By Cassandra Dunner, LMSW

March – the month when spring begins, winter should end, and the in between. However, March in Western New York can also mean more frigid temps, snowy sidewalks, and the ongoing need to bundle up. However, it can also be a time to examine previously set New Year’s intentions, with determination to embrace positive manifestations and better coping regimens.

How can we continue to commit to the intentions we envisioned in January and February during the rest of the year? Establishing a routine that includes positive affirmations, exercise, balancing time with friends and family with alone time, and finding new hobbies to enjoy takes time. It also can mean examining and discarding habits that you realize detracts from your mental well-being and choosing ones that bring you joy, which also takes time. But that’s okay!

As we grow and evolve, we typically adopt routines we view as normal. We may also experience emotional growing pains that cause our mood to fluctuate. This can manifest by sleeping or eating more or less than usual, or spending more or less time with family and friends.

It is important to give yourself the same grace and empathy that you provide to others simply in realizing that change takes time. Many of us extend this understanding to our family, friends, and others, but find it difficult to do empathize with the person in the mirror. So be patient with yourself.

Warmer weather is just around the corner, so allow the month of March and the first days of spring to inspire you begin anew and start fresh in the days ahead.

Cassandra Dunner, LMSW is an Erie County ACT Co-Occurring Specialist at Spectrum Health and Human Services.