Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn’t always end with Winter: How to Cure the Springtime Blues.
Spring months don’t always make us feel renewed and refreshed. For some, they are a trigger for anxiety, mood swings, and depression.
Spring is finally here, and along with the blooming flowers and longer days, we’re all expected to say goodbye to the winter blues and welcome spring fever.
After all, spring is a time for new beginnings, energy and renewed passion—isn’t it?
As in turns out, more and more people experience depression and anxiety in March and April compared to the winter months and can’t seem to enjoy the brighter weather as much as they should. It may seem like a rare phenomenon, but psychologists point out that this reverse form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real concern that shouldn’t be neglected.
So, if you’re not ready to leave the comfort fireplaces and oversized sweaters just yet and the arrival of spring throws you off track, you’re not alone.
Here’s why reverse SAD happens and what you can do to feel better.
How does spring cause negative moods?
One moment it’s snowing and you’re cuddled up in your favorite blanket, and the next flowers are blooming all around you. The transition from winter to spring isn’t always smooth and can cause serious anxiety if you don’t like change.
It’s not always easy to adjust from one type of weather to the other and a previous history of depression and bipolar disorder can make symptoms worse. You might feel anxious, irritable, moody, have low appetite and sex drive, and feel the need to isolate yourself.
Although most people find winter depressing, many see it as a form of comfort and protection—they love staying indoors, reading, watching movies, and having alone time. When spring suddenly arrives and they’re expected to go out more and be social, anxiety kicks in.
Then there’s the social pressure that you have to be happy in spring. Most people enjoy spring and can’t wait for it to come, so the fact that you don’t share their feelings might force you to think of the negatives in your life. You might feel like you’re the only one having a bad time or want to isolate yourself from your friends. Spring is always busy, with all the April weddings and music festivals, and if you have reverse SAD, instead of making you excited, they’ll put you in a bad mood.
And let’s not forget about seasonal allergies, which affect millions of Americans, causing annoying symptoms like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, swollen eyes, and itchiness. It’s hard to enjoy spring when pollen is playing tricks on you, so it really comes as no surprise that spring months are a curse more than a blessing for a lot of people.
Fighting the springtime blues.
We all know sport is great for your physical health, but it’s a powerful tool for your mood and mental health as well. If the first days of spring find you bummed out and unable to reach your toes without panting, work on a weekly action plan to get into better shape—no gym required. There are plenty of other fun ways to be active and stay in shape that don’t require a subscription or someone yelling orders at you.
Find a form of physical activity that is not like a chore to you. It can be anything from jogging and dancing to skipping rope, walking your dog or playing with the kids. As long as it gets your heart pounding faster, it will help you lift your mood as well.
Make a change you’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
Sometimes, you need a little reminder that you are gorgeous and you should love yourself. And while spending three months in oversized hoodies may be comfortable, it’s not always good for your self-esteem.
Spring is a great time to make one of those changes that you’ve been thinking of making for ages but you’ve always postponed. Are you curious how you would look like with shorter hair? Get a haircut and it will make you feel like a new person! Now is the time to experiment and escape your comfort zone little by little. Revamp your wardrobe, buy new makeup or change the look and feel of your house. These might be precisely the boost you needed to feel renewed!
Eat healthy and take vitamins.
Spring asthenia might be another reason why you’re not feeling so well this spring. With symptoms that can be mistaken for depression (apathy, headaches, insomnia, irritability), asthenia occurs when our bodies have difficulty adapting to the change in weather. Diet is many times to blame for this condition, because the lack of fresh fruits and vitamins in winter leads to deficiencies and a weakened immune system.
Try to slowly remove the sweet and fatty foods you enjoyed in winter with fresh, healthier alternatives, like smoothies and salads. Schedule an appointment for blood tests and ask your doctor to recommend you some vitamins in case you have deficiencies.
Life happens fast, and your daily responsibilities at work or at home might keep you from focusing on yourself and giving the springtime blues the attention they deserve. Don’t let time pass without addressing the source of your stress and anxiety, because you will only end up feeling worse.
Take a few minutes to meditate every day and live in the present. Listen to relaxing music, spend time in nature, and don’t forget to breathe.
Even if it’s not something structured happening at fixed times every day, meditation can help you reconnect with yourself and finding your inner flow.
Editor: Emily Bartran