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Many people experience increased restlessness, maybe trouble sleeping and more energy as the days grow longer – particularly after the Spring equinox. Some people will have increased anxiety as well.

Spring fever is a real psychological and physiological change to the lengthening of the days. For some it means a desire to organize their lives, eat better, exercise more. For others it increases discontentment, isolation, depression, and anxiety. People who suffer from seasonal affective disorder may notice it worsening in the earlier part of the Spring.

I liken it to what a seed must feel in the ground after a winter of dormancy. It swells, the skin tightens and starts to stretch toward the light. But in the Pacific Northwest, when the Spring is often accompanied by grey skies and rainstorms, it can be particularly challenging.

Recognizing that it is a real phenomenon can help a person cope with these feelings.

Getting outside more and exercising can help with the discomfort. Cleaning out clutter, turning off the computer, opening the blinds can also help

Many people find that Mood lights will help. These lights, when shone directly into the eyes, stimulate the pineal gland which will regulates melatonin – a hormone associated with sleep cycles and biological rhythms. This can bolster energy and feelings of wellbeing. In my experience, they help in about 80% of people with depression during the Winter and Spring. It usually takes about 2 weeks to notice a change.

DL Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is a precursor to dopamine which can stimulate motivation and drive. Vitamin D3 can also be helpful. Most people benefit from taking at least 2000 iu and up to 5000 IU during the Winter months.

Spring fever is real. Think of it as natures drive to get you out of hibernation and into the light. Clean out the old den, do a Spring cleanse, take a trip to somewhere warm (if you can) or at least take a walk. I actually enjoy walks in the rain as long as I have my raincoat on and some waterproof boots.

And remember – it is a harbinger of warmer brighter days ahead.

By Jennifer Means, ND, LAc

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