Every morning when I walk outside, I smile because I’m not cold. The fresh air welcomes me; it doesn’t assault me. My body relaxes instead of tensing up like a shield. I appreciate Victoria’s mild climate every single day. It may seem like a small thing, but the weather has had a big impact on my quality of life.
Most days, I have time to walk the scenic route to school, which brings me past the corner store with its stunning outdoor floral display, the BC Legislative Building, and Victoria’s gorgeous Inner Harbour. Heading downtown, I share the sidewalks with fellow pedestrians, many of whom make eye contact, nod, and smile back at me.
I can hear birds chirping and see living plants all winter long. Daffodils are starting to bloom and I anticipate seeing tulips next week. There is natural, living beauty all around me.
For my whole adult life, I have struggled with depression, particularly in the winter. I think the only winter I wasn’t depressed was the year Chris and I were in Hawaii and South-East Asia. The sunshine and warm weather probably helped, but I couldn’t know how much, because my improved mood could also have been due to being on an amazing travel adventure, with no real stress or responsibilities to deal with. The difference in mood and energy was significant enough, though, to explore the climate factor further.
For the past two months, I have been adjusting to being a full-time student in a fairly academically-rigorous program, so I have experienced more stress than the winter when I was in travel-mode. But I’m happy to report that I’m not depressed. For the most part, I have energy, motivation, initiative, positive mood, and normal sleep. I’m interested in things, I can concentrate, my life feels meaningful, and I’m optimistic about the future. If you have ever been depressed, I know you understand how important this change is for me.
I’m sure there are many factors contributing to my improved health. The mild climate is certainly one of them. Living in a highly walkable neighborhood in a city with such a mild Canadian winter has enabled us to spend way more time outside and to be much more physically active than was typical for us in Manitoba.
Thanks for reading! 🙂