Hang On Sloopy, Summer Within Reach
Punxsutawney Phil certainly got it right this year. He saw his shadow on February 2, and as predicted, six-plus gloomy and record-breaking cold weeks of winter ensued.
Days Without Sunlight
Sunshine eluded us for days—even weeks—at a time in the Midwest where I live and elsewhere in landlocked areas of the United States. In Chicago from February through March, The National Weather Service clocked only 11 days of full sunshine. What the Hell?!
Panic in the Garden
And on top of that, record-breaking cold brought multiple bouts of frost and snow that stemmed Spring blooms and pushed landscaping schedules back like dominos falling. Gardeners are still in a tizzy.
Since ringing in the New Year, the water-cooler talk among my fellow exercisers at my health club has been a lot about the seemingly endless days without sun and warmth and how much it adversely affects our motivation and happiness. I often skipped workouts to stay in bed or stream hours of shows from my couch, while sulking in the grey.
Lack of sunshine results in sadness, depression and anxiety for many individuals, according to Healthline.
“Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD). This is a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons.“Healthline
And ironically, the anecdote is SUN!
Cleveland Clinic suggests getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight each day to boost serotonin levels.
Can you imagine the sight of us deprived of our biggest star for long periods, seeking out slivers of yellow rays like zombies emerging from caves?
During our sunshine apocalypse, the amount of diagnosis and treatments of depression by mental health practitioners continues increase, according to Forbes HEALTH.
Pyschotherapy Remedies During the Dark Days
According to Greta Nielsen, MA, LCPC and co-owner and Pyschotherapist at Illuminate Therapy & Wellness, “One of the best predictors for your ability to maintain your emotional, mental, and physical wellness during the winter months is to keep the routines and habits you have for the rest of the seasons. Exercise, healthy eating, sleep hygiene, staying connected and engaged in your relationships and roles; be it paid or volunteer work, and having a relaxation practice all contribute to one’s overall wellness.”
Mental Health Month
Fittingly, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has declared May 1-31 as Mental Health Awareness Month. Visit their website for resources, including a toolkit that sheds light on mental health issues and how to spread the word.
My friends, we’re in the final stretch of our lingering winter and abysmal Spring. With May here, we’re inching closer to the summer season and more daily sunlight!
Let the Sunshine In!