What Is Spring Fatigue Disorder And How Can You Combat It?

Feeling fatigued is normal for everyone at some points in their lives. Between demanding schedules, inadequate nutrition, and lack of good quality sleep, it’s no wonder that we can get overwhelmed and experience general tiredness.

But when the seasons are changing – from winter to spring in particular – those feelings can creep in with renewed vengeance, causing ongoing fatigue and lethargy. It might be hard to imagine unless you’ve experienced it, because most people are excited to be able to get out and do more when the weather gets warmer. However, there’s a reason why the changing season can lead to these unwanted symptoms, and it’s called spring fatigue disorder. So what is spring fatigue disorder, exactly? And what can you do to alleviate or avoid its symptoms?

What is spring fatigue disorder?

When the cold, dark days of winter begin to change into the longer, warmer days of spring, most people look forward to having more energy, getting outside, and enjoying the new season. Sometimes, though, people can actually experience feelings of fatigue, tiredness, and lethargy. Other symptoms that may occur are similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and include depression, dizziness, and headaches. These symptoms are not uncommon, with many people experiencing the physiological changes the body goes through during this season transition. This is what is known as spring fatigue disorder.

The disorder itself is not categorized as a medical or psychological disorder; however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t real or doesn’t cause symptoms. Some people may refer to spring fatigue disorder as reverse seasonal affective disorder, but reverse seasonal affective disorder typically occurs in the summer months. There are many reasons why a person may experience spring fatigue that have nothing to do with mental state. They are more so attributed to physiological changes in the body.

woman tired outdoors in spring
Image by nrd on Unsplash: Why do I feel so tired when the weather changes?

What causes spring fatigue?

One of the main causes of spring fatigue disorder has to do with daylight savings time. Daylight savings time occurs in many of areas of the world, and involves clocks being turned forward an hour in the spring, resulting in more daylight and a loss of an hour that first day. This small time change may seem insignificant, but that one-hour difference can have a big effect on the body. On the first night of daylight savings, people typically lose an hour of sleep. It also results in less light in the morning, which can affect how people wake up. This adjustment to less daylight in the morning and a lost hour of sleep can last a week or more.

Another reason that spring fatigue happens is because of seasonal allergies. When flowers begin to bloom and pollen counts become higher, people with seasonal allergies begin to experience symptoms such as congestion and itchy eyes. Other symptoms that have been associated with seasonal allergies include general fatigue and mood changes. These allergy symptoms can make it more difficult to sleep at night, which leads to tiredness the next day. The combination of seasonal allergies and the adjustment to daylight hours, along with a thrown-off sleep schedule, can lead to spring fatigue disorder. 

How do you deal with spring fatigue?

For those who suffer from spring fatigue, it can be difficult to cope with the symptoms of lethargy and tiredness. Since there is nothing a person can do about daylight savings time in their area, it can be hard to avoid that first change that causes effects to their sleeping schedule and thus their overall levels of alertness throughout the day.

To help combat springtime fatigue that is caused by daylight savings time, you can adjust your sleep schedule ahead of time. By establishing a good bedtime routine, you can help your body adjust better to the change and be prepared for it when it comes. To help your body’s natural cycle adjust to daylight savings time, it might also be helpful to spend some time outside in the natural light, which can help to recalibrate your sleep-wake cycle.

woman outdoors with seasonal allergies in spring
Image by Andrey Zvyagintsev on Unsplash: Allergies can play a big role in spring fatigue disorder.

Exercise has been proven to help with fatigue. And with the warmer weather, it’s also easier to exercise outdoors. Getting adequate exercise is important all year round, but if you suffer from spring fatigue, it can help to improve your mood and enable you to get better-quality sleep. When your mood is lifted and you are having better sleep, you will feel less tired throughout the day.

When it comes to seasonal allergies, medications can be taken to help combat the symptoms. Antihistamines can be found over the counter or through a prescription, and can help relieve congestion and other symptoms of allergies so you can get a better night’s rest and feel more alert the next day. To help combat seasonal allergies in your home, you can keep allergens out by closing windows and doors and turning the AC on to reduce pollen exposure.

Spring fatigue remedies

Aside from spending more time outdoors or treating your seasonal allergies, there are other ways you can combat spring fatigue. Since diet plays a large role in energy levels, eating a diet rich in nutrients from seasonal vegetables can help to combat tiredness. Staying hydrated is also key when it comes to spring fatigue. The increased light that happens when the days get longer in the spring can cause headaches, which can often be relieved by drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. Hydration has also been shown to help remedy general fatigue.

