Fight the Winter Blues – Get Outside at Dahlem Nature Center!
Winter blues are easy to come by – those cold, dreary days that just don’t last long enough make it hard to be as active. However, according to the Mayo Clinic more than 3 million people suffer from more than just the “winter blues.” Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs when a person experiences symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, hopelessness, and social withdrawal, during fall and winter months. There are many risk factors associated with SAD, including: being female (SAD is diagnosed 4 times more often in females than in males); living in a region with seasonally shorter days and less sunlight; having a personal or family history of SAD, Depression, or Bipolar Disorder; and being a younger age (NIMH).
However, there’s a simple way to combat whatever version of the winter blues gets you – get outside! Yes, it’s cold, but there are so many health benefits to being out in nature, you just may find yourself saving money on therapy, prescriptions, and your grocery bill (raise your hand if you still eat ice cream in the winter, along with loads of other comfort foods that maybe you could do without…) Did you know that trees release chemicals in the air that can improve your immune system and increase the amount of serotonin and dopamine (the “Happy” neurotransmitters) released in the brain? Being out in nature for just 30 minutes 3x/week can also lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar, and help you feel less fatigued during the day and get better sleep at night.
The good news is Mother Nature doesn’t stop and neither do we! Come to Dahlem and head out to the Coniferous Forest, which always smells like Christmas trees; watch the chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and so many more winter birds; look for animals and their tracks in the mud and snow like deer, raccoons, and maybe even a coyote; find some amazing painted rocks left by local artists; bring snow shoes or cross country skis; just get outside! So bundle up in layers, put on the right shoes/boots, and head out to Dahlem, 7117 S. Jackson Rd. We are open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk, completely free. Take care of yourself this fall and winter and find joy in every season.
Written by Lyndsey Adams. She is the Development Coordinator at the Dahlem Nature Center and has a B.S. in Psychology and a M.S. in Biology. She is a Jackson native and loves enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two children.
Published on 11/20/19.