• Jacqueline Pollner, MA, LCMHC

Weeding Your Emotional Garden.

Spring is on it's way and it has me thinking about all the wonderful opportunities that it brings. When I am not in the office I spend most of my free time with my family on our small farm, so you can imagine what our spring activities include. To give you a small idea: new chicks and ducklings, piglets, planting seeds for the vegetable garden, maple sugaring, and getting all the garden beds ready for new life.

I also think of spring as a fresh start for our emotional health as well. The time change, more light, warmer weather, refreshing and resetting. Especially as New Englanders, the winter is tough!

Let's take a look at some ways you can incorporate some emotional gardening into your spring!

Emotions Through the Seasons.

As the weather gets warmer and you start to get into the spring time activities that you engage in, I want you to stop and think about your emotional health as well, not just cleaning out the cobwebs from behind the couch or weeding the garden. We take the time each spring to clean, refresh, and renew all of the other things in life, why not add emotional health too!? Goal setting for the year doesn't have to just be reserved for New Years Eve, breaking it down into the seasons is so much more manageable!

Let's take a moment to think about the seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter (in New England let's not forget about MUD as a season too!). Ever stop to observe how your emotional health follows along with these?

You may notice in the winter things feel longer, colder and harder on your emotions, especially now at the end of winter. Then let's think about spring, we often feel a boost emotionally, longer days, more sunshine, warmer, the excitement of what the warmer part of the year ahead brings. Then comes summer and the communities become a buzz with life, activities, laughter, and heat! Lastly, fall, leaves falling, cooler temperatures, apple picking, pumpkins, traditions and holidays. Fall has this special mix of excitement and fun fall trends, but also stress as the holiday seasons approach. See how your mood follows the seasons? Stop and take a mindful moment this spring and see what comes up for you.

So what will you weed out of your emotional garden this Spring?

When spring is approaching on our farm we start to envision what we want the garden to be this year and what we want to avoid from years past. I challenge you to take a mindful moment, take a BIG step back and observe your life, like planning your garden for this year. What have you been busy with? What has been bringing you stress? Where are you finding joy? What is your self care like? What do you want to be spending more time on/less time on? What new skills would you like to learn? If you imagine your emotional health being in a different place than it is today, what does that look like?

Next time you are feeling low, run down, worried, or stuck - step back, breath, and remind yourself of what season you are in and what you know your emotional patterns are within that season. Giving your brain that pause and reminder will give you so much more insight. For example: I know that at this time of the year I start to feel run down, stuck, ready for change. I try and remind myself, "yup this is normal, it's that time of the winter again, it's temporary, spring is coming!" This is in place of reacting and responding with catastrophic thoughts and rumination on how I feel in that moment.

So as you start to hear all of the chatter about spring cleaning, refreshing, time change, warmer weather, let's not forget about your emotional health as well. What are you going to do this spring to weed your emotional garden?

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