The Seasons of Mental Health: Understanding Patterns and Supporting Yourself

The Seasons of Mental Health: Understanding Patterns and Supporting Yourself. the gentle counsellor crystal hardstaff

The Seasons of Mental Health: Understanding Patterns and Supporting Yourself

This blog post explores the seasons of mental health, including the warning signs and how to support yourself through each season. Learn how to apply the seasons of life metaphor to mental health and optimise your wellbeing. Discover helpful tips and insights from a counsellor with lived experience.

Just like nature goes through seasons, our mental health goes through different phases too. From the growth of summer to the renewal of spring, each season has its own warning signs and self-care tips. By recognising these patterns, we can learn to take care of ourselves better and seek help when needed. In this post, we'll explore the four seasons of mental health and how to support yourself through each one.

Summer: The Season of Growth and Abundance

Summer is the season of growth, abundance, and vitality. You feel energetic, confident, and optimistic. You're able to take on challenges and enjoy the present moment. However, summer can also be a time of overcommitment, burnout, and ignoring self-care.

Warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or exhausted
  • Difficulty saying no to demands on your time and energy
  • Ignoring your physical and emotional needs

To support yourself during summer, prioritise rest, boundaries, and balance.

Some tips include:

  • Saying no to activities that drain your energy or time
  • Setting boundaries around work, socialising, and other commitments
  • Prioritising activities that bring you joy and relaxation
  • Getting enough sleep, exercise, and nutritious food
  • Practicing self-compassion and celebrating your accomplishments

Autumn: The Season of Reflection and Transition

As the leaves fall, you might also feel a sense of loss or transition. Autumn can be a time of reflection, letting go, and preparing for change. You may feel more introspective or melancholic. However, autumn can also be a time of beauty, gratitude, and self-discovery.

Warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Ruminating on past mistakes or regrets
  • Not processing grief or loss
  • Feeling stuck or hopeless

To support yourself during autumn, practice self-compassion, journaling, and reaching out for help.

Some tips include:

  • Writing down your thoughts and emotions in a journal
  • Connecting with supportive friends or family members
  • Seeking professional help if needed, such as therapy or counselling
  • Practicing gratitude for what you still have in your life
  • Finding healthy ways to express your emotions, such as through art or music

Winter: The Season of Darkness and Hardship

Winter can be a difficult season, marked by darkness, cold, and hardship. You may feel depressed, anxious, or hopeless. However, winter can also be a time of rest, healing, and growth.

Warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Avoiding social or professional responsibilities
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy

To support yourself during winter, seek professional help, build a support network, and practice self-care.

Some tips include:

  • Reaching out to a therapist, counsellor, or doctor for help
  • Connecting with supportive friends or family members
  • Joining a support group for people with similar experiences
  • Practicing self-care activities such as meditation, exercise, or creative hobbies
  • Using coping skills such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation

Spring: The Season of Renewal and Growth

Just like nature, mental health can bloom again after winter. Spring is a season of renewal, hope, and creativity. You may feel more energised, inspired, and connected. However, spring can also be a time of mania, impulsivity, and unrealistic expectations.

Warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Racing thoughts or speech
  • Impulsivity or risky behaviors
  • Grandiose or inflated sense of self
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

To support yourself during spring, practice self-awareness, moderation, and self-care.

Some tips include:

  • Monitoring your moods and energy levels
  • Seeking professional help if you notice signs of mania or hypomania
  • Finding healthy outlets for your creativity and inspiration
  • Setting realistic goals and priorities
  • Balancing your activities and social engagements with rest and relaxation

Applying the Seasons of Life Metaphor to Mental Health

The seasons of life metaphor has been applied to mental health by various authors and researchers. For example, Dr. Janet Surrey and Dr. David Diamond wrote a book called "Seasons of a Woman's Life" that explores the psychological challenges and opportunities of each season. They argue that by recognising and embracing the cycles of life, women can find meaning and fulfillment in all stages of their development.

Similarly, Dr. John Grohol, the founder of PsychCentral, wrote an article about applying the seasons of life metaphor to mental health. He suggests that by understanding the ebbs and flows of our emotional lives, we can develop more resilience, self-awareness, and self-compassion.

By using the seasons of mental health as a guide, we can become more attuned to our emotional needs and seek help when needed. It's important to remember that mental health is not a linear journey, and that setbacks and challenges are normal and expected. However, with support, self-care, and professional help, we can weather the storms and emerge stronger and more resilient.


Understanding the seasons of mental health can help us navigate the ups and downs of life with more awareness and self-compassion. Whether you're in the summer of growth or the winter of darkness, remember that you're not alone and that help is available. By prioritising self-care, seeking professional help when needed, and building a support network, you can weather any storm and emerge stronger and more resilient than before.

Book a Counselling Session with Crystal

Crystal provides individual and couple counselling. She specialises in Trauma, Attachment Theory, Perinatal Mental Health and Parenting Support. You can be supported in processing your trauma in a safe space to be seen and heard. Maybe you'd like to feel calmer and less triggered in your parenting, not worry so much about what others think of you, find more balance in meeting your own needs, figure out better communication skills, or just need someone to talk with who 'gets it'.

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