gleeful grandiva

creative living for big and little kids

HOW TO KEEP A HEART FULL OF SPRING

 

heart full of spring picture

 

The days are getting shorter, the temperature is cool

No more basking in the sun, or floating in the pool

My heart is feeling heavy, but I know a special art

A list of happy thoughts, to keep springtime in my heart

 

 

As my wonderful friends in the northern hemisphere celebrate the beauties of spring, we here in the Land of Oz are enjoying the treasures that autumn has to bring. Well, some of us are. And winter is just two days away.

I haven’t been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but sometimes feel certain I suffer from it as my mood plummets along with the temperature.

Is this you too? Do you know someone who gets sad when it’s cold? Read on, I will share the secrets to keeping your heart full of spring.

Even if you are enjoying the wonders of spring right now, these tips can help you when the seasons change.

 

heart full of spring picture

 

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in the seasons.

It can actually lead to suicidal thoughts if it is allowed to get out of hand, so be sure to get professional help if the depression associated with this disorder persists.

SAD most often affects people during the cooler months of autumn and winter but can, in some rare cases, be triggered by spring and summer.

In the case of the cooler seasons, it is thought the lack of light could be a trigger and light therapy is often used to ease the symptoms.

Reduced levels if sunlight can result in a drop of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for our happiness. It also affects levels of melatonin, which guide sleep patterns and moods.

Typical symptoms include low energy, depression, losing interest in things that normally excite you, weight and sleep changes, feeling agitated, difficulties in concentrating, hypersensitivity to rejection.

Sometimes the symptoms are treated with psychotherapy and medication and it is vital to seek professional help if these symptoms persist.

However, if you are just dealing with sadness because your favourite season has gone and you dread the discomfort of winter, there are some things you can do to lift your mood.

HOW TO KEEP A HEART FULL OF SPRING

heart full of spring picture

  • The most important thing is to ensure you get as much light as possible, so brave the cold air and spend time outdoors each day.
  • If you take a long walk, it won’t feel so cold and you’ll be ticking off the other really important depression buster – exercise. So much research shows that exercising just 35 minutes four or five times a week can have an enormous impact on your emotional well-being.
  • Diet is also really important and the temptation to grab sugar-laden foods to gain that instant energy lift is almost overwhelming. The problem is, the little energy spike doesn’t last very long and once it’s over you can end up feeling worse. Go for healthy options instead.
  • Research has shown the benefits on the emotional health of Omega 3, so consider incorporating more into your diet.
  • The light (or lack of) can be a serious issue so ensure you turn on lights, open curtains, light candles – anything you can think of to add light to your home.
  • Light therapy consists of spending 30 minutes a day sitting in front of a fluorescent light box so consider adding this to your daily routine.
  • Wear bright colours. We often tend to replace summer and spring time florals with black and brown in winter, adding to the dismal feel of the season.
  • Plan a special winter only project. I do this every year. I plan to make a scarf or blanket by knitting and crocheting. I have yet to finish even one scarf.
  • Plant some bulbs. They are a great investment in your springtime garden. Read my post, Daffodils – Planting Happiness for tips on planting bulbs.
  • Put some lovely colourful blankets around, add extra cushions – cosy up your home.
  • Treat yourself to flowers from the florist if your garden isn’t producing much colour.
  • During spring, take pictures of your beautiful flowers, turn them into a photograph collage as a happy memory trigger when you are feeling down.

heart full of spring pictue

  • Think happy thoughts – the lovely things of winter such as hot soup, hot chocolate, a roaring fire, extra cuddling (so much nicer when you’re not sweaty), the unlikelihood of bushfires, snakes in hibernation.

heart full of spring picture

  • Laugh – it burns calories, enhances immunity, improves sleep and memory and reduces stress. Your brain can detect a fake laugh, so it has to be real but laughter is totally contagious so go to SoundBible.com and listen to the funny laughs and before you know it, you’ll be joining in.

Did you find this article helpful? Why not share it?

Wishing you a heart full of spring and a gleeful week, Tamuria.

 

 

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26 Comments

  1. Although it’s spring here in the United States, we had nearly a full month of cool weather and rain every day in May with only a peek of the sun here and there. It’s the coldest spring I can remember, and it felt like fall/winter. The affect on my mood was noticeable. I totally relate to the internal struggles that accompany the winter seasonal changes and the lack of sun (and warmth). Melatonin supplements at bedtime and light therapy help me somewhat. I love your suggestions of surrounding yourself with happy photos, bright colors, flowers, and healthy food. Exercise is really important, but when the winter arrives, I’m ready to hibernate!

