Welcome to the fourth and final installment of our Spring Clean series!
This article series is designed to focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often work together in our lives as a whole and all are worth examining as we press reset and form new healthy habits. To close out the series, we’ll be working to revitalize our mental state.
For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Part 4: A Mental Spring Clean
Spring. Not only a time of rebirth, but also a busy season of celebrations. Weddings, graduations, and communions are some events that fill our calendars every spring, along with the spring holidays of Easter and Mother’s Day. From a social standpoint, it’s possible to celebrate all spring long.
But these events don’t always bring joy to everyone. LifePoint member Andrea Phillips struggled for a long time to enjoy Mother’s Day, due to the strained relationship she has with her own mentally ill mother.
“It was hard because spring is typically my favorite time of the year. Everything is in bloom, the weather is gorgeous, and there’s so much to look forward to. Mother’s Day felt like a bleak spot amid so much vibrance.”
When Andrea became a mother, she wanted to feel differently about the holiday. “It wasn’t only about me anymore. My family wanted to celebrate what I do for our family, and I wanted a joyful experience for all of us.”
Andrea couldn’t change the relationship she had with her mother, but she could change her mindset towards Mother’s Day.
“The ‘mom’ I wanted may not have been the mom I got, but we are blessed by a God that provides for our every need (Phil 4:19). When I stopped focusing on what I thought the package should look like, I realized how many incredible mothers He’s put in my life. Now I choose to spend the day celebrating the amazing women, from neighbors to my friends’ mothers to my own awesome mom support circle, who have loved me and my kids through choice and not obligation.”
A simple change of perspective is often all we need redirect our thoughts to a better place. Here are some things you can do to reset your own mindset this spring.
Change Your Scenery
A good way to find a new perspective is to change your view – literally. While travel options have been limited this past year, there are many nearby places take time away and enjoy the beauty that spring has to offer, including local parks and hiking trails, as well as beautiful tourism gardens.
Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, Brookside Gardens outside of D.C., and Lilypons Water Gardens in Frederick are all nearby enough to enjoy on a day trip. You can find a full list of the tourism gardens Maryland has to offer here.
Studies have shown that being among nature can reduce feelings of fear, anger, and stress. It’s often easier to feel God’s presence when we are among trees, plants, water, and wildlife, so natural environments can be emotionally soothing and spiritually uplifting, focusing our attention on more positive thoughts.
Seek Wise Council
A common misconception is that therapy serves only those who are in dire mental straights. This couldn’t be less accurate. Therapy is simply a way to better understand who we are and why we feel what we feel. It allows us to hear things in a different way and express things it can be hard to admit anywhere else. Romans 12:2 notes that we should not “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.” There is never a wrong time to seek therapy.
If you decide now is a good time to seek professional counseling, make sure to research a therapist who is right for you. You can start by looking at the mental health care options listed under your health insurance provider. Websites like Better Help work to match you with online therapist who meets your needs in your area and Psychology Today give detailed user reviews of therapists. Faith can be an important factor in determining which therapist is right for you, and websites like Faithful Counseling provide the services mentioned above with the addition of including licensed counselors who are spiritually informed. SafeHarbor Christian Counseling is one such organization that strives to combine sound clinical mental health treatment with a Christian foundation.
Most importantly, therapy functions as a time set aside solely to focus on ourselves which can be a huge benefit to us mentally and emotionally.
Reprioritize to Lighten Your Mental Load
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tell us that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” This includes the relationships and responsibilities in our lives. Some, like our marriages, are intended to last a lifetime, but others serve us best for only a season.
Take time to reflect on the relationships and responsibilities of your daily life. If there is one that drains you more than it lifts you up, consider cutting it out. A friendship that’s no longer a source of support or encouragement or a commitment like being on a committee are things we tend to continue out of habit even after they stop serving us in a positive way. Take the initiative on reorganizing your priorities to surround yourself with people and activities that allow you to remain in a good mental state. As a bonus, this will give you more time to invest in the relationships and responsibilities that fuel you. One of the best ways to revive yourself is to spend time with people who light you up.
Give Yourself Grace
We are all human. Nearly all of us have our moments of arguing with our children, driving aggressively after being cutoff, or letting down someone who counted on us. It’s far more damaging to dwell on these mistakes and lapses in judgement instead of giving ourselves permission to let it go.
The apostle Peter called God “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10). Psalm 145:8 tells us that “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” The Bible tells us how we should treat ourselves because of how God treats us. We can give ourselves grace because God gives us grace – kindness and forgiveness that we don’t deserve.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold ourselves accountable for our actions, but rather that instead of regret and or negative self-talk, we should acknowledge the gift we’ve been given in His mercy and grace. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Letting go and offering yourself forgiveness can help boost your feelings of wellness and improve your image of yourself. It also allows us to learn from the experience and grow as a person. Both of these are crucial elements to a healthy state of mind.
As we continue towards on summer, we hope that this series has provided useful ideas on refreshing your spirits, bodies, homes, and emotions this spring. The time of singing has come – and an opportunity at renewal with it.
Welcome to the third installment of our Spring Clean series! This article series is designed to focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often work together in our lives as a whole and all are worth examining as we press reset and...
Welcome to the second installment of our Spring Clean series! This article series is designed to focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often work together in our lives as a whole and all are worth examining as we press reset...
Welcome to the Spring Clean series! This article series is designed to help us renew ourselves after a long winter (and even longer year.) Over the next four weeks, this series will focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often...