Will You Become Nostalgic for Weather?

Will You Become Nostalgic for Weather?

Living in Southern California provides many positives: a major one, weather. The Golden State truly provides days and days of sunshine which can lift the spirits and certainly makes nature-deficit disorder a rarity. (Coined by Richard Louv, nature-deficit disorder refers to people of all ages who are disconnected from nature, spending inordinate amounts of time indoors.) But in most climates, we are lured outdoors to walk or participate in sports. Even in cold climates nature provides ice skating and skiing, snowshoeing and sledding.

SEASONAL AFFECT DISORDER or SAD

Variety is the spice of life and that is also true for weather. People begin to feel depressed if the sun doesn’t shine for days at a time. I’ve written about that too–in a post about Seasonal Affect Disorder. Those of you living in temperate climates are familiar with this condition: SAD is diagnosed when a patient experiences depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years during the same season; and it generally applies to people dealing with long winters where sunlight is rare and the body begins to suffer–not only from outdoor activities being curbed but also from the physical affect that light has on the body. Because there is a definite relationship between light sources to the body and the production of serotonin which affects our moods.

FOUR SEASONS ARE THE BEST!

But though sunlight can lift the spirits, a person’s memory bank of weather also plays a part–we love rainy days and snow days and autumn days. A temperate climate allows for FOUR SEASONS that have definite borders. When autumn approaches, leaves change color and drop from the trees, grass begins to form deep roots instead of height, the air gets cooler and the days shorter. Fall requires different clothing and there is nothing better than a brisk walk in brisk fall air. It has its own perfume, its own way of touching the skin.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DOES NOT HAVE FOUR SEASONS. IS THAT GOOD?

In Southern California the shift into fall is often imperceptible. Yes, the days get shorter, some of the trees drop their leaves, but much of the vegetation keeps on flowering so that there is not a definitive change. I miss that. Then suddenly it is Christmas and folks, like those in the midwest where I lived most of my life, are driving cars with an evergreen tied to the top. But it takes some adjusting to drape Italian lights in foliage that is still bursting with greenery. Winter here is our rainy season. The nights do get colder and the rose bushes and hydrangeas get cut back. But there’s no snow. You can travel to northern parts of California to ski, but last year our snow depth in the mountains was very low. This year it is greatly improved.

WOW, SPRING IS COMING AND I ENVY YOU IN TEMPERATE CLIMATES!

Here’s my point: many of you are about to or just now experiencing the beginning of spring. I envy you. The air begins to warm and you shed your jacket by 11:00 am. The trees begin to flower–redbuds, forsythia, then magnolia and fruit trees. Tulips and daffodils push up from the earth and the days get longer. You find yourself pulled from your home where people’s voices once again blend with birdsong and the buzz of tires on the street. It’s truly a rebirth and often produces a smile from a stranger. Because we all feel it–new life, green grass, bluer skies.

WOULD YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR FOUR SEASONS???

Nostalgia for weather accentuates how grateful I am for nature and all that it provides us. So when spring begins and like a wave of blessing speeds across our country warming the winds and pulling people outside–consider: we need to protect the seasons, make sure that we don’t lose them, honor all the memories we have of spring, summer, winter and fall.

PLEASE FIGHT FOR THE EPA! FIGHT FOR YOUR SEASONS

So forgive me for this final thought, but if the Evironmental Protection Agency is defunded the way the current government is talking about–the entire country might eventually have the desert-like climate that is Southern California. No more leaf-peepers in New England; no more skiing in Colorado; no more ice-fishing in Minnesota. This is no joke. We must fight for the four season. Fight for clean air. AND ESPECIALLY, fight for clean water. No human being can survive without water–lots of it. To learn more go here. (Five Reasons to Like the Environmental Protection Agency)

I love talking about the seasons and how in some climates they are SO different. Which season is your favorite? Whichever you choose, I hope you don’t lose it. Help protect our earth. Help save our seasons or you might become nostalgic for weather you will never see again. Help fight for the EPA.

