Here’s an invitation; let’s play a quick game of free association. If I say spring, you say ____?
I doubt it comes as a surprise that people are quick to associate words like renewal, light, growth, all of which paint a serene picture of springtime. And for good reason-- the beauty and fervor are real.
But for many among us, there’s more to the picture, even if it rarely gets talked about on social media or in casual conversation.
Springtime marks a significant transition period, and transitions can be tricky business.
As the days grow lighter and we’re moving from the stillness of winter to longer days and social expectation of heightened activity, many of the girls and women I work with with report increased irritability and feelings of overwhelm while also looking forward to the change.
It’s a both/and situation, and to me such a response makes perfect sense, as we’re adjusting physiologically and psychologically. Spring’s gift – a whopping jolt of energy - can be both exciting and anxiety-producing, especially for the more sensitive among us.
So how then how do we move forward through this transition period with a sense of ease rather than overwhelm? The word that comes to mind is gently … and with an increased emphasis on self-care.
Below are just a few of my go-to practices when thinking about caring for ourselves during transition periods. Please take what resonates and feel free to reshape, recolor, rename and make it your own. And if you have practices you utilize and you’d like to share, please feel free to leave your wisdom in the comments section. You never know whom you’ll help.
Till next time …
Three Simple Practices for Transitional Times
1.Nature as ally
I am a strong advocate of spending solitary time in nature, feeling your feet on the earth, and taking note. What colors are soothing and how can you bring them into your home or office? What animals and plants do you notice as you take your walk? What lessons can they bring? As of late, I’ve been noticing banana slugs – talk about slowing down! If wooded trails aren’t your thing, a walk in a local park or even your neighborhood can be grounding. The key though is to focus your attention on your feet touching the earth as you walk. Breathe in and out, remember you are both supported and connected.
2. Tending the body
In my opinion, there is no one-way to support our bodies, but our bodies must be supported for a healthy mind and spirit. I encourage my clients to regularly check in with their own needs and plan accordingly. Do I need more rest or more activity? If I do need activity, will an active run help settle me or do I need a calming walk through the hills? Do I need raw food or cooked? If you’re not sure, you can experiment with different routines, and track your response. The goal here is not to add another task to our day, but to approach self-care with a sense of curiosity and exploration.
And lastly, but certainly not least …
3. Creativity and Expression
As an expressive arts therapist, I utilize all types of creative interventions in my practice with clients. The goal here is to externalize the emotions that are arising during periods of transition so you don’t hold them inside. For a simple technique to use at home, pick your favorite medium (e.g. clay, watercolor, markers) and give yourself permission to engage playfully. Give your emotions a place to go and see what emerges. If you are someone who is drawn to words over images, grab a pen and 8 ½ x 11 paper, unlined. Let’s end where this blog post began … free association. Pick a word that best describes your mood at present and begin writing without stopping until the page is full. Again, see what emerges both on the page and in your heart.