This has been a particularly grey week — the weather has been mostly overcast and slightly rainy — and it’s had all the hallmark effects on my mood and attitude as it did when I lived on the west coast of Canada. With hindsight, I can see that some of the depressive funks I fell into while doing my PhD were the result of the weather, combined with diet and work/life imbalance. And when I was on the west coast, I discovered that getting in some significant amount of walking each day was what it took to fight through those funks.
Cue this week, and the solution has been getting into an exercise room and just doing work I didn’t really want to do, but which I intellectually knew would improve my perspective on life as soon as I was done my circuit. Unsurprisingly, each day that I dragged myself to exercise helped to improve my next day. In the UK, this has been taken a step further, and persons who are experiencing seasonal affective disorder, anti-social behaviour, or other mental health challenges are being prescribed exercise, socialization, and related activities that are meant to naturally modify the chemistry of their bodies and brains. No pills or drugs required.
It strikes me that such prescriptions could have a range of positive outcomes. First and foremost, for those who ‘fill’ the scripts, they might derive relief from the symptoms affecting them. That’s a clear win. But, second, it would have the effect of pushing people who might avoid certain kinds of physical activity to be there, with others, and realize that the portrayals of ‘fit’ or ‘active’ people in the movies and television tend to be drastically out of step with reality. I know that in my own case, I had this idealized idea of what people looked like when they exercised, how hard they worked, and so forth. But by going and exercising I’ve improved upon my own sense of my body by, first, doing some exercise but, second, seeing that the persons who are exercising look an awful lot like me.
In other words, developing a pretty regular exercise routine has had the dual effect of improving my mental health by just pushing my body, as well as improving my sense of bodily self-worth by destigmatizing my (pretty normal) body. I imagine that were more and more people gently pushed to get into workout rooms, running groups, or other socialized exercise spaced they, too, would experience that similarly destigmatizing experience.
New Apps and Great App Updates from this Week
- iOS 11.3 was released! Here’s hoping it fixes lots of the lingering issues in iOS 11, such as problems with Apple Notes freezing and crashing!
Great Photography Shots
Unsurprisingly, I was crazy impressed by several of the images which were submitted to, and won at, the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.
Music I’m Digging
Neat Podcast Episodes
Good Reads for the Week
- A Game of Tag That’s Been Going On for 20+ Years
- Your Slow, Fat Marathon
- The Shut-In Economy
- Photographing These Abandoned Space Shuttles Made Me a Russian Target
- After Decades in Prison, Women Pose for Portraits in their Bedrooms
- With Musical Cryptography, Composers Can Hide Messages in Their Melodies
- I love the Fields Notes Coastal Editions!