    • Yes! Hibernation. What a shame we don’t have that option. I’m going to investigate Melatonin supplements, Meghan.:)

  2. We are thankfully entering summer, now, but my husband gets blue during the shorter days. He used to work in an office, (although windowed, it did not get direct sunlight) where he would arrive practically in the dark and come home in the dark, and be so busy in between that sometimes he barely saw the daylight. He did get a special light, and exercised when he could. He now works from home, and has had no trouble this winter… He was able to exercise and get sunlight which really helped him.
    We do have a fire in our fireplace about every evening during the cold months, and we look forward to that!
    Kimberly recently posted…Change Your Space, Change Your LifeMy Profile

    • The beauty of a fireplace is always welcoming and cosy and helps lift my mood.It’s great your husband escaped the gloomy office for the comforts of home, Kimberly.Enjoy your summer. 🙂

  3. I know people with SAD and I empathize with them and try to help. You make a great point: they aren’t the only ones who feel sad as winter approaches. I do not like to see the days growing shorter every year.

    I love your suggestion to “take pictures of your beautiful flowers, turn them into a photograph collage as a happy memory trigger when you are feeling down.” That is something so easy to do but I’ve never thought of it before.

    By the way, one thing that always makes my happy is your cover photo. I can just imagine a grandmother and granddaughter painting matching fingernails.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…How to Create RapportMy Profile

    • Thank you, Beth. We had so much fun preparing and posing for the cover photo.I seem to be the one in charge of trimming and painting Goddess nails so the picture is very symbolic. The photograph collage does wonders to lift my mood in winter. The beautiful colours and pretty flowers help me remember spring will return. 🙂

  4. I too am from the land of Oz – as in the movie Wizard of Oz and Dorothy from Kansas. 🙂 What a insightful and refreshing post – thank you for sharing helpful information and inspiration on the joys of spring.
    Teresa Salhi recently posted…Past RelationshipMy Profile

    • Do you get very hot summers in Kansas Teresa? I love that, though we are oceans apart, we have a common ground in Oz (it’s always been one of my favourite movies).

  5. Sitting in Delhi where we are experiencing record breaking temperatures and the throes of one of the worst summers possible, I’ll take the cold weather any day, Tamuria.

    On a more serious note, your tips are valuable for getting through the winter season and especially when its all gloomy outside as I discovered when I lived in Copenhagen and had first hand experience of no sunshine for a week. That was when I also learned about SAD and its more serious implications on mental health.

    I make it a point to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables to keep my spirits up too.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Meditation Checklist – How to prevent your dark side from emergingMy Profile

    • Your summer sounds very harsh Vatsala. Many of my friends prefer winter and an escape from our hot days. They look at me with disbelief when I rave about the heat and humidity I enjoyed just recently in Bali.I was pouring with sweat – not pretty but my bones and my soul were happy.Hope your temperatures calm down soon.

  6. I love your blogs and graphics and look forward to reading them. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from SAD and like the change of seasons. It is what has us stay in NY and not move to Florida. But, my least favorite season is summer. Hubby turns on the air conditioner & I wear a fleece sweatshirt inside. Go out & in seconds I’m dripping.

    What I am sad about this year is that we had no spring. Winter took most of it away lasting way longer than it should and summer weather came early. So I will post your flowers as reminders of Spring, my favorite season.

    • Seems you were ripped off this year with spring Roz.My favourite season is spring but that’s partly because I know summer is next and I enjoy the anticipation. Many of my friends prefer winter though as our temperatures get pretty high, over 107 degrees by your scale. Despite that, we rarely feel the need to use air conditioning (Hubby is from Queensland which gets even hotter) as the heat doesn’t really bother us.

