Is Spring Fever a Thing?
Are you experiencing a spike in your mood and energy level lately? Have you noticed an increased desire to socialize with others? Do you feel drawn toward the outdoors in favor of sunshine and fresh air? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have it. It may be hard to believe, but you may be the victim of the incredibly contagious, addictive, and powerful effects of none other than (drum roll) Spring Fever.
I must admit, there is no formal diagnostic category pinpointing this “fever” but there is some support for the elation we feel at the onset of spring. Several factors bunch up in the colder months to elicit a need to hole up inside during winter while our days are shorter. Less sunlight translates to less natural energy and changes in our body’s production of melatonin. Once warmer days stick around and nature sprouts and buds all around us, we typically perk up and leave behind the winter blahs.
The majority of folks experience a range of winter lows in which they feel less productive and enthusiastic in contrast to the brighter environment and mild temperatures of spring. A much more serious condition exists that deserves mention, Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder IS real and represents a little anecdotal support for the lift in mood that comes with this seasonal change. According to the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition, SAD falls under a type of depression referred to as Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. Clinical cases of SAD effect 5% of the American population and notably interfere with an individual’s daily functioning. There are other symptoms and requirements for the official diagnosis and several good treatment options. Proper support can help those with SAD thrive through the cooler months.
I may not have SAD but I know I have a serious love for spring and long for the warmer days of sunshine and cool rains. Some of the usual phenomena we tend to look forward to during these spells of spring fever include; baby animals in country pastures, color displays in trees and sprouting plants, the scent of backyard grills, sounds of children laughing and playing outside, spring peepers, freshly plowed fields and gardens germinating new crops, and ripe conditions for fishing, canoeing, and camping.
Spring fever may not be a technical or clinical condition, but the very contrast between short days that require us to bundle up from head to toe, clean off and warm up our cars, or stay indoors where many of us have been isolated is easily recognized. After the year we’ve had, it’s possible we will all run outside waving frantically at our neighbors just because we can. Grab a pet or friend and I’ll see you out there in nature.
What are some of your “symptoms” of spring fever?