Celebrating Spring Equinox: Reflecting on Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder
The flowers are beginning to bloom. The grass is lush after the rains. The sun is shining. Birds chirping. There’s more time to do the things you love. Everyone seems happy and relieved winter is over. They seem ready to get on with their lives, and get out into the world.
So why feel so bad?
Feeling a lower mood during springtime might be caused by reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is a dip in mood brought on by a change in season.
Transitions in general are tough.
For introverted, reflective, socially anxious, or chronically fatigued people who thrive on adequate alone time, spring carries a burden—the expectation to do more socially and productively.
I have historically struggled with reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is common in winter. It’s also known as the winter blues. I’ve found that I tend to experience “reverse SAD,” when allergies, circadian rhythm confusions, and days of longer light trigger changes in mood.
The days feel too long, inflammation caused by allergies is physically uncomfortable, and social pressure to feel good and go out more is threatening.
What I’ve found is that understanding reverse SAD and the common causes gives me perspective. I am more accepting of my moods.
Through awareness of the tendency to feel lower during the transition into spring, I intentionally take actions to manage them. Like by having allergy support available, exercising to raise my spirits, and letting myself rest and cocoon when needed.
I’ve noticed that having a ritual during equinoxes and solstices allows me to consciously slow down and call balance into my life.
I consciously tune into the natural energy instead of forcing myself through it.
What better time to do so than the equinox, a day of balanced light and dark?
I started following equinox and solstice rituals with journaling practices several years ago.
Instead of feeling at mercy of the shifting of seasons, it feels good to consciously acknowledge and celebrate the cyclical nature of life.
I find myself feeling grounded and more present.
These rituals and journaling prompts let me honor the past. I take a moment to look back at all that happened in the last season as well as the lessons I’ve learned.
Reflecting back is the fun part for me—I am quite an introspective person. Seeing how far I’ve come (often further than I initially believed) gives meaning. I get to reclaim my choices and personal power in what I want to do with the time ahead.
I think collectively we’re often conditioned to be onto the next thing.
In constant motion, striving towards our big dreams. Sometimes we need a moment of pause to reset so we can balance all parts of ourselves. From there, we move forward with renewed purpose and more ease and clarity.
We are constantly evolving and shifting, and it’s good to check in with whether our old goals and ways of being are still relevant.
Part of the process is releasing anything that is no longer serving us. Going from short days to longer days really does call forth changes from the inside out. How best can we use this time? How best can we care for ourselves through the inevitable transitions of life?
Reverse SAD is part of why the Spring Equinox journaling events I hold are so meaningful for me.
My version of celebrating new beginnings and fresh starts takes into account the past and present as well as dreams for the future.
Sometimes it takes a bit of support to relieve any feelings of ill-preparedness or overwhelm the shift in seasons can bring in.
I see a lot of writings and teachings on manifestation that are super positive. You’re supposed to feel good and happy all the time in order to have the life you want. Unfortunately, I think this tends to bring up pressure and make those who are going through difficult times or already feeling their bodies inflamed by seasonal changes feel worse, like something is wrong with them.
I prefer connective practices / rituals that develop a magical connection to something beyond the mundane, while also being rooted in the current state of the body.
Giving space to blossom and plant seeds for the future, while also feeling into what’s present here and now.
Let’s gather and attune with our bodies as well as the cosmic energy.
We’re all going through our own personal transitions as well as collective ones.
Whatever you’re feeling in relation to the initiation of spring, you’re not alone.
Whether you feel the beginnings of reverse SAD, crave reflection and pause, want to get clear on your goals and intentions for the future months, or simply wish to reconnect with yourself from a place of deeper self-love and self-acceptance, I invite you to my event on Thursday, March 23. We’ll celebrate and create our new beginnings together.
About the author
I help people reconnect to themselves and tell stories that make their soul sing.
I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different to write from the heart.
Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with self-expression — so you can feel good about the results.