There's No Use Fighting Spring Fever
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If you look closely through your rose-coloured glasses, you may see the crocuses struggling to pop out from under their winter blankets of snow. And as the first signs of spring break out, so do our hormonal instincts.

What is it about spring that brings out the mating instinct in us?

Springtime has long been associated with love and romance and is often viewed as a time for new beginnings and fresh starts.

We dash outside, planning our gardens and firing up our barbeques, all the while still half-expecting a snowfall to ruin our fun in the sun. But not even an untimely snowfall can quash our need to interact with the opposite sex.

Sorry, I got sidetrack thinking about a guy I saw jogging today. He was wearing the nicest shorts and...

Oh yeah, the question -- what is it about spring that brings out the mating instinct in us? To that I add, do the lengthening days trigger a hormonal change in all of us?

Well, experts say spring fever is more than an expression based on myth. It is a very real condition experienced by most of us when the earth shifts and the days get longer and the sun stronger.

We become more active and more alert, and we feel an elevation of mood, accompanied by a sudden increase in the urge to mate and date.

It is said that the reason we experience these symptoms is directly related to the amount of sun to which we are exposed. Just as people suffer feelings of lethargy and mild depression when they don’t get enough sun -- a syndrome called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) -- so do we perk up when more sunlight hits us.

The sunlight affects the pineal gland in the brain. The pineal gland controls the manufacturing of melatonin. Melatonin is produced in higher quantities when we are exposed to less light.

Increased melatonin tends to make us sleep more, gain weight, move more slowly, and be more inclined to sleep than to make love. Given this, it is not surprising to hear that in animals, melatonin is the hibernation hormone.

But when spring comes, the pineal gland responds to the increased levels of sunshine, and all the bogged-down facets of our winter bodies are reversed.

Yada, yada, yada. Enough technical talk. The bottom line is spring is here. Suddenly, we have more of an appetite for all kinds of interesting and stimulating things. Everyone’s getting the one seasonal bug most do not mind being bitten by -- spring fever.

So now you have to ask yourself: Are you the hesitant ground hog or the eager crocus?

When a robin lands on your window ledge, will you turn a blind eye or whistle along?

As the ice melts, rivers rage. As the seasons change, hormones rage. Soon blooming flowers, budding trees and loving couples holding hands will prove that love is in the air.

Are you suffering from the terrifying symptoms of spring fever?

If you say yes to any or all of the following, you may be infected:
  • Have you sensed your body sloughing off its sluggishness?
  • Do you find yourself actually liking the idea of exercising?
  • Have you found yourself craving more social stimulation?
  • Do you long for romance?
  • Has your libido recently increased?

Single In The City’s prognosis and prescription for spring fever:

Resistance is futile.

Let the spring rains wash away your denial and hesitation. If love truly is in the air, I say take a deep breath and get out there, meet people, and have fun. Birds and bees have been doing it since the beginning of creation. Take a cue from them and embrace the spring in your step.

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed), e-mail Christine at:

First printed in the London Free Press on March 20, 2003.

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