Hello again. We are still a bit cooped up aren’t we? This is like a record breaking, nightmarish global game of hide and seek. As we hunker down, some of us feeling inexplicably fearful of even opening the curtains, we are in danger of something that you mightn’t have even thought about.
Just kidding. But you might become vitamin D deficient. Where I am, we are heading towards another freezing winter, where even if we get sun on our skin, with its wintry angle we may not make much in the way of vitamin D. Sure, there are dietary sources, however how much oily fish are you planning on eating?
My own good doctor tested my vitamin D once. Despite doing loads of outdoor running at the time, it was low. And she looked at me in that no-bullshit way she has and said, ‘Claire, go and shout yourself a bottle of [insert brand name of vitamin D capsules here]. Take a little pill of sunshine.’
Vitamin D is important for bones, cell growth, muscle size and strength, reducing inflammation and many more physiological actions. Something rings a bell about cognitive function and mood as well. I should link helpful resources for you but I will tell you a secret, I am very lazy. Feel free to Google it up for yourself, as a friend of mine would say.
There’s something else about this brilliant little vitamin that may interest you, and that is its role in immune function. There is a lovely meta-analysis in the BMJ (2017; 356 i6583) showing that boosting your vitamin D leaves you less vulnerable to catching respiratory tract infections. The effect is greater if you are deficient to begin with.
So it might be worth considering a little vitamin D. Get some sun- important for so many reasons. Consider supplementing if that is appropriate for you- speak to your own doctor as needed.
And on happiness… how are you all going? Is your wholesome iso-spirit growing tired of home bake-offs and knitting and toasting marshmallows? Or perhaps you never got to do that. Perhaps like me you’ve been working harder and longer than usual because of challenging logistics and changing demands, possibly for lower pay, and without your usual outlets for relief and restoration. Doesn’t that suck.
Today, reflecting on the moments of anxiety, despondency and at times utter despair that have happened for me over the past weeks, I had a thought. Which I wrote to my friend about in a big wall of text- sorry for the long message Marianne.
I would rather have the capacity for immense pain (because the corollary would be a capacity for exquisite joy) than to meander through life in a bland sort of stupor. Some days the idea of stupor is very tempting. I think some people are trying to achieve this with a little help from Dan Murphy’s.
It is a huge privilege to have a complex human brain, to experience all the shades and colours of existence, but with that privilege comes a massive cost- our suffering and existential angst. But isn’t it better to be human, with all that life brings (even stupid plagues)? I hope I will appreciate human life and connections that much more deeply once we emerge from this, battle scarred but hopeful.
Better to be human… or actually maybe a bear so we can just go to sleep and wake up in the beautiful Springtime, stumbling out of our caves and into each others’ waiting arms. In a state of vitamin D deficiency no doubt.
It can be helpful when in a state of despair, at a loss for what to do in this moment, thinking you can’t stand it one minute more, to think not of your reality now, but of your future self. Your future self is doing great, and is glad you kept going. So how will you look after yourself now, while you wait for your future to become your now?