Monthly Archives: May 2018

Only Child on weather and your mood

It’s raining again and I’m feeling grumpy and even a little depressed. God help anyone who crosses me – that is if I have the energy to react. I feel like I have the world on my shoulders and will never get through all the stuff I have to do this day. And my longtime medical condition (a digestive disorder that has weird symptoms and side effects and is worse in the morning), seems even more acute and I feel like screaming.

Flip to the next day and I’m getting up in sunshine and raring to go. Even the digestive disorder can’t stop me.

Does weather affect your mood?

Most of us have heard about  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which some people get in the winter when the sun seems to do like the bears and hibernate. We not only have a lot of cloudy days but when the sun does make an appearance, it doesn’t stick around for long because of the short days.

No, I’m talking about in late spring and summer when we usually get  more sunny days and days are much longer. Depending on where you live, the sun could wake up around 5 a.m. and not go to bed until 9 p.m. That’s a long day – great when the sun shines, not so great when it rains. How many of you have noticed this 180 degree mood reaction with the weather changes?

You are not alone. It is not your imagination. And science backs you up. Many studies beyond the SAD ones, cover this. I’ll just touch on a few briefly.

This study published online  does a summary of weather and moods and references other studies. Although some studies show that hot humid summer weather with sunshine can have a negative affect on people because of the heat and humidity, for the most part sun brings on positive happy moods and rainy cloudy days negative sad moods. The part I’m quoting from this summarized study refers to serotonin and its affect on mood.

Positive and negative moods are also known to be influenced by atmospheric factors. Kämpfer and Mutz (2013) found an influence of sunshine on life satisfaction and argued that this effect is mediated by mood (defined as frequencies of experienced positive vs. negative emotions). They reasoned that sunshine activates positive emotions due to an increase of serotonin in the brain. (Richard E. Lewis and Nicole M. Lawless: “Does Life Seem Better on a Sunny Day? Examining the Association between Daily Weather Conditions and Life Satisfaction Judgments”, Journal of Personal and Social Psychology, May 2013).

What is this Serotonin. SEROTONIN is a powerful chemical and transmitter that affects many things that go on in your body including moods and low serotonin amounts cause depression. I first heard about serotonin in the early 1980s when I suffered from horrible migraines. Then I learned that a depletion in serotonin can cause migraines. Not long after that I learned that serotonin can help you sleep. At that time Serotonin was not available over the counter in Canada. It is now but I have also found out that you can’t just swallow some serotonin to get your nightly zzzz’s without considering the negatives of too much serotonin in your body. And not all of that comes from serotonin supplements as described here.

FOR MORE INFO  ON TRAVEL AND WEATHER MOOD read this 

I have another theory, a personal one, that might help explain part of why I turn dour when it rains. When I was a child my mother was fixated on me wearing rain gear when it rained. A simple umbrella would not do. I had to go the whole route, including rain boots – not the high rubber ones of today, which are popular because of all the floods worldwide, but these plastic flat-healled smokey coloured rain boots, more like shapeless overshoes which you wore over your shoes, closed them with a loop that clipped on a button. I hated them – old lady boots and I doubt any old lady around today wears them.

And yes, I do cart an umbrella and raincoat when raincoat is forecast in summer. But I stick to wearing shoes that are waterproofed.

Anyway if it is heavy rain I would rather stay inside. At least my bad mood will stay in.

Just don’t phone me or knock on my door when I’m writing.

I can still scream.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Serotonin, Weather, Weather and Moods

Only Child’s thoughts after the big hurricane May 4 in Southern Ontario

Calm few days after the storm

The day after the big wind storm – hurricane wind levels in Toronto – I was on my knees clearing out my garden. Not debris from the wind, but part of the annual clean-the-garden-in-the-spring ritual. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man walk by. Although I didn’t know him I said, “good afternoon.”

I’m glad I did. Turns out he was a friend of Marie one of the seniors across the street. Marie had some damage to her roof from the winds and “she was freaking out he said. Do you know of anyone who could help fix it?”

I sprang into action. For the life of me I could not recall the name of the company who put up my roof in fall 2009 but I did know some neighbours who would know somebody. I directed him to my next door neighbour who works in construction and another one across the street who just retired from working in construction. Next door wasn’t in but Larry across the street was. After the man clarified the name of the fellow across the street and went to bang on his door, I went into high help mode.

I had to find the name of the company that did my roof. I knew it began with “E” and wasn’t a person’s first and/or last name. Dived into a few files. Nothing. Finally found a few old (like a couple of years) small brochures of home repairs/improvements companies and voila – and my roofers were listed in one brochure. It didn’t appear that they did roof repairs but if Marie ended up needing a new roof, I could recommend them. So I copied over their number on one of those memo pads real estate agents drop off – you know the ones with your name printed on the top – their play to get more business, I suppose. And with the brochure and the memo sheet and my house keys, I locked the doors and ran across the street to Marie’s.

The friend’s truck was still in the driveway, the front inside door was open and an array of shoes were discarded in the front hall. I knocked and knocked but no answer, so ran around to the backyard. No one. Came back to the front and knocked again because I could hear voices. No one came, so I returned to the driveway and could voices from a window, so called  out “It’s Sharon from across the street.” The  man who had talked to me said he would meet me at the front door. I met him there, and Marie, and the man’s wife and their two kids and the wife’s sister and her husband. They were the family of Marie’s late boyfriend.

Marie told  me that Larry had been there and said he would call his sons and see if they could come the next day (The did. I saw them there). Marie also complained about the roof she had – newer than mine – she’s had the roofer back three times to fix shingles. That’s not a very professional job done. So I wrote down the name and info of my roofer with the caveat – the owner, who do the estimate don’t go on the roof and because of that they missed the correct number of layers of old shingles on my roof – and I got charged more. But the actual workers did an excellent job, including their foreman who found the third layer when he inspected it just before they began doing the work and told me – he should be doing estimates.

“Make sure they go on the roof to check,” I told Marie.

I also gave her the name and phone number of the handyman who does plumbing, painting, electrical and other repairs and Marie and I exchanged phone numbers. The latter we should have done within a year after I moved into my house. I’ve been here nearly 20 years.

My wake-up call. Especially after reading online yesterday and watching the 11 p.m. news and finding that 500 homes in pockets of Toronto still didn’t have their power restored. Didn’t Toronto Hydro learn anything from the big ice storm in December 2013. True, there were downed trees and power lines from Friday’s hurricane but no ice. More likely not enough people doing the work. Again, didn’t Toronto Hydro learn anything from the ice storm of December 2013?

With this in mind and the below story in mind, where governments of all level in the US and Canada, forget about seniors during various hurricanes, floods, and other disasters, I decided it is really up to us who can do so to help. This story was published in Zoomer magazine last month and I’m linking to the online story. The photo (scroll down a bit) of the seniors sitting in water up to their waists in a nursing home because the authorities forgot about them breaks my heart. It took the son-in-law of the nursing home owner to Tweet about it to get any action. Then the National Guard came to the rescue.

Ageism is still around, unfortunately.

Here’s the link.

http://www.everythingzoomer.com/health/2018/04/19/seniors-natural-disaster-relief/

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Help and Support, Helping Others, Hydro power outage, Only child, Power Outages, Seniors, Toronto Hydro