National Workshop Programme News and Updates with Steph – 29 July 2014

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Hi everyone,

How are the winter months treating you?

If you attended our Cairns workshop then you had the opportunity to thaw out just a little (if you live in the colder states as I do) and if you are from Far North Queensland then you had the opportunity to network and gain some new and different activity ideas to keep your programs vibrant and diverse.

It was my first extended stay in the lovely Barrier Reef side city and my overall impression was one of smiling faces and generally easygoingness. Now that may have been because like me people were on a little (work related) holiday however as the shop owners, hotel staff, Barrier Reef tour guides (one of the best job in the world) and generally everyone that attended the workshop, were in a great mood it made me think that the weather really does impact on our wellbeing and sense of happiness.

It is talked about more than politics, more than world issues and can be a common cause of blame for everything from sore bones and muscles, crankiness brought on by the heat or challenging behaviours when it is windy. As nineteenth century American cartoonists Kin Hubbard stated “Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” There are a lot of beliefs or old wives tales regarding the weather but one thing is for sure- you can’t change it! And gloomy winter weather has been proven to cause SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is the clinical name for winter depression or what we might call the winter blues. This weather influenced “depression” or mood changes can occur due to the temperature drop and the shorter days during the winter months. Symptoms include depression, excessive eating, sleeping more or generally just wanting to laze around on the lounge. Women suffer from SAD up to three times more than men.

There are ways to treat SAD. Maintaining a regular schedule, especially sleep, is the most important factor. Exercise and exposure to natural light are also factors for keeping the winter blues at bay. Taking daily walks and sitting next to windows can help. Putting your bedroom lights on a timer so that they come on before you wake up (like the sun rising) can help maintain a sleep schedule. In addition, there are special “warm” lights available for fighting seasonal depression (or take an extended stay in a much warmer climate- Tahiti anyone?)

There are a number of studies about how seasonal weathers can affect our moods and health and you can read more at:

It is not just the cold that can affect our health with the advent of Spring, those who suffer from allergies can be hit hard. There is light at the end of the tunnel however as it has been noted that warmer weather (before the humidity and heat swells too much) is the best time for cognitive thinking and mental agility- bring on the warmer weather I say!

Stay warm until next month and I hope you enjoy this quote below,
Weather is a great metaphor for life — sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella. ~ Pepper Giardino
‘Til next time,

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