How to Deal with the Effects of ‘Spring Fever’

SpringFever copyDo you have “Spring Fever”?

It’s springtime! Are you feeling frisky—or down in the doldrums? Scientists tell us that “spring fever” really exists, especially for people in the upper half of the northern hemisphere. This can be reassuring if you’ve recently experienced unpredictable changes in your mood and behavior. At the same time, the show must go on as every performer knows. Find out how the arrival of those daffodils may affect you and what to do about it.

Winter is over and the days are longer, albeit with dramatic shifts in weather. The extra daylight travels to your brain through the retina of your eye, triggering the release of a mixed cocktail of hormones like endorphins, estrogen and testosterone. The “happiness hormone” serotonin also responds to daylight, while the “sleep hormone” melatonin linked to darkness decreases. So far, so good. Most of you may now feel upbeat about life if distracted by love, with a reduced desire to sleep, restlessness and a need to eat less. Yet these hormonal changes also take their toll, leaving many of you weary and unmotivated. There’s a reason.

Spring’s sense of well-being is especially pronounced in those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) who get depressed during winter. This group feels best with the arrival of more daylight in spring and all of its ramifications, including hypomania with relentless activity, reduced sleep and elevated thoughts that can increase productivity. Yet there are others who appear to have depleted their levels of serotonin through the winter months, leaving them with symptoms that include fatigue, irritability, dizziness, headaches, achy joints and a lack of drive.

What can you do? Well, if you’re feeling upbeat and ready to jive just remember to keep your focus on the performing arts and sleep, in addition to having fun. For those of you who are feeling funky, it’s important to attack the depression before it takes over your life. This includes:

1) Talking to friends, family or a psychotherapist where you can discuss issues in a safe place free from judgment.
2) Eating a balanced diet with sufficient hydration and reduced intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
3) Exercising regularly several times a week to improve mood with your doctor’s approval.
4) Engaging in hobbies and other interests apart from work to relieve tension and enhance well-being.
5) Practicing good sleep habits in a cool, dark bedroom and avoiding stimulating activities that interrupt regular hours of waking and sleeping.

Be aware of your reaction to spring, practice a healthy lifestyle and reach out for professional help if needed. The Resource Section includes hotlines for depression. Let’s all enjoy Spring!

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