Jackie has told me stories of her visits to Kovalam Beach from when she was living in Trivandrum! She was puzzled by your map, though, which seems to show something on the right coast. Isn’t Kovalam on the left coast?
It is my considered opinion that no article on medical marijuana, CBD, or THC should use the phrase “There is little scientific evidence” without adding “because for decades the federal government prohibited the research that would have produced such evidence.”
Ragweed season started back on August 9th, and now seems finally to be over. Yesterday, for the first time in maybe three weeks, I didn’t need to use nasal steroids. (Same nasal steroids I used to use almost all the time, until I went low-carb.)
At Destihl for lunch because @jackieLbrewer has a class right after. I’m drinking the Imperial Release the Dark Within, a very nice, adequately bitter, porter. Jackie has the Deadhead Funkengruven. Also had a taste of the Antiquity, a rye wine.
This is a test to see if emojis show up in post titles and post content. (Emoji functionality seems quite flaky in comments.)
Some emojis: 🌸💃🧚♀️🧜♀️🌸
(Interesting. They’re there, at least in the preview, but they’re from a different character set than what I see when I paste an emoji from elsewhere. Here’s two I’m typing: 🦔❤️. Yeah: Again not what I see when I pick an emoji via the native special character typing on the Mac; the native Mac hedgehog is facing left rather than forward, and the heart has some fancy tonal shading.)
For my first Micro Monday I’d like to echo @jack recommending @hollyhoneychurch, and recommend my brother @limako (even though he weirdly uses some Drupal thing to grab his twitter feed, turn it into blog posts, and then share that to micro.blog).
I am a little too prone to use black humor to distance myself from the depressing effects of the long, cold darkness of winter, which sometimes leaves people worrying about me unnecessarily. So I thought I’d mention that despite a bit of anxiety over the inevitable turn of the seasons, my mood is currently pretty great.
Beyond just feeling good right now, I’m hopeful. Over the past decade I’ve been handling winters better and better.
The biggest factor, I think, is that I no longer have a job to lose, so I no longer get into the spiral where seasonal depression makes me less productive, making me anxious about losing my job, making me more depressed, making me even less productivity. Sadly, advising others to take advantage of this strategy is not very useful (although I do and will continue to support and advocate for either a citizen wage or a guaranteed job).
Putting early retirement aside as impractical for most people, I thought I’d briefly summarize my other current practices—mostly ordinary coping strategies—both as a reference for myself any time I start to feel my brain chemicals coming on, and perhaps as a resource for other people. Here’s what’s working for me:
Spending time in nature. I do that all summer, and it may be part of the reason that my mood is generally great in the summer. But I can do it in the winter too. (I don’t seem to have a post on this topic. I’ll be sure to write one this winter. In the meantime you can find various mentions by clicking on the vitamin N tag over on the sidebar.)
Light therapy. I’ve used my HappyLight™ for years, and it does seem to help. Getting outdoors anytime in the first couple of hours after dawn is probably even better—another thing I find easy to do in the summer that would probably help just as much in the winter.
Taking Vitamin D through the winter. The evidence for any benefit is scant, but even if it only helps through the placebo effect, it is at least a safe, cheap placebo. (There’s good evidence that people with high levels of vitamin D are healthier, but very little evidence that supplementing vitamin D makes people healthier. It could easily be purely associational—maybe more time spent outdoors both boosts vitamin D levels and makes people healthier and happier.)
Anything that boosts neurogenesis. That’s most of the things listed above, but lots of other things too, such as engaging in creative work. Also on the list are calorie restriction and adequate consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.
I have a few new possibilities up my sleeve:
There’s recent evidence that sauna bathing is dramatically effective at treating depression, probably through many mechanisms including the activation of heat-shock proteins. (One thing on my to-do list is finding a local fitness center or spa with a sauna and investigating the cost of a three or four month membership.)
Related to heat exposure is cold exposure, which activates many of the same protective proteins that heat exposure does. Cold exposure, of course, is trivially easy to achieve in the winter—just wear a coat or jacket one notch less warm than would be most comfortable.
Obviously sleep is very important, and with my Oura ring I’m tracking my own sleep carefully. This has already been helpful, and I’m hoping to be able to do more to improve my sleep (and thereby my mood) in the winter as well.
That’s what I’ve got at the moment, but I’m always on the lookout for things to alleviate seasonal depression.
Not as much trouble as I’d expected from making a double red-cell donation as far as aerobic performance, but more than I’d expected as far as endurance: Quite tired after just 3 miles or so. Still a good run.