Rita Watson MPH

With Love and Gratitude

15 Ways to Share Love in the Springtime

The end of the winter blues often signals spring fever, but is it real?

Posted Apr 09, 2015

Robert Indiana, Yale Digital Commons
Source: Robert Indiana, Yale Digital Commons

Perhaps Emily Dickinson was thinking of spring fever when she wrote these words:

       A little Madness in the Spring                    Is wholesome even for the King

Colleges are hosting spring fever socials. Students are taking vacations to let loose on the islands with sexual energy unleashed. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is offering a free art-making activities for children “when spring fever” strikes during school vacation. The end of the winter blues often signals a time of high energy that has been dubbed spring fever. But is spring fever merely a myth?

Although it was the title of a short piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, April 4, 1929, in “The Doctor’s Saddle Bag,” what we know about this phenomenon is primarily anecdotal and conjecture. However, for those who have been suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the spring can be an inspiring re-awaking. The National Institute of Mental Health describes SAD as characterized by the onset of a depressive illness during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight.

Dr. Jon Abramowitz, professor and associate chair of psychology at the University of North Carolina, was interviewed about spring fever for their Medical News in April 2010:  

“It's not an official medical condition,” he said. “When the weather turns warm, people are definitely tired of being cooped up, and they get excited about the warm weather and getting to do stuff outside.

“That excitement may trigger the brain to secrete endorphins, pain-relieving chemicals that suffuse a person with feelings of well-being. Endorphins chemically resemble morphine, the narcotic derived from poppies.” (1)

15 Ways to Celebrate Spring Fever

Whether it is real or simply a happy time that enlivens us, here are some ways to take advantage of spring fever with someone special in your life.

1. Sit quietly outdoors and listen to the sound of the breeze as you say nothing and just look into each other’s eyes and smile.

2. Plant an outdoor garden or build an indoor terrarium.  Getting your hands in the dirt may even have therapeutic value.

3. On a rainy day go out doors for a walk together and jump in the puddles to stimulate the love hormone, oxytocin, which is not limited to sex and cuddling.

4. Chase a rainbow and stay with it until it dissipates. But while it is there, drink in its beauty and create a memory.

5. Take a long walk on a special path. New York City has the High Line, which was an old elevated freight rail line in the Meat-Packing District until visionaries transformed it into a park.

6. Find a secluded spot in a field with total privacy and hug and kiss as if you were teenagers again.

7. Plan a trip sitting outdoors—on a park bench, on your steps, on the new grass.  Bring brochures with you for the possible and the fanciful.

8.  Put your smart phones in a drawer and go to an outdoor café and just talk and listen to each other’s thoughts and dreams.

9.  Visit a park and ride the swings or a merry-go-round.  

10.Take a trip to the seashore or a lake and toss pebbles into the water.

11. Find an open field and fly kites together.

12. Walk in a public garden or a bird sanctuary and listen to the chirping and warbles.

13. Play Frisbee and laugh away the afternoon. 

14. Plan a picnic of strawberries, cheese, and champagne.  Or pack hearty bite-sized sandwiches with a bottle of wine or soda water.  Just make it out of the ordinary and simple.  And if on the day of your picnic, it is pouring rain—lay a tablecloth on your living room floor, add a small bouquet of flowers, and celebrate the season.

15.  Spread a blanket on the grass or beach sand, lay down, and watch the clouds go by. Call out the shapes of the puffing white animals in the sky.

Spring Fever and Lifelong love

Writing for Scientific American, Christie Nicholson said, “The evidence for spring fever remains largely anecdotal. But, just as SAD has proved sadly real, spring fever edges away from science fiction, even if it is not quite science fact.” (2)

The secrets to lifelong love are really quite simple. Love is more than a feeling, it is a decision. Lifelong love asks that we maintain positive illusions about our partner, be forgiving, re-ignite oxytocin, laugh often, and create memories. It’s a new season. Buds will appear on the trees. Flowers will bloom. And couples who share memories and plan events together oftentimes find that they are generating new bonds between themselves. Will you have a shared memory for the spring of 2015?

References

1. Spring fever blossoms in warm weather – but is it a real ailment?, Sara Peach, University of North Carolina Medical Center Healthcare, April 22, 2010 

2. Fact or Fiction?: "Spring Fever" Is a Real Phenomenon. Christie Nicholson, Scientific American, March 22, 2007 

NB: Emily Dickinson’s poem can be found in Treasury of Year-Round Poems. Edited by Patricia S. Klein, Random House, 2006.

Copyright 2015 Rita Watson