Each spring Alaska posts a sad statistic. The number of suicides, homicides, assaults and other forms of bad behavior is on the rise. During the months of March and April, Alaskans who are subject to or are affected by suicide, homicide, assault and other violent encounters rises significantly. It’s also the time when the number of people seeking services at Hope Counseling Center really increases. What people experience most often is an undercurrent of agitation with symptoms of depression or anxiety. People struggling with other mental health issues also seem to find spring-time most difficult. This phenomena seems different then what happens in the fall when the sun starts going away. In the fall the presenting symptoms are mostly about depression. In the spring, the symptoms are more about irritation or outright aggression. So the question is ” How do I know and what do I do if I’m affected?”.
The first part of the question is best answered by being self aware. “Do I find myself angry or irritated for no apparent reason?” “Do I tend to lose it over minor frustrations?” “Am I being overly emotional, at least more than usual?” If you find yourself nodding as you read this, it might be time to focus on some good self-care. As a clinician, I’ve found my clients do best when they engage simple but important mental health hygiene. This takes a bit of self discipline but the efforts are totally worth it.
1. Get enough sleep. Everyone has their own set point but regular bed and wake times are important.
2. Get regular exercise. The sun is coming back, the temperatures are climbing. There’s no excuse not to get outside and end the hibernation. – This REALLY helps!!
3. Eat regular meals. Adequate nutrition is a must. Junk food doesn’t count!! Eat healthy meals that are nutritionally balanced!
4. Have regular, positive, social contact. When people are grumpy or irritated this can be a tough one, but it doesn’t mean you can skip it. Go find someone to talk to – and play nice!
These are 4 simple suggestions that really can help. Oh – also, when you’re feeling irritated, stop at take a breath. Remember it’s that time of the year and things will get better soon. The snow is melting, the sun is warmer, in short order the trees will start budding and the grass will turn green. After that come the mosquitoes. By then you’ll feel much better.
In the mean time, if you need help, give us a call at 907-451-8208. There is always someone available to give you a hand at Hope Counseling Center.
Helping People ~ Healing Families