Seasonal Affective Disorder… or just the winter blues?

Do the shorter days in the winter give you the blues? If so, you are not alone. As the winter months draw near and day lights savings begins, the sky gets darker earlier in the day. During this time, people may begin to experience depressive symptoms, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, where there are biological and mood disturbances occurring in autumn and winter with remission in the spring or summer (Kurlansik & Ibay, 2012). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is triggered by the changing of seasons, typically coinciding with the beginning of fall. With SAD, the seasonal depression gets worse in the late fall or early winter and ends when it becomes sunnier in the spring. According to the American Psychiatric Association, SAD is officially classified as major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns (Golden, et al., 2005).

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Explore Nature with Live Streaming Cameras!

Have you ever wanted to see certain animals in nature or watch magnificent sights but weren’t able to because of the geographical distance? Perhaps you have always wanted to view a sunset at the Santa Monica beach and pier, see pipeline surfing in action on Ehukai Beach in Oahu, Hawaii, and witness the dazzling waves of light mainly seen in high latitude regions, otherwise known as the northern lights (aurora borealis). People around the world, with the assistance of new technological advances of live streaming cameras, can watch these amazing sights of the nature on Explore.org

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Outdoor Play and Childhood Development

Modern lifestyles are becoming unhealthier worldwide. Today’s children tend to spend a lot more time indoors than past generations of kids. Whether it is young toddlers being given an iPad to settle them down throughout the day, the constant need of computers for classwork at an increasingly young age, or the persistence of phones everywhere around us, there is an increase in the use of technology in our society, especially at a young age. This is resulting in children having decreased exposures to outdoor environments. In fact, a 2018 study in the United Kingdom revealed that children spent about four hours outside per week, roughly 50% less than their parents had as kids (Kennedy, 2022).

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Personal Story: Tess

Beginning at a young age, I went to an outdoor overnight camp. For 7 summers in a row, I spent 4 weeks outdoors at this camp, and for my last summer I chose to stay 8 weeks rather than 4 because I loved it so much. Each day we ate our meals outdoors, had bonfires, and had different outdoor activities of our choosing. My favorite outdoor activities were horseback riding, water skiing/wakeboarding, and outdoor living skills. This time spent in nature every summer from ages 10-16 made a large impact on how I choose to cope with different stressors in my life, and greatly influenced my love for nature. Whenever I am really stressed out or am overthinking something, I like to walk outside and play music as I focus on taking deep breaths of fresh air and look at the world around me. Enjoying nature from such a young age really made a difference in how I cope with daily stressors and has made an impact on my mood and ability to complete tasks throughout the day.