There’s something about the spring season that not only calls upon new life to emerge, but if you’re anything like me, it can also stir the pot of discontent, anxiety, and maybe even a little depression. Here we’ve spent most of the winter inside, perhaps even welcoming the solitude the winter season invites us to enjoy. Then spring rolls around. The snow begins to melt, daylight savings time provides extra light into the evenings and increasing temperatures call us to venture out once again. “Who could be depressed about that?” you may be asking yourself.
That In Between Season
Well, I gotta tell you, there’s this period of spring that I’m not a fan of at all. It’s the period in between the snow melting, uncovering a not-yet-green grass, but one that is brown and quite frankly, gross looking, and where the sun may be shining, yet it’s still cold and blustery. I’ve discovered that I absolutely loathe this type of weather.
Not only do I loathe the weather, but also I notice myself becoming just a little more anxious (and no, not because of the weather!), irritable, and just plain depressed.
A Weekend of Change
This past weekend however, was different. The weather was actually warm for a change and I just knew I had to take advantage of it. I was thinking maybe the fresh air and warm weather could help me shake some of the anxiousness I had been feeling for weeks. I threw on my walking shoes, grabbed the leash, and off I was, along with my faithful four-legged companion by my side.
My anxiety did decrease some and about midway into my walk, I called a good friend of mine whom I hadn’t spoken with in a while. After catching up some, I shared with Juliette* some of the issues that were the cause of my discontent and anxiety. I am fortunate because Juliette happens to be very empathetic and I always feel “heard” when she and I speak.
As I described to her what had been causing me anxiety, Juliette asks me, “But Lucy, don’t you think you’re where you’re supposed to be in life?” and I replied, “well yes…but how do you find comfort/acceptance when things are difficult or not the way you would want them, even though you believe you are where you’re supposed to be?”
Reduce Anxiety with a Challenge
In other words, how can you find comfort within the challenge?
- How do you accept or make peace with the difficulties in your life? If you’re anything like me, you may be riding the struggle bus with all of the challenges, problems, difficulties in your life, and along the way, you pick up a few passengers like anxiety, discontent and depression (i.e. one crowded bus!).
- What I was reminded of this weekend however, was that if I continue to ruminate anxiously on the particular challenges, waiting for the next “thing” to happen in my life, I would also then miss the opportunity to see the multitude of possibilities that lie behind the struggles, like – what can I gain from leaning into, rather than resisting, what is difficult? Who I am supposed to become in light of this struggle?
- What tools have I retained from past difficulties that I can apply to the current ones?
Will There Always Be Challenges?
The truth of the matter is, we are probably always going to face one challenge or another, and the struggle bus will always there if we need a ride. And yet, challenges and difficulties don’t always have to be the roadblocks we sometimes see them as.
In truth, they can serve as very powerful catalysts, catapulting us into the next best version of ourselves in:
- Our careers
- Physical capabilities
- Spiritual lives
- Social relationships
- Perhaps most of all, our relationship to ourselves.
And this process, if we allow it, can occur over, and over, and over again.
What Happened Next?
Later into the weekend I found myself doing a little yard work, spring-cleaning if you will, while reflecting on my experiences over the last 24 hours. As I raked the dead leaves that covered the entire yard, I uncovered fresh green moss and tiny patches of new growth grass, new life that was emerging from the dead of winter and decaying foliage. Then it occurred to me – underneath some of the struggles and difficulties that cause us such anxiety or depression, lies the gift of something new – something waiting to be born, something waiting to emerge and grow.
What will you uncover this spring?
Lucy Seefried is a limited licensed professional counselor (LLPC) that focuses on young adults in transition, couples in need of connection, individuals coping with addiction issues, and everyone in between.
Lucy is a life-long native of Michigan who has a passion for traveling, exploring and connecting with others. Her universities studies in West Africa and Russia and work in places like Detroit, India and Alaska, have equipped her to work with a diverse range of individuals, as well as strengthened and informed her understanding and value for multiculturalism across the life span.
Using a client-centered approach and active listening, Lucy strives to balance self-exploration with practical solutions, while creating a safe and trusting environment for change to occur and allowing the creative process of therapy to unfold. Her theoretical lens has been informed by humanistic theories, strength-based and trauma-informed approaches, attachment models, mindfulness practices and experiential education.