Tim Butler

Counselor, Life Coach & Speaker

Spring Cleaning

Spring is right around the corner for those of us in the US. After such a difficult winter for many of us, the thought of a coming change in environment seems even more encouraging. January and February usually show the highest utilization of mental health services. Those months seem more depressing when we have limited sunshine, colder temps and snow that lingers well past the time when it was pretty and white.

Winter does not “make” us depressed, it can simply darken whatever gloom might be lurking in our soul (emotions) already. As one proof of this, it might surprise you to know that the highest months for suicide are not until April and May. The rationale behind this may be related, in part, to the simple fact that spring did not “fix” the troubled soul. Combine this with the reality that others around us who are only mildly affected by weather, have moved on to happier moods. Weather simply exacerbates whatever is going on already.

The key to any season is to manage ourselves such that we are able to rise above the external pressures that may discourage us. I have listed 5 considerations for staying fit emotionally throughout all the seasons. See which ones of these most relate to you, and determine to provide the best self-care possible.

  1. Proclaim the truth: Be honest with yourself and your friends in terms of your feelings. Contrary to popular conviction, better living does not come through denial. Knowing the truth, and beginning to deal with the truth, will start you on a path to freedom.
  2. Pull from others: Be ready to receive input; be teachable. Oftentimes others might see a side of you that you do not see. There is hope and help in a social community.
  3. Process whatever is in the rear view mirror of life; get help processing past hurts and disappointments. We all have something in our past that was not helpful, and in varying degrees, may have been very hurtful. You are not alone. Left untreated, these events can easily define you in a negative way, or, with help, can be used to carefully shape you into a healthier person.
  4. Practice good habits for a healthy body, soul, and spirit. We all have the exact same three core components. How you invest in each will significantly affect your quality of life. They do not run on automatic pilot; they need intentional care and maintenance.
  5. Prioritize your life for maximum efficiency; you can simply work hard, or you can learn to work smart. Make the main things, the main things. Sometimes the smallest details matter, but more often than not, they serve to distract us from the more important items.