You may want to blame any blues next week on the coming election, but our relationship with Mother Nature is more likely to blame.
The weekend before Election Day, we go through our annual change back from Daylight Time to Standard Time in the U.S. and Canada (unless you’re reading this in Arizona, Hawaii, or a few small spots). Turn your clocks back that still need human adjustments on Saturday night before going to bed.
You’re welcome. Our public service announcement for the week is concluded.
The 60 minutes we adjusted our clocks suddenly makes us aware we are slowly losing daylight. Every day now, by a few minutes at a time, days will darken until we reach the winter solstice on December 21 – just six weeks away.
Plants And People Both Need Light
Without the artificial time change, we would naturally adjust our body clock over the summer months into fall gradually. We interrupt this natural adjustment by bringing it on all at once. We try to fool our internal biological clocks by forcing ourselves to follow an artificial schedule. I hate getting up in the dark! But Mother Nature is ready to fight back, and she is undefeated.
First, your sleep quality suffers. If you are already burning the candle at both ends, especially with the holiday season coming up at us, it doesn’t take a lot more to affect your sleep cycle.
Without the mental and physical restoration of quality sleep, your cognitive processes are slowed down. Imagine a sink drain clogged up with gunk. That’s your brain on no rest. Your thoughts don’t move entirely along your nerve circuits. Your thinking suffers. At least it’s not your imagination.
Our work at Good Earth Plant Company is to enrich people’s lives with Nature, specifically using plants. At this time of year, it’s easy to see how much we have in common with our green brothers and sisters. Understanding the role of sunlight is part of this. It’s incredible to realize how deeply our physical and mental health is tied to the same rhythms as your favorite indoor plants.
In our modern lives, we spend much more time in an artificial environment than ever. Scientists refer to the current generation of American kids as the Indoor Generation – spending 90% of their waking hours indoors. This was even before the pandemic!
Watch Norwegian scientist Jørn Viumdal talk about this phenomenon – and a way to fight it.
Without the presence of natural cues, our health suffers. It’s true for all sorts of biological influences, not just light. This is what the study of biophilia, the human connection to all of Nature’s living systems, is about.
Exposure to Nature can improve your health and reduce your mental fog and anxiety. Step away from your screen (after reading this) – and get outside for some gardening and plant therapy or simply a walk in Nature.
When we ignore our need for connection to the environment, we suffer. We can blame it on many other causes, but sometimes the fix is something we can control. That’s good news in a dark world. Light is a fundamental requirement for human, animal, and plant physiology. Doesn’t it seem intuitive that sitting inside from 9 to 5 (or much longer) every day would get you down?
Reach for Some Vitamin N – Nature
Getting outside, breathing fresh air, and letting your vision take in the colors, fractal geometry, and mental cues of Nature is an antidote to so many of our modern problems.
But when this isn’t an option due to work obligations or bad weather, improving the atmosphere inside by creating a more natural environment indoors can help. The more we can simulate Nature by providing bright natural light, clean air without chemical exposure, and adding plants (my favorite!), the better we will feel and function daily.
Having living plants inside can boost your immune system by reducing stress and breathing in the oxygenated air. Employees in workplaces take fewer sick days if their office spaces have plants. This also includes your work-from-home spaces.
There is also a powerful psychological benefit to having plants indoors. People feel better when there are plants around. So green up this winter!
Don’t Ignore Your Dark Feelings
One last word from your friends at Good Earth Plant Company. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more help if your blue feelings are more than temporary. Depression should never be ignored. Night owls are hit hardest by the transition out of daylight time. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be hit with anything from a case of feeling down to severe and life-threatening depression.
Don’t keep your feelings inside. There is help for people who suffer from any kind of depression. There is a new universal crisis mental health hotline. Dial 988 from anywhere, and you will reach immediate, live help.
You can also call the County of San Diego’s Up2SD Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Trained and experienced counselors are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to help with support, referrals, and crisis intervention. You can also call if you need to talk, have questions about how to offer support, or if you are looking for information about community resources and referrals.