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Spring Fever: Is it Real, and Do You Have It?

The flowers are in bloom, and the fields have turned from barren and beige to high-definition green. A mother duck can be seen leading her ducklings, who waddle like a wayward army, from biggest to smallest. A sense of well-being takes over the mind and body, and romance is in the air. There’s a boost in your energy level, and it’s not from the help of a cup of coffee. All of these symptoms point to the diagnosis of spring fever—a condition that can last from March through May.

While the word fever may be a little scary, there is nothing to worry about—spring fever doesn’t refer to any type of medical condition. There are many positive symptoms that go hand-in-hand with the season. The spring’s soaring temperatures may find you coming to life again after being cooped up and hibernating during the dark, winter months. You get excited about the chance to be outdoors. This excitement may trigger the brain to secrete endorphins, which are pain-relieving chemicals that cause the feeling of contentment. Springtime activities, such as flying a kite, riding a bike and taking a leisurely stroll may also play a role, because exercise can improve the mood.

With longer days and more daylight, there are changes in the production of melatonin—the sleep hormone—that causes you to sleep less, since the nights are getting shorter. As you adjust to longer days and more sunshine, you start feeling better, more energized and positive. As the body receives more daylight, the production of the “happy hormone,” serotonin, is increased.

Many people link spring to romance. In 1835, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote about the season in his poem, “Locksley Hall,” about how “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Tennyson may have hit on something. Dr. Norman Rosenthal, psychotherapist and researcher of the National Institute of Mental Health, said spring fever is driven by the body’s reaction to its changing environment–a reaction to the increased amount of spring sunlight. The change in seasons brings better moods and a better climate for romance.

Do You Have Spring Fever?

There are plenty of ways to tell if you have spring fever, from wanting to be active and a desire to spend time outdoors to a positive attitude and a feeling of happiness. Check out some of the following “symptoms.”

Surge of energy

It could be the extra dose of vitamin D from the sunshine that gives you the extra energy to start jogging during your lunch hour or after work. It may be the image of the body “springing to life” after winter doldrums that gives you the urge to move more.

Romance on the brain

Some experts say thoughts of romance occur, because both men and women wear less clothing in the springtime. However, because sunlight helps to release endorphins, it places people in better moods and increases physical attraction.

Eating lighter

Many people crave fresh fruits and vegetables once spring rolls around. (In many parts of the country, it’s more difficult to find reasonably priced, fresh fruit and vegetables during the off-season. In the spring, these items are more readily available at less expensive prices.)

Sleeping less

Additional sunlight tells the body to produce less melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that regulates circadian rhythm and natural wake-sleep patterns.

Mood brightens

More sunshine and the abundance of color bring you out of the “winter blues,” making you more positive. You may find yourself feeling happier and more sociable.

Obsessed with cleaning

You have the urge to clean your house from basement to attic, as well as spruce up the yard. While spring cleaning is probably not caused by biology, it may be in the subconscious that it is the time to get out the cleaning supplies and wash away the winter. In fact, cleaning services and products advertise more during the spring, taking advantage of the fact that people have a natural urge to “get rid of the old and make way for the new.”

Smiling more

You are happier and may find yourself smiling and being nice for no reason.

Time for spring apparel

You are trading your winter clothes for a spring wardrobe.

Working on the beach body

For many people, the season means spring break, getting ready for sunny days at the beach and wearing swimsuits. It is a motivator to get out and exercise.

Making a spring bucket list

In anticipation of spring and before the snow has even melted, you may have a list of things to do all ready for spring.

New hobbies

With any excuse to get outside in the sunshine, you want to do everything you can in the fresh air. Even if you were never an avid reader or writer, you can pursue those hobbies on a bench out in the open.

Claustrophobia caused by being indoors

When you glance out the window, you see green grass and trees, a blue sky and plenty of sun—in other words, freedom. Going to work and school feels like torture.

Inability to focus on work

Months of being trapped inside the house and an office during the cold winter months has you yearning for fun. You may have trouble focusing on that project that is due or the weekly meeting at work.

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