Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hitting the Wall

Huh? You ask. Am I playing too much raquetball, or skiing till I drop? Nope. Let me explain.

As the days have been growing darker and darker and our daylight has dwindled to about 6 hours, I have been cruising along happily, so impressed with how well I was dealing with it. "Gee, what's the big deal about it being dark in Alaska? No problem." I've even considered blogging about how much I like the darkness: it is comforting like a blanket in a way, surrounding me. Well, last week I "hit the wall." The lack of light finally started to bug me--really bug me. It might have been the rain we had last week. The roads were icy, icy, icy and the snow wasn't that great for skiing. I got to the gym most days and ate pretty well--just a handful of potato chips each night. But I didn't spend any time outside, and I think that's what did me in.

I blogged about the lack of sunlight last year, but I think it may be something I revisit each year--as many Alaskans do. Everyone is affected, though some more than others. Even people who have lived here all their lives notice it. A key factor is sunshine. The sun has been hiding for weeks it seems, besides the weak (though beautiful) light of sunrises or sunsets. I recall noticing the darkness in Marquette, Michigan one winter (and moved to Arizona after that winter!!) simply because the sun never came out. The lack of light is not just an issue in Alaska; many people in the Lower 48 deal with it as well, as I did that one winter in Michigan. But it is more pronounced here--and in some places in Alaska much more than others.

What "hitting the wall"
has reminded me is that I really have to take care of myself...and I really need to get outside to catch what rays there might be. It takes a conscious effort to stay sane and stay happy in Alaska, but it can be done. This was my wake-up call!


Lorraine said...

Hey - I've been thinking about you a lot lately as we approach the solstice; wondering how you are managing. If you stay for a few more years you might want to look into full spectrum lights and perhaps even a lamp designed for those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Not that you suffer from it, but it could help mitigate the physiological effects of sun deprivation.
OK - well, it SOUNDS good right :)
Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS Michelle and family!

Michelle Waclawski said...

We looked into them last year (the lights), especially since there is a company that manufactures them right in Homer, but we nixed it--not sure why. Partly because you have to be quite close to it to get the benefits, and for a certain amount of time each day--we didn't think we'd use it.
There's a light at the gym for anyone to use, and as it gets darker, more people use it!
Yeah, well, who isn't affected by the lack of light up here?? If I can get my "fix" by going outside and exercising, that certainly better than huddling in front of a light inside!! (: