Friday, April 6, 2012

Mother nature's direct effect on us, humans.... or at least on me!

The pictures in this piece of text are not my own, but have been found on the internet. They do show how I experience the seasons quit good, though.

We all know about the immediate impact of the weather; rain, sunshine, frost, wind... It's all been talked about over and over again.
But there are some influences that do not get as much attention, but which equally, or even more, affect us, our wellbeing and our ability to function; the seasons and their passing, full moon, the earth's magnetic fields.
As for the weather, it is quite easy, to a degree, to eliminate their influences. You can get shelter, dress properly and light a fire, but for these other of nature's forces, dealing with them is often much more difficult and longterm, because they do not just affect the outside, but work from the inside out as well.
I have experienced some of these forces on a regular basis and still do. One of them is the effect of the full moon. No, I do not turn into a werewolf, but my behaviour sure does change; I (can) become moody, easily irritated, nervous and on edge. I often experience a state of high alert, too. And it is not just me, but we notice this change in out children, too. Some, like myself and my oldest daughter, show these signs more than others, like my son and youngest daughter, whilst my wife seems the least effected by it. I have met many people who have the same "problem", but failed to notice it or missed the connection, untill we talked about it.
How we deal with it? First we know and understand the problem. Second we remind each other of it and warn each other. Third is we stear clear of each other if possible, avoiding confrontations when ever possible, because we know the effects.  I also avoid stressfull, hectic or otherwise exciting situations, especially the 2-3 days preceding the full moon. As soon as that event has passed, everything turns to normal almost instantly!
Another force that affects many is the changing of the seasons; the transition from summer into autumn and, often much more noticeable, the transition of winter into spring. I experience both, but the latter has a huge impact on me, my psyche and my fysical abilities. I experience fatigue, both mentally and fysically, I am moody and depressed, have very low energylevels or find it difficult to get started doing anything. I loose interest in my hobbies and my work and familylife often become a burden. These effects are the worst if winter has been grey and wet for prolonged periods of time.
According to the proffesional help I have had over the years, it is the lack of daylight that triggers this, but also the lack of fresh food and the vitamins, minerals etc. therein. Another contributing factor is the lack of movement and the fourth factor is the change in chemical consistancy of one's blood. At the end of winter, these factors accumulate, giving me and many others, a hard time for a few weeks, usually starting at the end of februari and lasting untill the end of march. This, for me, is the hardest part of the year!

Than there is the immediate affect each season has on us.
For me spring is vibrant, a time of awakening or rebirth and I feel like that too, almost euphoric, after the initial weeks of depression. A time where energylevels may soar on sunny, cheerfull days and levels drop on grey, cold and rainy days. I associate this seasons with light colours, bright light, fresh wind and air and a sun that warms, but doesn't bake you. A time of brightly lit, refreshing sunrises. This is the season where I can get the most things done, where I can stand still for a moment and listen to the birds around me, befor getting busy myself, again. I think that it is the increasing pulse of nature that drives me, too.
Summer is a more constant season, where everything slows down, ripens and matures. Light turns a little darker, going from bright to a deeper hue. It is the season I associate with a forcefull, golden sun, a time of evening sunsets. Life slows down a little and I can stand still for longer, taking a better look at butterflies and the buzzing bees. The workpace has settled down a little too and becomes more steady. It is the time of long days and short nights and my need for hours of sleep is minimal. 4-6 hours a night is plenty and I do this for months.
It may sound weird, but summer is actually my least favorite of all seasons!
Autumn is one of my favorits, along with spring.
To me this is the "golden" season, reflecting in the sun's light and colouring grasses and leaves. Everything slows down even more, to come to a halt at the end of the season. I slow down more, can sit there and just look around for hours (not literally, but it does come close), looking at leaves as they fall from the trees and drift and tumble all the way to the floor.

Winter brings cold and stillness and I can get into a hibernatic kind of state, if I'm not carefull. I have to keep busy in order to avoid that, but the pull sometimes is quite strong. The light has become pale and weak, the days short and the nights long. My need for sleep increases and compared to summer has double or trippled; I need at least 8 hours a day, but can easily reach 10-12.
The cold helps to shake and brake the hibernatic state and it feels wonderfull to be refreshed after a day out, when it is freezing. The air is chrystalclear and you can see for miles, yet there is very little movement. It is also a time to turn inside myself, a time for thaught and a time for reading. The end of winter is also a time of planning, waiting to be "born" once again!

What all this has to do with the outdoors? Simple, it can and sometimes does affect my ability to function effectively, both as a worker but as a human, too, and I do believe it will affect others too. It can seriously decrease my ability to deal with problems, but it can also mean that I overestimate myself or others.
Understanding these processes might, and already often has, prevent(ed) trouble and help me overcome certain obstacles in order to get home in one piece, but also, and equally important, to still enjoy being out there.


  1. I know what you mean, Ron. I have the same problem at the end of the winter and always have. Improvements to my diet and extra exercise (inside and outside) help me to combat this.

    Nice review of the seasons and their effects. Spring is aaaaalmost here, but not quite. Can't wait!!


  2. Hi Matt,
    yes, I know many people do expreience nature's influences, but often disregard or neglect them. But in my opinion these are as important as your gear and the weather.