, even when we initially do not feel able to give out a lot of effort.
Choose Community: In the past, I have experienced isolation in the spring due to being busy, so this year I decided to be very intentional about spending quality time with people who I deeply value and connect with. This meant keeping my calendar clear so I could be available to spend time with the people I can be vulnerable with and that bring joy to my life. I focused on being present. In a busy season choosing community may mean planning ahead, making commitments to people you love and value, and being present to enjoy your time together.
Choose Contemplation: Spring is usually a time when I tend to process my emotions and look back on my year. In the past at times this has taken me to dark places, but this year I decided to encourage myself to process using different tools. This year I found books, podcasts, and music that focused on letting go, choosing gratitude, vulnerability and spiritual wellness to help me navigate, process and feel my emotions. Choosing contemplation can be difficult especially if this is something that has elicited strong emotional experiences in the past. If this seems daunting or if you are unsure of where this may take you, don’t do it alone. A therapist, counselor, or a good friend can be safe spaces to process the prior year and come out on the other side happy and whole.
Overall this has been a record spring for me because I have been able to be intentional about staying engaged and present in this season. By choosing creativity, community and contemplation we can receive the opportunities to grow and flourish in new ways together.