Tuesday, October 15, 2013

52 Ways to Use Your VRPS Membership: Week 42, Treating the Blues

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

I live in Central Virginia, and for the past 8 days, it was rainy, gray, chilly, and basically a downer.  I think most in our VRPS community had similar climatic experiences.  Even the most upbeat people were singing the weather blues by Day 4 or 5.

Personally, I grow lethargic, like a sleeping cat.  When I make myself get out, I'm fine, but it is difficult to be motivated.  At its deepest, most somber level in our society, this lethargy and hindered "outdoor access" can become something much more serious:

"... studies report a link between low nature access with increases in deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), clinical depression, stress, and anxiety." - NRPA, Synopsis of 2010 Research Papers, Page 4

"Spending time in green environments can relieve not only anxiety and stress, but also sadness and depression" - NRPA, 2010 Parks and Other Green Environments: Essential 
Components of a Healthy Human Habitat, Page 20

The source list goes on and on -

According to HelpGuide.org, exercise, social support, and stress reduction are three lifestyle changes that we can make to keep the blues at bay.  Winter is coming, and with it comes more gray skies, shorter days, and colder, outdoor-inhibiting temperatures that can lead to greater individual isolation and therefore a "lax" in these positive lifestyle promotions.

Out of curiosity  I perused several of the Program Guides offered by our member Agencies.  It is nothing short of inspiring to see the sampling of outdoor activities being offered:

  • Caving
  • Garden Cardio
  • Astronomy
  • Hunter Education
  • Bicycle Maintenance
  • Equestrian
  • Family Adventure
  • Environmental Education
  • Snow Sports
  • Trips
  • Outdoor Survival Skills

Likewise, it's a pleasure to see the creativity implemented in designing indoor activities:

  • Technology
  • Aqua Cycling
  • Printmaking
  • Recovery Classes
  • Fencing
  • Judo
  • Social Clubs
  • Fiber Arts
  • Hobby Crafts
  • Diving
  • Printmaking
Parks and recreation plays a part of a preventive healthcare movement, both mental and physical, and you in our Society play a pivotal role.

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