The changing of the seasons is always a rough time for my mental health. Over the years, I’ve learned to plan ahead for this discomfort, and build in some cushion to ease the transition. Like planning easy meals and extra down time.
Why is a change of season so hard, you might ask? For someone with persistent depression, it takes me a long time to get used to new things. Transitions to new schedules, new people, and new tasks seem to take me longer than it takes other people. I’ve learned to be OK with that, and give myself grace and support through these times as I wait patiently for the new normal to set in.
Perhaps it’s my extreme need for comfort amidst life’s chaos, or my emotional attachments to what’s working in the moment and not wanting them to change. Mostly, I just try to make life as easy as possible to conserve my energy for tackling life’s challenges. Like cleaning the house or raising a teenager.
So when the seasons change, I have to say goodbye to the comfortable routines I got into. With Spring’s arrival, I have to say goodbye to cozying up in a cold house with warm drinks and blankets and hygge vibes. Some people don’t like winter, but it’s my favorite season. It mimics my desire to curl up and reflect and slow down, and gives me permission to do so without going against societal pressures to “get out there and seize the day!”
I can’t ever get excited about the flowers popping up in Early February (I live in Austin, and that is WAY too early for Spring y’all!), and pretend they’re not there. So for the first few weeks of Spring, I crank up the AC and try to mimic the cooler temps so I can still cuddle up with my sweaters and tea. I keep my holiday lights up until the end of March, using the excuse that it’s so dark in the mornings now with the time change.
But the warm sunshine creeps in slowly, and the blooms and bright green leaves start to persuade me with their scent, warming my mood. I reluctantly put my winter clothes away, and start to clean the house to get my physical and energetic space ready for the change.
Rituals like cleaning the house and clearing energy have become important to me for these transitional times. Spending time in nature has become an important part of my transitional rituals. I plop myself down outside with an attitude of “OK nature, convince me,” and she never disappoints.
She shows me things like bird’s flitting back and forth to their nests, busy making new life. Or spring blooms turning to fruit and growing until they’re ready to harvest. Or leaves falling in their graceful way, encouraging me to get ready for my favorite season of renewal. She shows me that change is not something to dread or be afraid of, and that it leads to more beautiful things to come, even if I can’t yet imagine them.
It’s these cycles of nature that mimic life and give me perspective to free the downward cycle of my mind.
Nature reminds me again and again that whatever I’m missing will come around again, perhaps in a new form. And that whatever I fear in front of me will bring beautiful opportunities to grow into a new person. Each season. Reluctantly.
Teacher, mother, lover of lounging in nature. This blog documents my experience with Niksening in nature and applying this type of minimalism to all aspects of my life, in order to simplify and amplify the best parts of life.
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