Spring Fever: Why Germans Don’t Feel Frisky!

After a long cold winter where the nights are long and the days are short, spring is not only welcomed in Canada, it’s celebrated with open arms! Cue singing birds, lavender crocuses emerging from the earth, a spring in your step (pun intended) and people wearing shorts in +10C weather – yep, us Canadians are a hearty bunch!

There’s even a name for it – spring fever!

And according to Wikipedia …is a term applied to several sets of physical and psychological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. In general it refers to an increase in energy, vitality and particularly sexual appetite.

Sexual health expert, Jennifer Bermand MD, even provides an explanation for it in SELF, an American magazine, As the weather gets warmer, we shed layers of clothes, we work out more, we’re more conscious of our bodies and we’re out in the sun and in the heat. That all increases blood flow to our brains, our bodies and our genitals, and it elevates our moods and endorphins, so there really is a reason behind spring fever. 

But it turns out the opposite can also be true for people. Wikipedia goes on to say, … an unexpected loss of energy with the onset of spring. What?  Warmer weather, a spring in your step (pun intended), blooming flowers, less clothing…what’s they’re not to be happy about?
Tulips inspire spring fever in me.
What sounded crazy to me, has a specific name in German –Frühjahrsmüdigkeit, which translates to Spring tiredness in English. I first heard of it from my German husband.  He was being lazy and sleeping until 11:00 one Saturday morning.  I urged him to wake up and stop being so lazy.  He yawned and said he couldn’t help it, he had a case of Frühjahrsmüdigkeit.  I thought he was just looking for an excuse not to get out of bed!  Then I heard it mentioned on two different radio stations.  Turns out that Spring tiredness really is a thing!  According to the German Wikipedia page, translated, spring tiredness, is characterized by a state of low energy and weariness experienced by many people in springtime. It is not in the category of a diagnosed illness, but rather a phenomenon thought to be initiated by a change in the season.

Spring tiredness is thought to be caused by a hormonal imbalance between serotonin, which makes you feel happy and melatonin which makes you feel sleepy. As the body adjusts it’s hormone levels that accompany the changing weather, it puts strain on the body and may cause tiredness. 

It turns out it’s not only limited to people.  One of my cats has been sleeping more than normal.  My husband was quick to point out that he too was afflicted with spring tiredness – even though it was our Canadian cat, not our German cat!  Needles to say, I’m perplexed.  Canadians have spring fever, not spring tiredness!
spring fever cherry blossoms

On a recent trip to Bucharest I asked a few other travel bloggers if they experienced spring fever or spring tiredness.  It turns out that Germans are not alone in experiencing spring tiredness. Slovakian’s also experience spring tiredness. According to Alex from Crazy Sexy Fun TravelerMost people in Slovakia get really tired with the beginning of spring, its very illogical as animals and nature wake up after winter. Back home we say that the best remedy is to take a rest whenever you feel like it.

The same is true in Poland, according to Marysia from My Travel Affairs, In Poland we don’t experience spring fever, we have so called ‘spring crisis or solstice’. It is quiet common and the only thing you can do about it is to sleep more, eat healthy and take opportunity of every hour of light there is in the day. I myself drink a lot of homemade fruit cocktails and hot tea with ginger, honey and lemon in the evening for a good sleep.

In the Netherlands things get really interesting.  According to Stefania from Stefania Blogt it’s spring fever.” Rokjesdag” is Dutch for the first day of spring when the women and girls are suddenly wearing a skirt with bare legs underneath. Martin Bril, one of my favourite columnists in the Netherlands (†), made the definition “rokjesdag” popular. It is a happy day when spring finally starts after a long, grey and mostly wet winter in our country. But according to Sabine, from Your Ambassadrice, also from the Netherlands, spring tiredness is a recent trend.  Interestingly, Stefania hadn’t heard of spring tiredness in the Netherlands before!

If you are one of the people afflicted with spring tiredness, see the remedies suggested by  Alex and Marysia  above.  I personally don’t have any, since I’m a spring fever kinda gal, but it would make sense that spending as much time in sunlight and doing light exercise would have a positive impact. Or if all else fails wait it out.  Spring tiredness generally just lasts from the middle of March to the middle of April!

What I find fascinating is that spring can have such opposing effects, depending on the person and the nation!

I’d love to hear whether you experience spring fever or spring tiredness!  I’m curious to see the impact spring has on people in different countries!

See more places to visit in Germany.

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Laurel
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her hiking in the mountains on most weekends.

Comments

Tigress
April 9, 2015
Northeastern USA, never felt this tired for no reason before! Happy to read your article. Just got a big snowstorm last night, and have many cords of newly delivered wood to stack. Hoping that stacking will help. Otherwise, will wait it out with lots of tea, coffee, vitamins, and naps! I'm utterly exhausted!!!
April 10, 2015
Still find it funny that it's two extremes in dfferent countries while the weather and the effect should be the same :)
Agata
April 10, 2015
I confirm the Polish sickness 'spring crisis or solstice'. I feel so tired recently I need to take a nap during the day. And it's always been this way since I remember. I think that at school we were told it is because of the scarcity of food in ancient times. Although the weather is wonderful in spring, there are no fresh vegetable until late May. So spring was very difficult time for poor people. Especially if you think about 100 or 200 years ago. And even if today we can eat fresh food in spring, we're still sleepy. Maybe by an old habit?
Sophie @ Sophie's World
April 14, 2015
Only spring fever in Norway - it's called being våryr: vår = spring and yr=excited, wild" - inhibitions are dropped along with the winter clothes.
April 15, 2015
Haha, actually feel very tired at the moment. But that could also be because of too much travelling and not enough sleep.
April 16, 2015
Its definitely all about Spring Fever in the UK and its happening now! People getting all excited about being able to spend more time outside again and all the gardens / hedgerows springing into life. Beautiful time of year, I love it.
April 22, 2015
haha, I was also confused about this and wrote a blog post; http://dublinerindeutschland.blogspot.de/2014/04/spring-fever.html I also think German's just need an excuse to complain about feeling tired! Now the weather is getting nicer I do feel like I'm starting to get a little more energy which is nice
February 11, 2016
- the top portion alosmt looks like a painting on the wall. in fact i thought it was until i saw the bottom. i personally like the 2nd shot better. but that's just me. also do tulips out there sag like that? i thought they do that before they're about to die? February 18, 2011 7:16 pm
Kara
March 16, 2016
I'm like that now! I live in Arkansas. Every spring I get lazy and tired feeling! I love the weathe but can't get a " get up and go" type mood. Just wanna lay around. No fun!!!!
Jayne Doh
March 31, 2018
This is much more than a minor inconvenience for me. I suffer from chronic tiredness of unknown origin, and it always becomes unmanageable in the Spring. I sleep 10-12 hours & still need a nap, bringing my daily sleep time to around 14+ hours. Happens every year from mid-February through early June like clockwork. Wish there was something I could do to offset it because it makes me so depressed!

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