This is one of the two days each year when dark equals light – sunset and sunrise are 12 hours apart, the length of the day is the same as the length of the night. For the next 3 months or so, during autumn equinox nights will continue to get progressively longer, days progressively shorter. Then the cycle continues, and we rotate back to spring and summer. This is a time to think about the cyclical nature of life, the balance of light and dark, good and bad. It’s a time to remember that nothing is entirely bad, or entirely good, as days are never entirely dark or entirely light. There is some light and some good in every day, although some days may seem very dark, and we need to search to see the bright spots. And even if some days seem very dark indeed, the next day, or the next, may be a little, or a lot, brighter.
This is also a time to think about and plan for the cold, snow and ice of winter. Many of us spend less time outdoors, are less active, and are less social in the winter. With the coming of the winter weather and short days, we hunker down at home, sometimes feeling trapped, isolated and alone. We stop exercising because we don’t want to go out of the house. This leads to increased depression, anxiety and, of course, pain.
This is the perfect time of year to start planning ways to stay active and engaged in life. We still have several weeks of nice weather, so we have a little time to investigate options. Exercise classes offer a way to stay active and stay social, at all levels of fitness. Maybe there is a gym near you that offers seasonal discounts. YMCAs offer reduced memberships to people who qualify for financial hardship, and provide a variety of ways to stay active. Senior centers have a number of free exercise classes. Shopping malls are open before the shops open, for groups and individuals to walk in a clean, heated and safe environment. Libraries have lots of types of exercise videos, if you’d prefer to stay home – just make sure you also find a social activity. Join a club, do volunteer work in a hospital or animal shelter. Become or stay involved in church – there are lots of options for social activity, and there is usually someone who can give you a ride, if needed.
Strive for balance in your life – giving/taking, quiet time/activity, solitary time/social time. Accept the dark, and know that the light will return. Prepare now for the winter so that you can emerge in the spring happier and healthier than ever.
At North Shore Pain Management we provide advanced, evidence based, multidisciplinary and cost effective pain management. Our goal is to improve your ability to return to the activities you have been missing as well as provide a meaningful reduction in pain.