Dark days and cold weather make many of us feel depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, affects about 5% of people every year. The short dark days of winter interfere with vitamin levels and circadian rhythms, leaving us feeling fatigued and sorrowful.
We assume that when spring starts our moods will improve, but this isn’t the case for many people. Even though flowers are blooming and days are getting longer, people continue to feel depressed. Here are some truths about spring depression and some tips for coping with it.
Spring Depression Can Feel Lonely
When everyone around you seems to be coming back to life after the dreariness of winter, it can cause a lot of distress. You might feel more alone, now that others seem to be feeling better and you’re not. During winter your experience was normalized, but now you feel isolated and strange.
The people around you might be doing better, but remember that many others are struggling just like you. This is one reason it’s so important to talk to our communities about our mental health challenges. If you’re able to open up about your struggles, you might find that others are dealing with the same things but were too afraid to say so. If you can’t find this support and validation locally, it can also help to find online support groups where you can share what you’re going through. You should also try to find a therapist who can help you.
Spring Sadness Isn’t Strange
Yes, SAD is considered a winter ailment, but it’s well-documented that spring mental health is a challenge for many. The National Institute for Mental Health has noted a spike in suicidal behavior in April and May. There are also lots of things happening in the spring that are triggers for depression. People get much busier and more stressed. After everyone’s hidden in the house for the last few months, they’re suddenly expected to go out to sporting events, community gatherings, and other outdoor commitments that are fun but also draining.
Change is also a depression trigger for a lot of people. Losing an hour for Daylight Savings Time throws everyone off for days, or even weeks. The days get longer in spring, but that’s still a change that takes some adjustment, and depression can appear when our biological rhythms feel out of whack. Do your best to get regular sleep during this transition, and try not to take on more than you can handle. Just because you’re invited to 5 barbecues and 10 baseball games, you don’t have to go. It’s okay to take time for yourself.
You Might Feel Judged
Many people associate spring with happiness. The weather’s pleasant, flowers are blooming, baby animals are frolicking. So when your mood isn’t matching the sunny outdoors it’s easy to feel out of place. Your friends and family might comment about your depression or tell you to cheer up. They may remind you how lovely things are and try to force you to feel better.
This isn’t good behavior on their part. Your feelings are your feelings, and you don’t owe anyone a particular emotion. If you’re struggling, it’s a good idea to get help, but you should do it for your own wellbeing. Spring depression isn’t abnormal or something you should be criticized for, and it’s okay to create boundaries around what people say to you on the subject.
It can be hard to cope when others seem to be crawling out of the winter blues and you’re stuck in a spring slump. Remember that this is a totally normal thing, and it’s important to find ways to take care of yourself. Getting more sunlight will often help, but you only have to do it in ways that feel right to you. And if you can’t seem to shake out of it alone, don’t be ashamed. If you’re having trouble feeling better, please reach out for help. Talk to your friends and family if they’re supportive, and connect with a professional if you need more help. A therapist can provide you guidance and validation to get you through this rough period. Our therapists at Marble Wellness will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and we will help you find ways to cope with your spring depression so you can start feeling better in your own time.
Additional Counseling Services at Marble Wellness
Counseling services designed to help set you on a path of living a more fulfilled, calm, and happy life. We specialize in anxiety, depression, grief, chronic illness, therapy for men, couples, and maternal overwhelm. We can also help new moms with various postpartum concerns, moms in the thick of parenting, and moms with teens. We can also chat from wherever you are in the state with online therapy in Missouri and online therapy in Illinois. No matter where you are in your journey, we would love to support you.