The picture on the left was taken today. It is sunny, warm (relatively speaking, by Wisconsin standards!), and uplifting. The picture below was taken in the middle of winter. It was also a beautiful day, but I am sure that I spent very little time outside on that day, which probably was around 10 degrees despite the sunshine.
Winters are L – O – N – G around here. Summers seem equally short. And although I am a believer that we are all responsible for creating our own “sunny days,” . . . wow, it sure is easier when it’s warmer. Even when the sun shines in the winter, without getting outside, we do not get the full benefit of its warmth or its vitamin-D.
A woman lingered after one of my talks this week to share a story about this with me. She suffered from fairly severe depression at some point in the past, and a cardiologist decided to run a comprehensive blood panel that included her vitamin-D status. The optimal value for a woman her age is above 30. She measured 7.
Vitamin-D has been linked to far more than just bone health. Cardiovascular health seems to be related to this value, as is . . . you guessed it – Mood! I’m sure it contributes to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in many people, since we now know that many people are deficient. This woman’s story ended happily. After vitamin-D supplementation, her mood improved dramatically.
Granted, this is an extreme example of how influential weather can be on mood. Still, even though my vitamin-D status is normal according to a recent test, I find it so much easier to feel “up” when I am warm and my shoulders are not hunched up to my ears to defend against the wind. I find that people often have better results with weight loss and health goals during the warmer months. I think it is just easier to stay positive and upbeat, which always translates into better eating.
I walked into the grocery store early this week (one of our first beautiful sunny days of the year), and the change in mood at the checkout counter was remarkable. A clerk who normally says very little was smiling and chattering cheerfully. I left with my groceries, and a customer stopped to help me grab a bag from my cart, and then returned the cart for me! Coincidence? I think not.