Spring is a wonderful time to re-evaluate priorities, clean out things that are cluttering up your life, and get a fresh start. Spring cleaning of physical spaces can be renewing and so is clearing out mental spaces that are occupied by thoughts holding us back from being fully present.
Maybe you want to be focusing on your physical health as summer approaches or perhaps rethink what you want for yourself. Wherever you are currently, maintaining your mental health is important.
It can be tempting to “take a break” from therapy during the summer. Symptoms may be in remission and therefore not causing as much impairment in your daily living. This is a great time to have regular check-ins with a therapist as part of the “maintenance” of progress. If you notice seasonal patterns in mental health, try taking advantage of seasons in which you are managing well as opportunities to do some “deeper work” such as processing trauma, especially if you have more social support during that time.
If you think about putting work off until it is necessary, it can be dangerous. Think about a car with bald tires. There are many reasons why people continue to drive when their tires have minimal to no tread left. Maybe you don’t know much about cars or haven’t taken the time to inspect your tires. Perhaps it is not something your family or friends talk about. There can be financial barriers and a lack of access to someone you trust who can help provide a service that is needed. Getting work done takes time and money. It may not be a priority until it poses a safety risk…the first major ice storm or car accident forces you to face the reality of seeing a mechanic or body shop. A mental health crisis may take you straight to the emergency room or therapy office.
Like vehicle maintenance, regular health maintenance is needed for the mind, body, and relationships to thrive. The good news is that routine care can help keep us running smoothly. I think that both mechanics and therapists would agree that regular maintenance is the best prevention.
Here is a checklist of items to address this spring for well-being:
- Meet with your doctor or a mental health specialist to screen your mental health and discuss any concerns. Prioritize and follow through with recommendations.
- Plan to schedule appointments that benefit your mental health, physical well-being, and relationships. This includes developing a regular rhythm to your schedule.
- Maintain daily habits that set a solid foundation for optimal performance. This includes basics such as eating, sleeping, drinking water, getting exercise, and managing stress.
- Engage in mindfulness activities that help you be fully present. Getting outside to connect with nature, slowing down to enjoy a mindful moment, and getting exposure to sunlight can be so renewing.
- Connect with relationships and build community. Encourage your loved ones to take care of themselves too!
Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC
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