Photo source: Pinterest

Will You Become Nostalgic for Weather?

Will You Become Nostalgic for Weather?

Living in Southern California provides many positives: a major one, weather. The Golden State truly provides days and days of sunshine which can lift the spirits and certainly makes nature-deficit disorder a rarity. (Coined by Richard Louv, nature-deficit disorder refers to people of all ages who are disconnected from nature, spending inordinate amounts of time indoors.) But in most climates, we are lured outdoors to walk or participate in sports. Even in cold climates nature provides ice skating and skiing, snowshoeing and sledding.

SEASONAL AFFECT DISORDER or SAD

Variety is the spice of life and that is also true for weather. People begin to feel depressed if the sun doesn’t shine for days at a time. I’ve written about that too–in a post about Seasonal Affect Disorder. Those of you living in temperate climates are familiar with this condition: SAD is diagnosed when a patient experiences depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years during the same season; and it generally applies to people dealing with long winters where sunlight is rare and the body begins to suffer–not only from outdoor activities being curbed but also from the physical affect that light has on the body. Because there is a definite relationship between light sources to the body and the production of serotonin which affects our moods.

FOUR SEASONS ARE THE BEST!

But though sunlight can lift the spirits, a person’s memory bank of weather also plays a part–we love rainy days and snow days and autumn days. A temperate climate allows for FOUR SEASONS that have definite borders. When autumn approaches, leaves change color and drop from the trees, grass begins to form deep roots instead of height, the air gets cooler and the days shorter. Fall requires different clothing and there is nothing better than a brisk walk in brisk fall air. It has its own perfume, its own way of touching the skin.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DOES NOT HAVE FOUR SEASONS. IS THAT GOOD?

In Southern California the shift into fall is often imperceptible. Yes, the days get shorter, some of the trees drop their leaves, but much of the vegetation keeps on flowering so that there is not a definitive change. I miss that. Then suddenly it is Christmas and folks, like those in the midwest where I lived most of my life, are driving cars with an evergreen tied to the top. But it takes some adjusting to drape Italian lights in foliage that is still bursting with greenery. Winter here is our rainy season. The nights do get colder and the rose bushes and hydrangeas get cut back. But there’s no snow. You can travel to northern parts of California to ski, but last year our snow depth in the mountains was very low. This year it is greatly improved.

WOW, SPRING IS COMING AND I ENVY YOU IN TEMPERATE CLIMATES!

Here’s my point: many of you are about to or just now experiencing the beginning of spring. I envy you. The air begins to warm and you shed your jacket by 11:00 am. The trees begin to flower–redbuds, forsythia, then magnolia and fruit trees. Tulips and daffodils push up from the earth and the days get longer. You find yourself pulled from your home where people’s voices once again blend with birdsong and the buzz of tires on the street. It’s truly a rebirth and often produces a smile from a stranger. Because we all feel it–new life, green grass, bluer skies.

WOULD YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR FOUR SEASONS???

Nostalgia for weather accentuates how grateful I am for nature and all that it provides us. So when spring begins and like a wave of blessing speeds across our country warming the winds and pulling people outside–consider: we need to protect the seasons, make sure that we don’t lose them, honor all the memories we have of spring, summer, winter and fall.

PLEASE FIGHT FOR THE EPA! FIGHT FOR YOUR SEASONS

So forgive me for this final thought, but if the Evironmental Protection Agency is defunded the way the current government is talking about–the entire country might eventually have the desert-like climate that is Southern California. No more leaf-peepers in New England; no more skiing in Colorado; no more ice-fishing in Minnesota. This is no joke. We must fight for the four season. Fight for clean air. AND ESPECIALLY, fight for clean water. No human being can survive without water–lots of it. To learn more go here. (Five Reasons to Like the Environmental Protection Agency)

I love talking about the seasons and how in some climates they are SO different. Which season is your favorite? Whichever you choose, I hope you don’t lose it. Help protect our earth. Help save our seasons or you might become nostalgic for weather you will never see again. Help fight for the EPA.

