by Peggy Ann Barnett, PhD, LMHC
“Spring” by Archie Greenidge
Spring is life
Spring is hope
So is love and happiness.
life is forlorn.
Spring is nostalgia
after bitter storm.
Put spring in your heart
Spring for many of us is about coming out of the doldrums of winter and embracing the new. We can put spring in our hearts through greater awareness of things that are meaningful to us and give us hope on an individual, family, community, and even global basis. Spring is a time to not only appreciate nature, but give attention to aspects of our lives that help us heal and grow.
April begins for many with a celebration of Easter and Passover, and can be a time for reflection or renewal no matter what your faith tradition. I’ve included resources here to support you this April and beyond in body, mind and spirit.
This month is packed with many opportunities for awareness of issues and celebrations which can have a wide-ranging impact. These include a focus on challenges such as Child Abuse, Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention, and Stress, as well as nurturing activities such as National Humor, Poetry, and Garden Month. Some of these observations have been established to enrich our lives, others to respond to important conditions that can affect health and well-being.
April was proclaimed in 2009 as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM). This movement began in 2001 to raise public awareness about sexual assault and preventing sexual violence, but was pre-dated by decades of marches and rallies as early as 1970’s with Take Back the Night. The Me Too movement has recently highlighted core issues to our identities as women into an international conversation. If you want to learn more or to get involved, these websites can offer you information, insights, and resources:
Also see PSI’s March blog What Good Will Talking Do? by Mary Regan.
Perhaps alcohol or other substances have touched your life or the lives of people close to you in a way that calls for healing. Since 1987 The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month in April to increase public awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. This year’s theme is “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.'”
You can also download MAST, a self-scoring test that helps assess your drinking.
Most of us are looking for ways to reduce stress in support of our emotional and physical health and well-being. April 16 is National Stress Awareness Day. Try to begin a daily practice of slow, deep breathing and stretching to start and end your day to help you de-stress. Or turn off your cell phone during meals and notice the difference. Look for daily reminders to relax and to care for yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Mindfulness, exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, tapping (EFT), or a walk among trees (even in the city) as part of your daily routine just for a few minutes can help relieve stress and give you a greater sense of physical and psychological well-being. Check out the following sites for some great resources, tips, and practices:
And this April, now that the snows have passed, don’t miss seeing the leaves opening, the bulbs bursting forth, and the parks and gardens coming alive around you. Even those April showers that bring May flowers can be refreshing and soothing, or an opportunity to take some quiet down time to relax. And don’t forget Earth Day celebrated April 22 with community events to get out doors, meet like-minded folks, and make a difference in healing our planet! https://www.earthday.org/
Finally, a great way to balance and integrate work and family this April, by having your children experience what you do each day, is to take part in Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day on April 26. This event has grown to 39 million participants in the U.S. alone, and over 200 countries around the world. 2018’s theme is SERVICE FORCE: Agents of “Positive” Change! See: https://daughtersandsonstowork.org/
Perhaps some of these events will resonate with you and your commitment to the well- being of your family, your community, or your world, and most of all – yourself. There is much to be aware of and what we give our attention can grow new life within and around us. As Archie Greenidge says in the opening poem “Spring renews.” So can you. How will you spend your days in April to bring new awareness and wellness into your life?
For a full calendar of April Awareness issues and days visit: https://www.thespruce.com/special-days-and-observances-in-april-1448882 And if you need extra support don’t hesitate to call on our spiritually sensitive therapists at PSI. Or take a look at our website for upcoming workshops, trainings, and other resources available to you this spring and in the seasons ahead.