I couldn't help but laugh when I saw my youngest son's status on Facebook: "I want spring to come and stay for about a week with no snow at all." Other adults I know on Facebook are chanting, "I want spring, I want spring" and more are joining in.
This winter more than ever, there seems to be a "fever" goin' around and I am not talking flu bug. This fever may be brought on by the extreme fluctuations of really cold temperatures and the somewhat mild ones that seems to toy with us, taunting, "spring will be here soon." Then we are pounded again with yet another snow.
Don't get me wrong, I love the snow. I love the fresh blanket of white that greets me when I look out a window. I don't even mind driving in it. It's "lovely," as the dear late Sister Tereasa would have said. But I am beginning to feel like my son. I want spring, and not just for a day, I want it here, I want it now, and I want it to stay. I want to watch baseball, go for walks, take the kids to the river fishing and to Stuart Park for picnics. I know you probably feel the same way.
The dictionary definition of spring fever is: "A feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring."
Mark Twain's famous quote says: "It's spring fever. That's what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"
Spring often brings about a bad case of the sillies for children. And do you know while researching this article, I found where men are giving advice to other single men about taking advantage of spring fever to find a woman. No joke! I can't blame a guy for trying I guess.
Actually, however, there truly is a scientific explanation for this strange phenomenon called "spring fever." The wild swings in weather that often come with the onset of spring can represent a disruption of routine for kids or adults who are sensitive to change. Changes in climate can bring changes of air pressure that can have a person feeling out of sorts for no good reason, too. Long days of rain and the lack of outdoor activities that brings can make kids antsy, (adults too) and staring out a classroom window at a beautiful sunny day can make them restless. Try to keep routines as consistent as possible, and have a stash of fun rainy day activities at hand.
A few thoughts on combating spring fever:
n Plan a vacation somewhere warm. This is actually in the "if it were a perfect world" realm of things. If you are among the very blessed to have the funds, then go for it. I know some who do this, and the spring (no pun intended) in their step far exceeds the rest of us.
n Browse the seed/spring aisles at Wal-Mart. I did this because I was doing an activity at a nursing home. I bought and brought in seed packets of various varieties, and it brought us all great joy just talking about of planting a garden.
n Get out in the sun as soon as you see it shining. There are many scientific studies concerning the sun and our mood. And do not forget that this is where we get our vitamin D.
n Get a job or volunteer. My mom has been retired for years, but this winter she went and applied to substitute in the school system. I am so proud of her. She lives on top of a mountain in Nicholas County and basically lives in a snow drift in the winter. So, now, at 5 a.m. when the phone rings, she already has her clothes picked out and all her ducks in a row, so to speak, and she goes all over the county substituting.
The purpose in her life and the spring (again, no pun intended) in her step has returned. Also, she is making a difference and lovin' it.
n Have a picnic. No, Stuart Park may not work, but the living room floor with a blanket will. Have all summer time foods. And I know some of you who barbecue in the winter. Go for it.
n For this final stretch of winter, reinstate an old hobby to see you through. Scrapbooking, woodworking, wood burning, sewing, knitting and embroidering are just a few to see you through the next several weeks.
n Connect and/or reconnect with friends, both old and new. Facebook has now become the "happenin' place" for middle aged and senior adults. The kids have had it long enough, now we're taking over. Time magazine did an article and 60 percent of all new Facebook users are middle aged adults. Personally, I have reconnected with people that I have not seen since high school and college. Social connections are one of the best deterrents to depression, anxiety, and even disease. Study after study proves that people with strong social connections live longer and are happier along the way.
Take advantage of this last stretch of winter to enjoy a hobby, reconnect with people, and find out just how creative you can be at bringing some sunshine into your life and the lives of those around you.
Kimberly Short Wolfe, MA, is the grief counselor/bereavement coordinator for Mountain Hospice and is also a homeschool mom. You may e-mail her:firstname.lastname@example.org.