Mental Health Monday: Welcome to June in the South!
We just got home from a glorious time in Los Gatos, California, where we went for a wedding. I knew it would be beautiful and that we’d enjoy being with friends from all over and sharing in our friends’ daughter’s wedding. What I didn’t realize was how incredible I would feel for four days. Full of energy. No hints of depression.
Of course there was something fun to do every day—wine tastings in the Santa Cruz mountains with those breathtaking views, shopping and dining in the beautiful town of Los Gatos, visiting the magical village of Carmel-by-the-Sea and having dinner overlooking the 18th golf hole at Pebble Beach. How could I not be happy, right?
But I think there’s more to it than that. I actually heard from someone who lives in Los Gatos that so many people love it because of the weather. It was in the 70s during the day and 50s and 60s at night, and (the main thing) LOW HUMIDITY. This native said, “You just feel like getting up and doing something every day!”
Curious as to any far-reaching mental health benefits of low humidity, I found several interesting articles, including this one:
“Moodiness With Summer Humidity” by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Angela Zhu. Responding to patients who say they feel depressed, moody and cranky when the weather is humid, Zhu shared four reasons humidity can affect mood and health, and then shared some tips for taking care of our physical and mental health in this situation. (Since most of us can’t afford to move to Los Gatos, the 33rd wealthiest city in the U.S.) Some of her advice has to do with exercise and hydration and good colon health, all of which most of us try to apply to our lives. But then she mentioned a few foods that might help, including barley, ginger, watermelon, mung beans, and tofu! (Read the article to see why she recommends these.)
I was more interested in her thoughts on the importance of sweating, nature’s way of cooling our bodies (which is so much better for us than chugging down cold drinks, according to Zhu). And her explanation of how too much cold drinks actually causes us to keep heat and dampness in our bodies, damaging the Qi in the stomach and lungs.
Heading into what will surely be another hot and humid Memphis summer, I’m going to try to drink lots of room temperature water. And eating watermelon won’t be much of a chore. I don’t like ginger and I have an aversion to tofu, so hopefully the dog days of summer won’t get me down. And thankfully I’ve got neighbors who have swimming pools….