If you’re feeling more energetic, happier and a little distracted these days, you’ve probably got spring fever. Romantics may be disappointed to find out that this pulse-quickening condition seems to be less about love and more about biology. Here’s why:
- Increased daylight tells our bodies to produce less melatonin (a hormone that makes us sleepy).
- At the same time, our levels of serotonin (a mood-lifting hormone) are starting to rise, though scientists aren’t sure why.
- Additionally, with an increase in nice weather, we tend to spend more time outside, and being outdoors on sunny days triggers the production of vitamin D (an energy-boosting vitamin).
No wonder spring fever makes us restless! Luckily, this is one fever you don’t have to avoid. Here are a few ways to catch the fever and enjoy the effects spring has on your body.
- Open the curtains and raise the blinds. Sunlight helps us feel happier and more energetic.
- Grow something. Whether you have a yard or just a few pots on your patio, planting ﬂowers, herbs or veggies can make you feel more upbeat.
- Load up on the season’s bounty. Eating plenty of fruits, berries and vegetables helps ﬁght the blues. Visit local farmers’ markets for the freshest produce.
- Enjoy spring’s longer days by leaving work earlier once or twice a week to do fun things or taking breaks during the day to walk outside.
- Exercise outdoors. Skip the beige gym walls and treadmill for a walk in the park or around the neighborhood. Exercise produces endorphins, the “happy hormones.”
- Unplug from email, texts and social media. Instead, go outside and look at real sunsets, or chat with friends face to face. (And turn off your phone while you’re there!)
Looking for healthy recipes to try? Watch the videos below for ideas from Methodist Healthcare Ambassadors, Sean Elliott and Claudia Zapata-Elliott, registered dietician, MS, RD.
Tried to catch spring fever and just couldn’t get it? Talk to your doctor about ways you can improve your health and your mood, and if you have sustained periods of sadness or depression, make sure you bring that up, too. There are many ways to stay happy and healthy all year long and your doctor will help you find the ones that are right for you.