It’s April. Depending on where you live, the temperature is warming up, the flower and trees are blooming, and the sun is no longer setting at 5 p.m. You might even be feeling different. It’s spring, and with it comes spring fever.
“Spring fever” is a term used to describe the feelings that come with the new season. According to an article from Scientific American, “it begins as a rapid and yet unpredictable fluctuating mood and energy state that contrasts with the relative low [of the] winter months that precede it.” Spring fever is not an officially diagnosed condition, but the seasonal change can still affect us physically and mentally.
For our physical health, spring means the start of many sports leagues and other outdoor activities. More daylight hours give us the chance to go outside for a run, walk or just hang out with friends and family in the evening. We no longer to have to bundle up to go outside, shortening the time to get ready.
The benefit of spring isn’t limited to exercise. The increase in activity boosts our immune system and makes it less likely for us to get sick. The warmer weather encourages us to eat healthier foods, which in turn helps us get important vitamins and minerals. Blood pressure tends to be lower in the higher temperatures.
For our mental health, warmer weather can improve our overall mood and attitude. More daylight hours cause our brain to release more serotonin, an important hormone which helps our sleep pattern, energy and appetite. Being outdoors and in the sunlight is linked to increased creativity and inspiration. There are more opportunities to actually go outside, a nice change from the cold nights spent on the couch drinking hot chocolate and watching Netflix. Even though the New Year starts in January, spring can also serve as a fresh start for some people, the chance to try something new.
Spring fever is commonly seen as a positive thing, but can have some drawbacks. The blossoming of plants and foliage can release pollen and other particles, causing allergies for some.
As the Scientific American article stated earlier, spring fever can bring about unexpected bursts of energy and mood changes as your body’s natural clock and hormones gear up the warmer months. The sudden changes can affect our appetite, sleep schedule and mental health. Maintaining a constant routine is key to help keep our focus on track and prevent us from feeling tired and worn out.
On a more psychological level, there is something known as seasonal affective disorder. This is characterized by a depression that begins and ends at the same time every year. Symptoms tend to be worse in the winter time, but there are certain cases where one can feel more down during the warmer months. Tips to help alleviate the mood include spending time outside, eating healthy and interacting with friends and family. If you still find yourself feeling downcast, talk to a professional about what more can be done to help.
Spring has sprung, and it’s time go out there and experience it!