Fallon County Timely-Tips

Almost everyone has heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in the seasons.

Tips to cope with springtime lethargy

By Sherry Vogel

Almost everyone has heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in the seasons. It generally occurs during the same season each year, generally starting in the fall and continuing through the winter months. It is caused in part by less sunshine affecting a person’s serotonin levels, which in turn have a direct affect on the mood.

Fewer people are aware of a condition called springtime lethargy, which is associated with the onset of spring. In the northern hemisphere this phenomena occurs mid March to April.

Surprisingly, studies show that late spring and early-summer suicide rates, around the globe increase dramatically during this period.

While many people are energized by the coming of spring, for those affected by springtime lethargy, they have problems adjusting to sudden weather changes accompanied by stronger temperatures and brightness fluctuations.

The condition is known as the “reverse” seasonal affective disorder.

Whether solely influenced by a normal reaction to warmer temperatures, or other predisposed factors stemming from a medical basis, such as allergies, etc. the condition manifests itself with feelings of being weary and uninterested, feeling tired, or depressed.

Research shows that older people, and adolescents frequently tend to feel more lethargic during the springtime of the year. Interesting enough, women with low blood pressure are also highly affected. Because when temperatures rise; a person’s blood vessels expand causing a further drop in blood pressure.

Springtime lethargy, although not a diagnosed illness, but rather a phenomenon is something to be aware of as you may wonder why you just don’t seem to be as euphoric or full of energy as many other people around you.

Here are 6 tips to help you get ahead of this totally normal springtime lethargy:

#1. Don’t sleep any longer than previously, rather set your alarm for half an hour earlier. Paradoxically it is a fact that too much sleep can exacerbate a depressed state of mind.

#2. Try finishing your warm shower with a cold squirt. This helps to get the sleepy circulation going and enormously helps the vascular system.

#3. Exercise, daylight and fresh air are ideal in helping your body with the adjustment from winter to spring.

#4. Open your windows wide and thoroughly air your place out. Every additional oxygen shower gives your brain a kick and expels listlessness.

#5. Catch every ray of sun you can. Sunlight increases the neurotransmitter serotonin level that is being attributed with mood enhancement. The longer you can spend a spring day in the open the more it benefits not just your mood but your energy as well.

#6. Mount your bike/motorcycle for a spin around town, take a walk or throw yourself into garden work. Anything outside beneath the open sky is a great antidote against springtime apathy. Even during a cloudy day it is still sufficiently light outside to inhibit your melatonin production and increase your serotonin levels.

Fortunately, springtime lethargy usually does not last longer than 2-3 weeks, then the body has managed the adjustment and the condition generally improves.

*In part, cited from: Tips to Beat Springtime Lethargy, Felicitas Heyne, Psychologist and Author.