For most of the year, living in a Colorado mountain town is paradise. Our winters dump plenty of fresh powder to the delight of skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and dog sledders alike. During the warm summer months, there is no shortage of adrenaline-fueled activities like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc. Unfortunately, the transition between seasons is not abrupt, nor is it pleasant.
This time of year is referred to as mud season in the mountains; appropriately named due to the melting snow and soggy earth. Locals find themselves temporarily grounded and the mountain towns look more like ghost towns as the tourism industry comes to a pause till summertime. All of these factors contribute to exacerbating the common phenomenon of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), aka Spring Fever.
SAD occurs when your body struggles during the transition from winter to summer. The winter season is characterized by shorter days and colder weather. In response your body temperature drops, blood pressure rises, and you feel more tired due to the hormone melatonin. As the weather becomes warmer and the days grow longer, exposing you to more natural sunlight, the opposite reactions occur in your body. Your body temperature goes up, blood pressure lowers, and there is an increase in the production of the hormone serotonin, causing you to ‘feel good.’ Hormonal imbalances can occur as your body adjusts, causing a variety of symptoms that can vary from one person to the next. According to the Huffington Post, Spring Fever symptoms make some people feel irritable and weary. Others may feel energized, restless, and impatient.
To ease the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder you need to balance your body’s equilibrium. Simple solutions include eating healthy, staying hydrated, exercising, and exposing your body to natural sunlight. Each of these cures for Spring Fever can be achieved with a camping trip. Snacking on fresh fruit and granola is an excellent source of fuel for an afternoon hike. After a little bit of exercise it is easier to fall asleep in your tent. Come morning, the sun’s warmth and shining rays act as nature’s alarm clock.
The calming effects of practicing meditation and yoga help to alleviate Spring Fever. By incorporating a short yoga session into your morning or evening routine each day, you’ll experience many health benefits, like improvements in measures of body pain, anxiety, and depression. Yoga Journal’s article, ’21 Health Benefits of Yoga,’ reports improved brain function and focus immediately following just 20 minutes of coordinating your body’s movement with breathing.
It is easy to be intimidated when it comes to gardening in the Rocky Mountains. The climate can be a challenge and our growing season is shorter than most. However, you do not need to have a green thumb in order to achieve the many health benefits associated with gardening. Just a few hours each week, catering to house plants or a small herb garden in your kitchen can work miracles. Some benefits of gardening include stress-relief and self-esteem, heart health is improved and the risk of stroke is reduced, improved hand strength and dexterity, enefits brain health, decreasing potential for Alzheimers – researchers have found gardening decreases the risk of dementia by 36%, improved immune system and it aids depression and mental health. If you are more ambitious and would like to enjoy homegrown, vegetables or drinking your morning tea surrounded by the ambiance of blooming flowers, CSU offers a Master Gardener course. The classes teach everything from gardening basics to techniques for coping with the challenges of our mountain environment.
An afternoon of ziplining is an instant fix for Spring Fever. The adrenaline rush is sure to improve your mood and overcoming any anxiety or fear of heights as you take the leap from the platform to flying across the sky is extremely self gratifying. Colorado Zipline offer zipline trips at two convenient locations, Idaho Springs and Granite, near Buena Vista. Colorado Zipline can even combine a half day of ziplining with a package to also include whitewater rafting or overnight trips. Our outpost in Granite has cabins that are perfect for an escape from your everyday life and sure to alleviate Spring Fever.