  7. Wonderful tips, Tamuria! All of these work so well. And I just learned something big–laughter burns calories! I knew it’s other benefits, but wow, is that an added benefit!
    Sending you everlasting springtime!
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…Do You Remember how to have a Meaningful Conversation?My Profile

    • Thank you, Susan for the everlasting springtime wish.Yes, laugh, laugh, laugh – it’s good on so many levels. 🙂

  8. I am definitely someone who experiences seasonal affective disorder, Tami. For me it is the lack of sun. I believe I could live in a sunny climate all year long! Wishful thinking. I do use a LightBox in the winter and like you mention, my doctor also suggests being outside at noon to get the optimal amount of light from the sun. I have colour around me all the time and do buy flowers too. Somehow, no matter what I do, I have a hard time finding my “inner sun” which I hear people talk about all the time. Without even thinking about it, I feel my mood sink as soon as there is no more sun and the grey skies set in. Thanks for all your tips and I am going to explore SoundBible.com, as that sounds like something to add to my repertoire of things that might help! Lovely post and may your winter be filled with light and joy! xo
    Beverley Golden recently posted…A Story is a Living BeingMy Profile

    • Finding the “inner sun” – loved how you phrased that, Beverley. All the tips and tricks are not always enough when the sky is grey and the cold seeps into your bones. Walking is definitely my best friend in winter as it’s about the only thing guaranteed to help. Not so much fun in the rain though.

  9. I suffered from SAD when I was young. Thankfully, I lived in southern California, which receives lots of sunshine. Mine was not induced by lower temperatures like you. The reduction in sunlight in winter really threw my biological clock out of whack and reduced my serotonin levels. People who live farther from the equator or have a family history of depression also experience the symptoms more frequently.

    No one can look at that sweet little girl’s face and not smile 😉
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…Words Have PowerMy Profile

    • I think a lack of light is the main cause for SAD Rachel. I don’t think I could cope living somewhere like Greenland, but it’s definitely the temperatures that get me down as I find myself depressed when the sun is shining brightly but it’s too cold to be outside and enjoy it.She’s a doll isn’t she? Definitely my sunshine – well, one of them. 🙂

  10. Tamuria – It’s Spring where I’m at – but many of your points can be applied to any month of the year, no? Just walking 1/2 hour 3-4 x’s /week can’t hurt our mood! Also, one advantage of the winter months is that I’m much more eager to turn on my oven and roast and bake veggies and even the occasional dessert, and turn on the fireplace. Also, I like layering clothes and wearing sweaters; actually, the heat of summer is my least favorite time of year. Anyway, your overall point about us having sway in our mood despite the climate is well taken – great post!
    joan potter recently posted…Happy Memorial DayMy Profile

    • So right Joan, in most cases we have the power to change our mood, regardless of the climate, and a little walk can only help to enhance it. I agree the fireplace and baking are some of the advantages of winter.

  11. Living in the American SouthWest we average at least 300 + days of sunshine. Right now our sunrise is around 5:30 am and in winter it starts closer to 7:00 am. I love the spring and summer, and I get up with the sun and seem to get so much more done. I also change bedding between cooler colors for the summer and warmer colors for the winter which helps psychologically. Love the many ways how you keep Spring present in your life.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Is social media ruining your brain?My Profile

    • Joyce, 300 + days of sunshine sounds wonderful. We’ve just had one of the wettest weekends on record, causing massive floods and damage to homes, especially houses near the ocean. However, we normally enjoy mostly sunny days, but when the air is icy it’s not much fun to be out in it.

  12. Such a wonderful post! I wonder if I suffered from SAD when I was growing up, or if it was just the cold weather that had me hightailing it out of Minnesota as soon as I graduated from high school. A friend who has been diagnosed with SAD (and lives in Seattle…oh my!) purchased a special lamp that she uses to get the light she needs to help her get through her depression. It works.

    • Seattle would be tough for those with SAD, Jackie – so much rain! I’ve heard the lamps are really helpful.I think the winter I whine about would seem quite mild compared to those in Minnesota. I used to tell the kids when they were little; “Don’t bother me right now, I’m in Tahiti” – clearly an island paradise is the only thing that will cure me. 🙂

  13. Hi Tamuria 🙂

    I personally do not suffer from SAD, but I can totally understand how our moods can change, especially in the winter months…..cold and dreary. I agree, that flowers always make it feel like spring all the time 🙂 I love flowers, especially lilies and lilacs. My spirit always becomes more positive once it gets warmer…..love the sunshine!

    Great uplifting post!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…How To Ensure Your Blog Posts Sell Here Are The Secrets To Great CopyMy Profile

    • I really love lilies too Joan and it’s wonderful how a little bunch of flowers can brighten a mood.Sunshine and warmth – a beautiful recipe!

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