If you suffer from spring fatigue disorder, it might be difficult to combat the feelings and symptoms that you are experiencing (especially when everyone else seems to be enjoying the seasonal change). However, there are ways to cope with the disorder, and it typically only lasts a short time. 

Featured image by Mel Elias on Unsplash

Spring Clean Your Gut! 6 Foods To Include In Your Spring Detox

In many places, the winter months are cold and unwelcoming. People often spend much more time indoors, eat comfort foods more often, and indulge in holiday meals and snacks. So when the spring finally arrives and it’s time to get back outside again, your gut health might be a little off because of all that overindulgence. The good news is that a few additions to your diet may be all you need to help your body detox after your stint in hibernation mode.   

Why do people detox in spring?

Spring cleaning is a commonly used term that often refers to people getting rid of old things and letting go of all the things they no longer need, wear, or have room for in their house. It’s also a time to do a deep clean that may have been neglected over the course of the winter months. Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be done on material objects, though. Your body can also benefit from its own version of this new-season principle.  

During the winter, it’s easy to exercise less and eat a little less healthily than you would in the warmer months. All that extra food and reduction in exercise often leads to an excess in weight as well as a build-up of toxic substances in the body. This could be why people often feel sluggish and tired at the beginning of the spring season. By doing a spring detox, you can help to eliminate all that heaviness that you’ve accumulated over the course of the cooler months. This, in turn, will make it easier to get more active during spring and start feeling lighter and healthier ASAP.

berries for spring detox diet
Image by Cecilia Par on Unsplash: If you find yourself wondering what snacks to eat when detoxing, look no further than a delicious and sweet bowl of in-season berries.

How can I clean my gut naturally?

Since digestive health is a huge part of overall health, it’s vital to make it a priority. Cleaning the gut naturally can be done with a few simple dietary steps. The first is to stay hydrated. The digestive tract needs water to help move foods along and absorb nutrients, and drinking enough water each day will help to keep your digestion regulated. Eating foods with a high water content can also be a great help.

Adding fiber into your diet will also help to move the food along through your digestive tract and ensure that anything the body doesn’t need gets flushed out as waste. A cleanse or detox routine can also help to clean the gut naturally, so let’s take a look at what a spring detox might involve.

What are the best foods to eat when detoxing?

Eating whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is the best way to help your body flush out any harmful build-up or extra toxins that may have accumulated throughout the winter. Although many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources can help to detox the body, some foods are better than others for the process.

1. Beets

Beets are a great spring food to add to a detox diet because of their ability to activate liver enzymes and increase the level of bile within the body. This heightens the liver’s detoxing ability and helps toxins get flushed out of the body at a higher rate.

2. Berries

Berries are full of antioxidants.Spring berries such as strawberries are a great addition to the diet because their antioxidants can help to balance the levels of free radicals within the body. This balancing act ends up contributing to the body’s heightened ability to flush out toxins.

3. Asparagus

Typically, grocery stores pack asparagus all year round, but it’s especially great for detoxing in the spring, as that’s when it is in season. The vegetable acts as a diuretic, which helps the body get rid of excess substances such as salt. It can also help flush out toxins from the kidneys, leading to an overall body detoxification.

seasonal spring beets
Image by Emma-Jane Hobden on Unsplash: Many people don’t immediately think of beets when they think of a detox, but their ability to help the liver do its job is what makes them a great addition to a detox diet.

4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit used to be hailed as a superior diet food. Some people may have even tried the “grapefruit diet”, which involves eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with every single meal.Even though that diet was really just a trend, there is some truth to the health benefits grapefruit can provide, especially when it comes to detoxing.

The natural sugars in grapefruit are easy to digest and the high water content will help to flush out toxins. Studies have also shown that when people eat grapefruit on a regular basis, it helps them increase their intake of other healthy foods that could help in a detox.

5. Kale

Kale is another spring season vegetable that you should be eating more of during your spring detox. This leafy vegetable has a high content of phytonutrients, which are molecules in plants that provide some great health benefits when consumed.

One specific phytonutrient known as sulfurophane helps with liver health, which in turn leads to the strengthening of the body’s natural detox process. Kale also contains high levels of antioxidants that also help the body get rid of all those toxins it doesn’t need.

6. Green Tea

Green tea is available all year round, but that doesn’t make it any less important when it comes to your spring detox. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and contains liver-protecting properties that can keep your natural detox process running as it should.

A spring detox is a great way to help shed that heaviness and tiredness that winter left behind, and including the aforementioned foods in your diet can help you speed up the process.

Featured image by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash