Spring season can sometimes bring a double-edged sword. On the one hand you may feel optimistic about the buds in your lawn and the promise of longer, clearer nights. But on the other hand, you may feel exhausted after a long winter and not quite feeling the joys of Spring yet.
If you experience anxiety then Spring may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Anxiety isn’t necessarily seasonal, but the expectation of a new start, a new promise might exacerbate your sense of dread or impending doom. If you suffer anxiety then any change – even in temperature and environment – can trigger feelings of worry and nervousness, and you may start to feel more restless than usual.
It is often the knowledge you can DO something to manage your anxiety than can begin to alleviate your symptoms and distress.
With self-help in mind, we offer the following springtime strategies to support your anxiety.
Complete a task you’ve been avoiding
This is a strategy you can use any time of the year – but it’s a particularly helpful thing to do in Springtime when you’re aiming to bring fresh air into your life. Completing a task you’ve been putting off for ages can give your energy such a boost that it can galvanise you into more energy-lifting (and anxiety-zapping) thoughts and activities. Plus, it leaves so much more space in your life when you stop agonising over a task that is perpetually looming on your to-do list.
Spend time outside
There is a growing body of research to suggest that spending time outside – especially looking at green spaces – can reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. Try spending a few minutes each day outside – especially as the temperatures begin to warm up – and see how it impacts on your mood. To enhance the effect: add in a brisk 20-minute walk around the local park to get your heartrate up and your worrying rate down.
Spring cleaning may sound like a cliché, but there is evidence that having a good old clear out can have uplifting benefits to your mental health. The process of scrubbing and dusting your home can bring feelings of satisfaction and of being in ‘control’ again. Try also decluttering your drawers and cupboards – as well as the apps on your phone – to feel lighter and less anxious.
Connect with others
After a winter perhaps spent hibernating with fewer social invitations, it can be good for the mood to spend time with others again. Get in touch with your friends and peers who you connect most with and have a laugh with. OK, this can feel like an effort at first – but, done once, will remind you that the effort is totally worthwhile. Melting the winter frost can be more tolerable and enjoyable with warm social plans for the months ahead.
Stay in the present
It’s often your fears projected into the future that can rob you of the present. A good antidote to anxiety is to stay attuned to your thoughts and feelings in the here and now. Through mindfulness or meditation, you can learn to experience the thoughts and feelings without attaching to them or having to act on them in any way. Over time, you can begin to feel freer from your worries.
The above self-help tips are for people with lower levels of anxiety. If you feel your levels are higher and you’d like professional support for your anxiety – working with symptoms and strategies, as well as root causes – then give our team a call. We have appointments available seven days a week at our centres in Clapham and Tooting. You can reach us by calling 020 8673 4545 or emailing [email protected].