12 Ways to Manage Spring Fatigue
As spring rolls in, the dormant nature of our winter lifestyle wakes our body up to meet the business of a new season. The increased demand of energy of longer spring days, however, can exceed our body’s capacity to handle this change. Stressed, we feel tired.
The cost of adjustment to this seasonal change is called spring fatigue.
We still don’t know exactly why it happens. Research suggests two possible reasons: external changes and internal changes.
Considering that our body has a tendency to take any change, internal or external, as a stressor, seasonal change is a big threat to homeostasis, the constancy of the internal environment. The fact that the day gets longer and more sunlight is available means an increase in temperature and humidity and more time for activity and increased energy consumption. To meet these demands, our body works hard to repair and strengthen the weakened defense system that often occurs during the winter.
During the winter, our body runs low in hormones such as serotonin (the stress buster and happiness booster) due to shorter daylight hours and dopamine (the motivation hormone) due to decreased physical activity. There is also an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone) due to increased environmental threats. As result, some of us feel lethargic, less motivated, low in vitality, and tired, especially toward the end of the winter season.
Lack of vitality could be due to lack of vitamin reserve in the body. For example, the primary energy boosters such as vitamins D and C are dependent on availability of sunlight and fresh fruits and vegetables. We have less of both in winter.
Other factors that occur in spring include increased libido and reproductive urges, not-quite-adapted energy metabolism, and disrupted sleep pattern.
Symptoms of spring fatigue include loss of appetite, constant tiredness, difficulty in attention and concentration, unrefreshing sleep and sleepiness, headaches, impaired judgment, altered sensory perception, slow reflexes and responses to stimuli, lack of motivation, poor immune function, and negative effects on memory, critical thought, reaction time, mood, anxiety, energy level, digestion, and blood pressure.
The key strategy to combat spring fatigue is to minimize stress and boost internal energy levels. This way, you can maintain your body’s energy balance, emotional stability, and sleep pattern.
How to Lower Your Stress Levels
Keep consistent ambient temperature and humidity at appropriate levels for you.
Set daily and weekly routines. Structured activity helps your body adjust to changes in relatively constant progressive way. Avoid pushing your limits. Any sudden changes can be translated as stressors by your body. So don’t over do it. Regulated activity and patterns minimize additional stress to your body while building the strength you need for the coming summer activities.
Listen to your body so you can pace yourself in work and physical activity. Take regular breaks for rest. Spend more time engaging in enjoyable activities than in strenuous ones.
How to Boost Energy
Drink plenty of water. Water cleanses toxins from the system and boosts metabolism. Dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue. Drinking water can be the simplest and most effective solution to fatigue.
Eat small amounts of nutritious food frequently. Make sure at least one-third of your meal plan includes fresh vegetables and fruits for vitamin C. For vitamin B1, an essential nutrient for the nervous and circulatory systems, consume beans, nuts, seeds, fish, pork, spinach, asparagus, and grains.
Get enough oxygen: Take 10 deep breaths 3 times a day.
Go out and exercise. Even 15 minutes exposure of your skin to the sun can fill your body with an adequate amount of vitamin D for the day. Exercise and vitamin D build your strength and boost energy levels. Engage in moderate aerobic exercise such as taking a 30-minute walk or jog. Resistance training using free weight is also effective in increasing your energy levels. Mindful movement is a good way to boost your inner energy and calm the mind in just a few minutes.
Stretch your muscles for 5-10 minutes after exercise to help your body reduce the by-products of exercise in the system and prevent soreness.
Take a cold shower. It has a refreshing effect.
Take a bath with epsom salts or visit a sauna. Both can have a relaxing effect.
Take a nap and sleep well. Keep your sleep environment comfortable and consistent.
- Have a strategy for emotional stability such as mindful meditation, acceptance and kindness practice, or a relaxation program.
Summary Chart: 12 Ways to Manage Spring Fatigue
For more read on mindful movement to boost your inner energy levels and regain peace of your mind, visit MBX12.org.