Does the arrival of spring leave you feeling low? You’re not alone. While many eagerly await the warmth of spring after a long, cold winter, others find themselves struggling with a sudden sense of lethargy. It’s a sensation experienced around the world – for example, 50-75% of Germans have reportedly felt its effect.
If you’re too exhausted to even think about spring cleaning or getting out and enjoying the beauty of the season, you may be experiencing spring fatigue disorder.
So what exactly is this condition? As the name suggests, spring fatigue disorder is primarily characterised by feeling tired in the spring – a lack of energy that persists no matter how much sleep a person gets. Other symptoms of spring fatigue disorder include depression, irritability and moodiness. Physical complaints like headaches, dizziness and joint soreness may also be present.
Although it’s not entirely clear what causes spring fatigue disorder, many experts believe that hormones play a role. As the days grow longer and brighter, your body senses the change and adjusts hormone production accordingly. Levels of the sleep hormone melatonin decrease, while those of hormones related to activity (like endorphins) go up. This change can be taxing on the body, and the difficulty that some people have adapting to the hormonal shift has been associated with spring fatigue disorder.
Regardless of what’s behind it, this disorder can take its toll on your quality of life, making even the most basic tasks difficult to accomplish. Luckily, there are steps you can take to safely and naturally manage your spring fatigue disorder symptoms. Here are four ways to manage spring fatigue disorder.
Adjust your diet
Food can be excellent medicine when it comes to relieving spring fatigue disorder symptoms. Eating a diet full of whole, nutrient-rich foods can give your body the lift it needs, boosting your energy levels and elevating your mood. These foods in have been shown to be particularly uplifting:
- Salmon and other fatty fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve symptoms of depression.
- Leafy greens, leguminous plants and wholegrain foods are packed with magnesium, a mineral that can increase your levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
- Cashews contain zinc, another mineral that has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression.
Blueberries are a superior source of antioxidants that protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, and their consumption is associated with improved mood and cognition. Further, they are low in sugar and contain anti-inflammatory properties!
In addition to getting mood-lifting nutrients through food, taking the right supplements can be another effective tool to help you manage spring fatigue disorder. A few to consider:
It’s not just your gut that benefits when you supplement your diet with good bacteria. One systematic review found that people who took probiotics experienced improved perceived levels of stress and a more positive mental outlook.
This natural nutritional supplement by Make Well contains lactobacteria, CoenzymeQ10 and other ingredients chosen to support and energise the body.
Specially formulated by Make Well to support your cells’ mitochondria, Mito Plus can help maintain the metabolism of energy in the body.
It can be incredibly difficult to find the strength for exercise when you’re dealing with spring fatigue disorder. But if you can muster the motivation, you’ll likely find yourself feeling happier and more energetic afterwards. And you don’t need to run a marathon in order to feel the ‘runner’s high’ associated with physical activity. Even moderate exercise has been shown to improve mood, and the effects are usually immediate.
If the idea of working out is too daunting, try gradually adding physical movement into your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk around the block during your lunch break instead of staring at your computer or playing around on your phone. You may be surprised by how good these little bursts of activity make you feel.
More and more research is indicating that merely spending time surrounded by greenery can lift your spirits. There’s even a healing practice known as ‘forest bathing’ that involves simply walking slowly and mindfully through the woods, and it has been shown to improve mood and increase energy levels (among other benefits).
But just like you don’t need to run a marathon to reap the mood-boosting effects of exercise, you don’t need to spend an entire day wandering through the forest to feel the healing power of nature. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, spending just 20 minutes hanging out in a park or other green space – even if that time is spent doing nothing more than sitting on a bench – can make the average person happier.
Spring fatigue disorder is a very real concern, but it can be managed. Try incorporating these four suggestions into your routine, and you may find yourself with a new and welcome ‘spring’ in your step.