By GRACE HALLOCK
March is here, and it’s hard to believe that we’ll “spring forward” next weekend. Normally, we are still waiting for our last snow to fall in Tennessee this time of year. This year, however, Spring has sprung early as the clouds are lifting, the sun’s warmth is breaking through, and the outside world is waking up.
I LOVE Spring: the sunshine, the blooms, and the longer days. Spring also reminds me of growth and a stirring of new possibilities. We begin to thaw out from the winter months, which creates room for hope and empowerment. What does Spring mean for you?
Here’s a few thoughts to encourage you:
Stop and smell the roses. Take this time to practice mindfulness: notice the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of Spring. This will allow you to slow down and be intentional. If you find yourself driving and not really sure how you ended up somewhere, just notice that and practice being more present and aware.
Be thankful and practice gratitude. It’s funny how our perspective changes if we can acknowledge what we’re grateful for (and I don’t mean at major holidays, but EVERY day). We all have our good days and our bad, so practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be huge, grand gestures. I say, keep it simple! If a day is particularly hard, simply be thankful you have breath in your lungs and the sun is shining. Also, there are also plenty of gratitude journals and such out there…feel free to take advantage of these resources if that seems helpful to you.
Get more out of your longer days. So I don’t mean busyness and DOING (aka adding more things to your to do list). With more daylight, we can get caught up trying to cram too many things in one day. Instead, how can you make the extra sunlight more meaningful? Maybe more movement outside…walks, parks, and picnics. A vitamin D deficiency is a real thing! You could plan cookouts with good friends or emphasize more QT with your family or spouse. Think about what y’all enjoy doing that helps everyone feel more connected and involved. Try something new.
Lastly, let your anxious thoughts go down stream. This is a visual exercise I use for my clients and myself all the time. To start, keep and sunny, relaxing day in mind. You might be on a walk, sitting in a meadow, or by a bubbling stream. Tap into your senses…the more details the better. Is the wind blowing? Is the grass cool? Do you hear or smell anything specific? Transport yourself to this place and begin to externalize you anxious thoughts. Physically imagine them pulled from your head and out in the open air. You might imagine them on a cloud or drifting downstream on a leaf. Practice saying, “I see you Thought, and you can keep going. I don’t have to own you, and I am not defined by my thoughts.” Give yourself permission to let go, extend grace, and sink into mindfulness and restoration this spring.
Grace Hallock, MA, LPC-MHSP (temp), NCC, is the founder of R.E.A.L. Counseling Services in Brentwood, TN. She’s passionate about restoring and empowering others to embrace authenticity and cultivate lasting change. Learn more about Grace’s counseling services HERE.