“Spring Fever” is a term frequently used to define a person in a relationship, restless and itching to explore when the weather breaks. It’s a feeling of restlessness and excitement felt at the beginning of spring.
However, it’s not just those in intimate relationships that experience spring fever. As soon as the winter weather breaks, people also question their friendships. During the winter months, many of us either do soul-searching, spend a lot of time indoors with our husband/boyfriends or work countless hours, and during our time indoors many of us often develop new habits, correlate new beliefs, and grow so much spiritually that our friendships a season ago no longer serve us.
Intellectually speaking, spring fever is more than an emotion or a clever way to describe someone ready to break-up. There is the psychology behind this state of mind; it’s also the time of the year we make choices that can either end up being right or wrong decisions for us. It’s no surprise emotional discomfort and even despair increase during springtime. A little-known fact is that suicides are at a peak in April. Wow, that’s shocking, sad, but it’s also informative.
Awareness can help you and those you care about through the transition smoothly and happily into spring. In Psychology Today, John Sharp M.D. writes, “But the realities of spring fever, as we call it, are often much more complex. This is the time of year when internal biologic systems do indeed rev up, and we feel the results. Neurotransmitter levels, transmembrane protein receptor densities, hormonal balance, and basal metabolic rate all make their seasonal shifts. There’s an increase in energy that cannot and should not be ignored. That’s why I recommend you tune in early to what is coming up inside and try to take control.”
Experiencing spring fever in a friendship is relatively new to me, it’s also strange to say. You may drift from your friends. You don’t suit each other anymore. You don’t have anything in common, and you don’t have anything more than small talk over drinks. And sometimes priorities shift, and sometimes, things replace what used to be your time together. In my case, it’s all the above but it’s the change of the weather that has sprung up these odd emotions about a friendship I’ve had for years.
The other day after reading Dr. Sharp’s statement, I reached out to a friend I’ve been accustomed to telling my deep dark secrets to, but something was different this time. At first, I thought my friend was being rude, uninterested in my feelings and what I had to say. But the next day, I realized; I had grown, and possibly I was beginning to feel a sense of spring fever within this friendship.
Dr. Sharp adds, “the palpable energy of the season becomes a stressor that can become too much for some of us who have been struggling for too long to get by. In the case of those suffering from major depression, this can be just plain too much. The extra energy and increased expectations of the season can be the last straw, pushing us right to the edge, or in some cases, tragically, over the edge. Whereas unhappiness and misery increased during holiday times, psychiatric admissions peak in January and again in spring.”
Spring fever is not a joke and it needs to be taken seriously and honestly, whether spring’s restive energy brings you motivation, ennui, or deeper feelings of disappointment and despair. It’s important to acknowledge and understand the environmental and biological changes happening this time of year as you take stock of your own particular relationships.