Archive for February 4th, 2019

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Owner, Working Well Massage

Last week in the MidWest we can such dangerously cold weather, many people did not leave their house, hunkering down in the central heat and safety of their homes. Yet many people I spoke with felt exhausted, more anxious or tearful than usual, had more negative thoughts and felt more unstable …and wondered why.

One reason I think we feel more exhausted and emotional in such weather conditions is that our bodies know that, even though we are indoors, we are in danger. As I sat in my home last Wednesday, I felt the stillness, I heard the news reports. “Dangerously” cold is the message I heard. I thought of the animals outside, the people that don’t have adequate shelter. I worried about our heat, our electricity. My body felt the effects of the weather even though I was indoors. Our bodies are pretty smart!

According to one study, Cognitive Function and Mood During Acute Cold Stress After Extended Military Training and Recovery by HR Lieberman, JW Castellani and AJ Young, military subjects were tested before and after being exposed to cold weather conditions. Results were that subjects had adverse effects to their moods: “Acute cold exposure itself significantly degraded vigilance, overall mood, and increased tension.”

This article, Prolonged extreme cold could be taking a toll on your mental health, by Marney Blunt, discusses the effect extreme cold weather has due to isolation, lack of energy to exercise and feeling a lack of control of your environment.

Thankfully the recent cold snap has come to an end in Chicago and this week looks like it is warming up! In the future, if you experience a cold snap again, know that low energy, feeling less optimistic and feeling “Out of sorts” is partly due to your body’s natural reaction to extreme cold. And now that it is “warmer,” if you can, get out and engage in activity and socializing! And stop by the Working Well Massage booth which reopened Friday 2-1-19 to get a relaxing massage, warm up your muscles and out a smile on your face!

New WWM Booth in WFM Lincoln Park

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