Springtime Activities To Elevate Your Mood
If you suffer from PTSD, you know that life can be challenging. Sights, sounds and smells can all be triggers, and triggers cause flashbacks, stress, fatigue and depression. PTSD sufferers often become socially isolated, which only complicates the issue.
Now that it’s spring and the weather is turning warmer, get outdoors. Enjoy the sunshine! Elevate your mood. Here are some ways to do that.
Taking a nature walk or hike in the beautiful sunshine is a tremendous way to boost your spirits. Walking gets your blood flowing and reduces stress. Nature can also prevent negative triggers; you can even begin to create a positive stimulus.
In general, all exercise is extremely beneficial for fighting stress; many therapists incorporate exercise as part of overall PTSD therapy. You don’t even have to go on a long hike or even a particularly strenuous one. Just remember that all exercise, even little bits, does have a positive effect. Some studies have shown that exercise is just as beneficial as medication.
For PTSD sufferers, an overly stimulating environment can cause distress. Choose a quiet nature path or park nearby and get out and enjoy springtime. Even better, walk with a buddy and if you feel like it, talk along the way. For example, take a walk with your wingman. Our Wingman Peer Mentoring program reaches Veterans and active duty men and women exactly where they are.
Meditation should be part of any effective PTSD program. The practice has so many positive benefits. Learning to quiet your mind and block out negative thoughts is the pathway to true relaxation, and what better way to meditate than outdoors in the beautiful warm sunshine of spring. We understand that you may not feel comfortable attending a meditation class, so choose a family member or peer with PTSD to help you learn to meditate. The experience will be much less stressful and intimidating and will be helpful to all involved.
What better way to bust stress than to get outdoors and play your favorite sport or best pastime? Play on a softball team, have a game of flag football, swim—if it is warm enough! Whatever you like to do, do it! It’s spring and it is wonderful outside. Being surrounded by all of the warm air, sunshine and flowers will be a great mood elevator.
Consider joining a sports team so that you have some social time as well. For example, how about joining our Veterans Golf League? What could be more fun than a day on the links with your best buddies and veterans going through what you’re going through? Give it some serious thought.
Adopt a Dog
Dogs are man’s best friend and are extremely beneficial for people with PTSD. Often, veterans with PTSD don’t feel comfortable around other people and that leads to social isolation and loneliness, particularly when you live alone. Dogs also can help veterans feel safe because they become loyal and are always on guard. Make your daily life easier. Get a dog. As a veteran, you may be eligible for a trauma-trained service dog. Inquire about the program here.
Talk It Out
If you have PTSD, having someone to talk to can make all the difference. Meet a trusted friend in a sunny park, and talk it out on a park bench. Letting go and verbalizing your feelings and experiences will immediately reduce your stress. Shared experiences are very important in combating this illness, so give it a try. If you don’t know anyone, that is ok. Don’t let it stop you from talking. We offer a peer-to-peer mentoring program that could really help you realize you are not in this alone. There are certainly others out there with similar experiences and we will help you meet them.
While living with PTSD Living with PTSD is certainly an adjustment, it does not always have to be a difficult one. There are pleasant moments, particularly when you can get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, so take advantage of springtime. Get out there and enjoy the sunshine and social interaction. What are you waiting for something to do?