 Photo source: Pinterest

Fight Winter SAD: Facts To Beat Winter Blues

Fight Winter SAD: Facts to Beat Winter Blues

There are ways to enjoy winter and fight SAD symptoms.

Do you have the winter blues, lack energy, need more sleep, feel depressed?  SAD, seasonal affect disorder, affects 5% of Americans and develops from late fall through the beginning of springSymptoms include: depression, anxiety, increased sleep, cravings for carbohydrates, weight gain and lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.

SAD is diagnosed

  1. when a patient experiences depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years during the same season;
  2. when the depression ends simultaneously with the end of the season;
  3. when no other explanation exists to clarify the change in behavior or mood during that season.

The exact causes of SAD are unknown, but the condition is considered a subtype of depression or bipolar disorder and can be reimbursed by insurance companies.  It is not something to ignore.  Theories explaining SAD include:

  • circadian rhythm, your biological clock—low levels of sunlight during fall and winter months could alter your biological clock which controls sleep and wake cycles.  With the clock off kilter, you feel irritated, depressed.
  • melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain during the hours of darkness, helps regulate sleep, body temperature and release of other hormones.  People with SAD are producing too much melatonin, related to the increase of darkness in the winter months.
  • serotonin, another brain chemical or neurotransmitter, greatly affects mood.  Low levels of serotonin might also be related to limited hours of sunlight.

Therapist, Jane Rider, ACS LIS, states that lack of sunlight is the major contributor to the condition.  “When you have sunlight flooding your windows or your body, even if it is bitterly cold outside, it gives you positive emotional feelings.  It’s a seasonal and cyclical problem.”

Rider emphasizes that SAD is treatable and should be addressed before more serious health issues, like substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, can develop.

People more at risk for SAD include:

  • women  (note: when men have SAD their symptoms are often more severe)
  • people living far from the equator, either north or south
  • people with a familial history of other types of depression
  • people who have a clinical history of depression or bipolar disorder

Prevention is key to dealing with SAD.

  1. Travel to a sunny climate sometime during the winter season if at all possible.

  2. Get out and be with other people—it helps power through low moments.

  3. Exercise—it’s critical, increasing endorphins that lift mood.

  4. Read gardening books, take care of indoor plants or purchase flowers to increase positive thinking.

  5. Use candlelight or fireplace fires to bring a different kind of light into your life.

  6. When relaxing, drink green tea and push away toxic thoughts.  Hitting the couch for long periods of time with unhealthy food like chips will worsen your condition and may prolong it.

  7. Open shades daily; trim bushes and trees at windows; sit near bright windows whenever possible.

  8. Walk or sit outside even when it’s cloudy as outdoor light helps—especially if it’s morning light that you get within 2 hours of waking.

  9. Try mind-body therapies: acupuncture, yoga, meditation, massage therapy.

  10. Manage your stress by getting out and doing things to help others.

  11. Eat healthy meals at regular times and don’t use alcohol to blunt sensation.

  12. Follow your doctor’s orders if you are prescribed antidepressants, light therapy (see below) or psychotherapy.

These suggestions won’t absolutely prevent the disorder, but they will help you ease the symptoms.  It’s best to begin treatment for your symptoms before they would normally start and continue treatment past the time they would normally end.  Getting control of your symptoms before they get control of you might just put a smile on your face and a lift in your step so you can banish those winter blues.

Though light therapy is the first line treatment for SAD and you can get a phototherapy light without a prescription: talk to you doctor first!  For 30 minutes of therapy, the light should be 10,000 lux, (lux being the measurement of light intensity).  A 5,000 lux light would require 60 minutes of therapy.  Sitting in a range of 12-18 inches from the light source, eyes have to be open so light reaches the retina in the back of the eye.  Side effects include headaches and eyestrain, and if therapy is done too late in the day, insomnia can occur.  You’ll fight the winter blues and SAD by educating yourself and, if necessary, seeing your doctor.