Nov 2022
Weather and Wellbeing,get me some freebies !

meme about winter

I always wonder with such a great climate here in Queensland how anyone can get the sads. For me living my life as a child in Wales we had little else but cold ferocious wind (spiteful and painful) and rain for 8 months of the year. If the sun came out every man and his dog would be at the beach at 22’c !! I laugh when I see 70s and 80s photographs of the UK summers with not an inch of space left for you deck chair and towel. You had to get in there very early. Its not wonder people save all year for a holiday in Tenerife or Corfu like they do for Bali here in Australia. The fact is though, we have such amazing weather most of the time here in on the Gold Coast , https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/Things-to-do/Parks-gardens-reserves/Park-Finder and Brisbane. I lived in Adelaide and then Melbourne and even then, could see the difference a few gradations away from the equator made to the quality of the weather. My first spring here in 2020,saw myself and my son enjoy the absolute novelty of swimming in the sea off the coast of Redland Bay while the thunder cracked, the lightning shattered the sky, and the rain came in seeping monsoonal drenches. Wow we were really in the tropics! How cool is this!!! Didn’t care a rip about being electrocuted.

There is so much to be said for wonderful weather and wellbeing. There is a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder which apparently relates to people not getting enough sunlight and vitamin A. The theory is that in people with SAD, lack sunlight and have a problem with certain chemicals in the brain that prevents the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the production of the hormone melatonin and negatively affects the production of the hormone serotonin, that happy clappy chemical that everyone wants a piece of. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/


Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year such as those at the furthest parts of the globe, both North and South. The Scandinavians for example are known to use giant mirrors, light-therapy clinics, and even positive thinking to overcome seasonal depression. Symptoms include fatigue, very low mood, hopelessness, and social withdrawal.

Seasonal affective disorder was first described in 1984 and was put in to into DSM-III-R (the bible of psychiatric disorders) as a “seasonal pattern,”. This meant it was a kind of slightly different variety of depression   applied to recurring mood disorders, rather than as an independent illness in of itself. It remains as such in the DSM-IV. So, its apparently legit?

A diagnosis of SAD can usually be confirmed if your depression occurs at a similar time each year for at least 2 years. The periods of depression are followed by periods without depression. Is it a real thing? Well, I not sure, I sure as hell remember being miserable in both Cardiff and Melbourne over the 12’c days and those bloody howling winds that gave me earache as a kid. My mother made me wear the ugliest flap eared poo brown hat ever. Maybe that was the source of my misery , who knows !Even if it’s not, I’m guessing that plenty of us know the benefits of getting outside in nature and the sunshine when we feel low. It certainly is a great anecdote to a shitty day at the very least.

Where can we go to get that fix of sunlight, to feel and breathe the beauty of nature. Even a few minutes of warmth, hearing birds and feeling a slight breeze can affect your mood for the better. Lifting you, even a smidgen more than if you had stayed under the blankets looking at the latest post of some fab Instagram Influencer with her perfectly attentive  chisel cheeked husband and  her perfectly behaved  3 children in  their matching perfect lilac pastels with the caption “just hanging out on a Sunday”, CUE, love heart emoji ( lilac of course )

Remember this, YOU live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The Gold Coast has plenty of such fabulous places to just sit in a meditative state and enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature as a balm for the troubled soul away from social media, pressures, problems, and its pretense of perfection

Nerang, which is my haunt, has some great spots to soak up the sun and get those feel-good endorphins going strong. I like to go walking when I start to feel that blue haze starts to mold  itself across my head and weight my shoulders down. It’s like a bucolic meditation but via the rhythm and pace of my feet. The best way to clear my brain of the messy build up from the week past, but also a great place to allow my bloated  subconscious to spring up great solutions to problems, clever ideas, or deeper knowings or the space to just be quiet and soothe the soul. Its also a fun place to be in that you see the ebb and flow of life humming along around you and without out you needing to engage.

Nerang National Park has glorious bush walk tracks, you can bike ride through it, and it is well sign posted. Its wonderful for that clearing of the head , that we all know is so useful .

Nerang park 1

An avid admirer wrote,

In the Nerang National Park https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/nerang(accessed from the Nerang velodrome), there are some great mountain bike trails.

There were three new loops built specifically for the GC2018 Commonwealth Games which were held in April 2018.

The games are finished now, and the world class trails are a legacy from the Comm Games!

Another great green place to frequent in Nerang is ,

Burchhill Park https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/Things-to-do/Parks-gardens-reserves/Park-Finder/Burchill-Park its another gem One of a number of connected parks on the Nerang River that are worth a look on the way to Springbrook National Park. It has a beautiful waterfront view and there are acres of wildlife to see and appreciate as you amble.

Then there is Bischof Pioneer Park https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/Things-to-do/Parks-gardens-reserves/Park-Finder/Bischof-Pioneer-Park

One local wrote,

“For a small park it is popular, also on occasion a cafe is open as well serving Devonshire teas. I often go walking around this park and it is surprising early in the morning to see so many people there exercising. It is also lit up well and has a small playground. Great to see all these parks preserved by the council.”

In the Nerang National Park (accessed from the Nerang velodrome), there are some great mountain bike trails.

Nerang Park 2

Another Park that hits the spot is #Swift Park Brilliant dog park. Beautiful walk along the river, and through gorgeous reserves. Further down the paths it’s like being in a rainforest.

A reviewer wrote ,

The people I’ve met so far have been very friendly. You can even get to the bridge across the river near the high school, let the dogs into the river. There’s a coin powered BBQ area, tap and water bowl for dogs, bubbler for their owners, a bag dispenser and bins, toilets, and a fenced in playground for kids plus near by under cover picnic area. Great place to bring the kids and dogs for a run around and lunch.”

I love Parks and have always found that just being there when I am low even if it is a bit of an effort to get there, it can lift my spirits a little. I often counsel my clients in parks as the space and harmony of nature is very conducive to chats and people often tend to open up more when they feel the sense of freedom and calm and the soft  sun on their face . Sometimes for young people a clinical office  can seem ominous, its a great alternative  !

When you start to feel that weird but familiar  sense that you might be going downhill in your mood, remember that you can always find a park in your neighbourhood that can help you to get back in touch with nature and affirm even for a moment in time , your reason for being here on the planet. I know its not a lot but its something , a small glimmer of light and Vitamin D in an otherwise difficult time . To enjoy and appreciate the beauty around us in all it’s forms is that small  hand held out precariously and tentatively  to help us, take it, and walk with it, it may lead you back.

Happy parking!