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What Season Are You In?



It’s the beginning of April, and you may wonder why I am asking what season you’re in! Unless you live in the southern hemisphere (and I doubt we have readers from there!), you would be correct in answering that we are in spring! Those of us in a more northern climate are very thankful to say goodbye to winter. 😊


And yet, that’s not the seasonal system that I am thinking about.


About five years ago, I was introduced to the concept of our own personal seasons for our life journeys. At the time, we were recently in a time of deep loss as our 23-year-old son had lost his battle with mental illness, and we were barely coping with that loss. The event we were attending was during the fall, but our presenter rightly concluded that we were experiencing our own winter. And our winter had no end-of-season date. It would pass when we were ready for it to pass. That made sense to me and allowed me to rest.  Just like plants need a season of rest, that is what we needed as well.

That’s why I ask you, what season are you in?

I want to share what I have come to view the four seasons as, which may help you answer the question. Also, since this blog focuses on applying DBT skills to our lives, we will look at how I feel the skills can support our time in each season.


Spring: A Season of Growth and Renewal

This is a time of new growth, hope, and new beginnings. The colors are soft, and there is an awareness of newness and small changes.

I have felt this season when new events or experiences seem to take over my thoughts -new job, new home, new baby, new marriage. It’s all exciting and overwhelming. It can be exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.

The skills I feel are helpful are finding moments of mindfulness and slowing down my thoughts to truly enjoy these moments in time. This would also be a great opportunity to collect snapshots of these times to reflect on when the seasons are darker and quieter. This is sometimes called accumulating pleasant activities, which can be done by intentionally journaling or etching into memory these bright, joyous celebrations. 

Summer: Embracing Abundance and Joy

Just like in the natural world, summer is a busy time. There are many connections, increased growth and a time of celebration. I see the colors as bright and bold.

Summer is that time when life is just good. You know, when you’re sitting on your deck or on your couch, and you just smile, looking around at all that is in view. Your family is growing and healthy, your home is meeting your needs, your job is satisfying, life is good. There are storm clouds, but they come and go. You are content.

Again, the skills that are valuable during this time will help you capture these moments for later. Use this time to rest and be available to others. If you have the capacity to help, open your heart to do so. Focusing on interpersonal effectiveness skills like learning how to validate others during this time will help us maintain healthy relationships, savouring the joy of connection during this amazing season.

Fall: Preparing for Change with Balance

It is the fall season when you think of times of comfort and thankfulness. This is a time of reflection, and growth has slowed down. The colors are muted, and life is not as busy. It is also a time of change and uncertainty.

When the darkness lasts longer and the light fades, we enter a time of fall. We aren’t lost in the darkness but notice it is on the horizon. We may be more aware of gratefulness and stay closer to those who are dear to us. We rest in the comfort of all that feels familiar to us and find that we have less capacity to try new things.

This is a time of self-validation. It’s okay to rest and slow down. Rather than compare ourselves to others, we can use this time to practice mindfulness of current emotions and ride the wave of negative emotions. I will probably check my HALTS more often, as I am more emotionally reactive than during the previous seasons.

Winter: A Time for Reflection and Healing

Of all the seasons, winter is probably the one we wish didn’t come. It is a time of quiet and solitude. The colors feel non-existent, and there is very little sound. The silence and rest can sometimes make us feel like we are stagnant and hope is far away.

This is the darkest season. It is often a time of loss, loneliness, regret, and pain. You may have lost a job, your home, your family, or your very hope. During this season, time seems to slow down. Participating in life seems impossible at times. Reaching out for help is like moving through quicksand.

It is during times like this that these skills become a lifeline. While distress tolerance skills are there to support and enable, if we haven’t practiced them before, it can feel like pulling ourselves up like a baby and first taking those steps. We fall, and we cry, and then we try again. Practicing radical acceptance helps us acknowledge our pain without judgment, allowing us to move forward when ready. It’s not easy, and yet, we start to feel hope when we begin to recognize that the skills are effective in bringing light into dark places.

So again, I ask you, what season are you in?

Like the natural seasons, each of our life journey seasons comes and goes. Sometimes, they are long, and sometimes they are short. Sometimes, we even skip a season, or we revisit a season over and over again.

I hope you see through this time of reflection

that learning and applying the DBT skills we teach

in our SILA Skills workshops can

be a very valuable tool for

making the most of each season.


Were these DBT skills unfamiliar to you?


Would you like to learn more about them and how you can incorporate them into your life journey?


That’s what our workshops are all about! Transforming Classrooms supports those who work in education, and Transforming Connections supports those who work in other high-stress environments, such as healthcare, first responders, social workers, and more.


Contact info@silaskills.org today to find out when our next workshop will take place or how you can bring these skills to your workplace. 

We’d love to help show you how skills can help in any season you are experiencing.

 

 

 

 

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