What is seasonal stress?
Seasonal changes, like any other adjustment, can be stressful on the body and psyche. Changes in weather and exposure to sunshine can also cause sleep disruptions or declines in energy and motivation in others.
Spring is an exciting time of year, full of new life and fresh beginnings. However, the transition period after winter can feel overwhelming for many people. As much as most of us look forward to warm weather after months of bitter cold, stress can kick in once we feel that first seventy-degree day. Suddenly, there’s so much to do and plan for before summer arrives.
If the transition from winter to spring has been tough for you, the key is to be proactive in addressing your discomfort. Don’t let seasonal anxiety get in the way of enjoying spring. Take a look at these three tips for managing seasonal stress.
Some symptoms to know if you have seasonal stress
- A persistently depressed state.
- Severe exhaustion and a lack of energy.
- Despair, remorse, and a sense of worthlessness
- Lack of interest in normally rewarding activities, such as social activities.
- Sleeping longer than usual and having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
- Having difficulty concentrating.
- Carbohydrate cravings and weight gain.
1. Try a Good Old-Fashioned Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition for a reason. During the winter months, we tend to spend lots of time hunkered down in our homes, hiding from the cold weather and long nights and waiting for the sun to come back. The longer we spend in one place, the more clutter and debris we build up, especially in commonly designated storage areas such as the attic and garage.
Clearing out the cluttered spaces in your home is a great way to feel like you’re starting anew along with the season. You’ll be amazed at how relieved and energized you’ll feel once you start taking steps to declutter your garage. Just think of all the extra space to store fun summer necessities like pool noodles and giant floaty toys!
2. Keep a Gratitude Journal
In times of increased stress, it can be easy to hyperfocus on the things that feel off or that can’t be controlled. Unfortunately, this impulse is more harmful than helpful to our well-being. Evidence suggests that staying focused on the hassles and struggles of daily life can reinforce feelings of anxiety rather than letting us move through them.
Instead of stewing over circumstances out of your hands or focusing on the things that are going wrong, try writing down everything you feel grateful for about spring.
Studies have shown that keeping a daily gratitude journal can create feelings of optimism, improve your mood and even help you get a better night’s sleep.
Start with a basic record of the pleasant experiences and thoughts you have throughout the day, and who knows? Maybe an exciting creative project will grow from the seeds of your journal.
3. Learn to Identify Neighborhood Flowers
Feeling connected to nature and the beautiful environment that comes along with warmer weather will go a long way toward helping you feel grounded in the new season. One great way to do this is to learn to identify the flowers in and around your neighborhood. Most state government websites offer free guides to the local flora, so you can start studying those gorgeous spring blooms armed with nothing but your cell phone.
To keep a record of your floral discoveries, take a photo of each new flower you identify. Looking back through this catalog of blossoms will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you retain the information you’re learning. Plus, nothing brightens up an Instagram page like photos of beautiful flowers.
Things you can do for reducing seasonal stress
- Discover your source of tranquility- Avoid utilizing food, TV, or other mind-numbing sedentary activities as your primary source of comfort when you are feeling depressed or short on energy. You may pursue your favorite pastimes, join an indoor sports team or social organization, engage in a creative activity such as painting or learning to play an instrument, or complete your bucket list of books.
- Modify your workout routine- Seasonal changes might be a trigger that helps us tune in to our body and become more aware of what our bodies require. We must also slow down when we notice signs of seasonal stress. You may not feel like exercising at times; however, bear in mind that it may serve as one of the most effective ways of dealing with stress, worry, and sadness.
- Develop a thoughtful attitude- Seasonal changes are ideal times to pay attention, look inside, and reconnect with ourselves and environment. Take a thoughtful stroll when the leaves begin to change, paying attention to the colors, smells, and feelings of the chilly air on your skin to create an appreciation for these changes.
- Maintain a healthy diet- To maintain a good balance, it is also vital to take care of your health and nutritional needs. Make sure to meet your dietary needs, particularly vitamin D, which can become insufficient throughout the fall and winter months.
- Make social activities a priority- It is critical to find innovative ways to keep connected with others during times of growing isolation. Spending time with family and friends at a nearby park, participating in sports activities or yard games, or taking on walks when the weather permits.
- Allow the sun to enter– If you suffer from seasonal depression or wintertime SAD, you should spend as much time as possible outside throughout the day to take advantage of the available sunlight. When you’re inside, keep your blinds open to bring in as much natural light as possible.
- Take a break– Taking a winter vacation to a warmer region can help relieve SAD symptoms by allowing you to escape the cold and dreary sky. Even just a temporary break from your regular routine in a sunny location can be beneficial for winter depression.
Don’t Get Bogged Down in Spring Doldrums
Seasonal transitions can be difficult to deal with, especially if you suffer from allergies or seasonal depression. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to help you feel grounded in the new season and excited for the warmer days to come.
Follow these three tips for springing into the new season with aplomb! We guarantee you’ll be less stressed and appreciate the change of scenery more. If you decide to stop and smell the flowers and begin a photo journal, you may even take up a new lifelong hobby.