April showers may bring May flowers and June roses, but maybe you are finding yourself in a seasonal slump as well. While seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most commonly associated with winter blues, other seasons are not immune from mood fluctuations.
Like the transition to a new medication, the transition between seasons can cause a deeper depression at first. Let yourself slowly transition to the new season. It is not uncommon for people to experience a period of depression in the spring or even at the beginning of summer.
Why does Seasonal Affective Disorder happen?
For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time for singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. – Song of Solomon 2:11-12, ESV
The invitations to BBQs and weddings pour in. The vacation plans are being made. Graduations, a smattering of holidays, and plans for outdoor adventures will fill any spring calendar to the margins. The overwhelming sense of being busy can contribute to depression-like symptoms.
For the introvert, it may be difficult to leave the reclusive comfort of winter to the social seasons of spring and summer. The cozy retreat of winter is a balm to many an introvert. A busy calendar may be an unwelcome by-product of spring.
New buds and blossoms are beautiful but also fill the air with pollen, making enjoyment of the new season difficult for those whose allergies kick in. Plus, the weather can be incredibly unpredictable in spring. Rain, wind, and spotty sunshine are normal, but when you have been waiting for the sun for months you might be frustrated by its game of hide-and-seek with the clouds.
A walk in the park may sound great until the wind kicks up the pollen or blows in a storm. The sun coming up earlier and staying out later may have an impact on your sleep habits, which can make anyone feel exhausted.
Perhaps you have been waiting for sunshine through the long winter only to find plans constantly canceled because of rain. All winter you can dream up the fun things you will do in the spring and summer, only to find that life has thrown a curveball at you. Unforeseen complications may force you to change plans, which can be discouraging. Disappointment can lead to seasonal affective disorder as well.
Exhaustion, allergies, and disappointment are part of life. Your mood can change as quickly as a spring day in spring. The seasons themselves don’t change quickly and you should not expect that you will be able to change as well.
Embracing the changing of seasons.
Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. – Zechariah 10:1, NIV
Compared to the slow, settled state of winter, spring is a season of change. Bare branches sprout buds one day and then suddenly there are flowers and leaves. In a week the grass can go from dead-looking brown to vibrant green.
You can’t forget the weather. Storm clouds run through the town, pouring rain and shining rainbows. Then the sun is out again. Learning to embrace the changes will help you cope with the onslaught of change that occurs in spring.
It could be a good time to make some changes in your habits to help you cope with the transition. Think about your winter habits, and see what might not work for spring.
- Did you always sit by a certain heater vent or fireplace all winter? Move your favorite chair to the sunniest spot in the house.
- Perhaps you drank coffee all day in the winter. Now might be a good time to brew some iced tea for the warm afternoons.
- After months of rich soups and stews, you might be ready to freshen up your diet with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Check when your local farmers market starts up and maybe look into CSA deliveries to try out some local fresh produce.
- Family game night all winter? Create an outdoor space for game night, like the back patio or the front porch.
- Speaking of creating outdoor spaces, investing in enjoying the outdoor spaces of your home can go a long way to helping your mood for the seasons to come.
- If the early sunlight is waking you up before your alarm clock you may want some light-blocking curtains. Or if you like getting up with the sun, you may need to move up bedtime to an earlier hour.
- Using a sleep mask can help if the light is affecting your sleep, any time of day.
- If you are increasing your activity in the spring, remember to plan for rest.
- Drink water. Staying hydrated will help every part of your body, including your mood.
Truths to remember.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth. – Hosea 6:3, ESV
God is still God, regardless of the seasons. He is in charge of it all and is not surprised by the changes. Give thanks to Him for the way He makes the seasons, and learn to delight in the goodness that He has made.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV
Let spring remind you of the work of change that God does in you through salvation. This work of sanctification is ongoing, just like the seasons, and God is doing that work, just like he is in the seasons.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8, NIV
No matter what changes are happening, no matter how the seasons change, no matter how your mood changes, Jesus doesn’t change. The sun will rise earlier each day. The buds will turn to blossoms. Even during change, there is consistency.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17, NIV
God made the sun, the moon, and the earth. All the heavenly lights are held in order by his hand. He will care for you and give you good gifts. Learn to trust that each season is full of good gifts from God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:6-8, NIV
Gratitude practices and meditation can be helpful when you are struggling with seasonal depression. Journaling could be a way to help you find the lovely and admirable things in the new season that you are in. Prayer is a way to talk to God about the things with which you are struggling. Be sure to reach out to loved ones and friends who may be able to help you through dark moments.
Finding help for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. – Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV
Seasonal depression can hit in just about any season. Learning to cope with the changes mentally, physically, and spiritually will help you through the dark and cold of winter, the warmth and moodiness of spring, the hot and busy days of summer, and the cooling of autumn. If you need help coping with seasonal affective disorder, a Christian counselor can guide you, no matter the season.
“Beach Ball”, Courtesy of Raphael Biscaldi, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wildflowers”, Courtesy of Nature Uninterrupted Photography, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Red and Pink Flowers”, Courtesy of Michael Podger, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Tree Tunnel”, Courtesy of Studio Dekorasyon, Unsplash.com, CC0 License