Bookmark and Share

Fighting the winter blues and blahs

I recently spoke to a lady who said she hates fall and winter and gets depressed. When asked for specifics, she said it was because of the short days.

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, people head indoors — often trading the running trails for the treadmill; the garden for the library. With the sun low on the horizon, it’s time to change a few of your life-style habits so you do not become afflicted by winter blues.

Winter blues affects an estimated 14 percent of the U.S. adult population. Lack of sunshine is to blame for the low energy level that many sufferers experience. Those susceptible to the winter doldrums also claim they experience overall feelings of sadness. It is not uncommon for these individuals to overindulge in heavier foods such as bread and pasta. Others complain of difficulty concentrating on work, and an inability to complete tasks.

And the winter blues can become an even more serious condition. The fancy term for this affliction is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms are much more severe than those who suffer from the winter blues. Those who experience SAD have such a difficult time concentrating that it often affects their performance at work. Many have difficulty getting to work on time and do not have the mental energy needed to complete necessary projects. According to someone I know who had spent many years in Norway, the northern latitude folks have the same affliction by a different name — “fern.”

Some suggested ways to fight winter blues is to work on lightening your mood. Exercise moderately, and eat sensibly — avoid an “overdose” of carbohydrates. Expose yourself to sunlight as much as possible, sit next to a window or take brief walks on sunny days. Surround yourself with friends — especially those who are fun to be with. Save your money and take a vacation to a warm environment. It doesn’t have to be fancy; even a camping trip into the desert would give you an effective mood lift. Be creative and devise ways to help yourself weather the short winter days. There’s no need to feel sad and blue.

New path

The new pedestrian and bicycle pathway next to Lake Forest Circle is near completion — just a few minor finishing touches left to be done and it is looking very good. This is phase II of the Lake Forest Circle pathway project, a separated paved 8-foot-wide path that starts at the Lyn Avenue intersection and terminates at North Pagosa Boulevard. A crosswalk will be installed soon. The first phase of the Lake Forest Circle path was completed in 2008 and extended from Lyn Avenue west to Fish Cove Court. We already see many area residents and visitors utilizing the path, a very desirable and safe alternative to walking in the road.

The first phase of the project was funded in part from some Fairfield settlement monies once intended to correct survey errors in Lake Forest Estates. The residents voted to allocate the money toward a walking path after it was determined that the survey errors were minor, in general. The second phase of the project was funded by the PLPOA after a strong vote of all the property owners last year to spend funds on this particular walking path project. Project costs came in well below early estimates. The association is currently working on preliminary plans, in cooperation with Archuleta County, to construct the next phase of the Park Avenue Trail from Eagles Loft Circle to Cloudcap Avenue.

Mitigation project

The PLPOA will start a wildfire fuels mitigation project in the Vista subdivision next week. The project is in the large greenbelt below and southwest of Canyon Circle, Tract I, a 40-acre greenbelt situated between the Vista and Trails subdivisions. The treatment target area is 13 acres, below the homes on Canyon Circle, on the hillside. A Colorado State Forest Service grant in the amount of $6,000 was recently awarded to the association to help cover nearly 50 percent of the project costs. Crews will be operating a large chipper and chainsaws during work hours; please do not enter the greenbelt work area during operating hours.

The treatment prescription plan will be developed in conjunction with the Colorado State Forest Service zone 2 and zone 3 defensible space guidelines, some overcrowded ponderosa pines will be selectively removed, scrub oak will be thinned and trees will be limbed up. When completed, the project area will have a more open feel, restored to a more natural and safe condition. The recent wildfires in other parts of the state should remind all of us how important it is to have a defensible space near homes and properties.

Hatcher Lake, Lake Pagosa, Village Lake and Lake Forest will all be stocked with rainbow trout beginning tomorrow and into early next week. The fishing has been very good in our lakes as cooler evenings are settling in and this fall, we expect it to really get going. Anglers have had good success with all species of fish over the past month, including bass, crappie and perch, but fall is really the best time for trout fishing.