Park Perspectives: Curing the winter blues
For many people, January is a month of hibernation. With holiday excitement long gone, snow stops being so pretty and starts becoming an excuse to stay in. Frigid temperatures, shorter days and cabin fever can trigger the winter blues.
Chances are you might not realize why you’re feeling so down. Many people suffer from SAD – or seasonal affective disorder – a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year. According to the Mayo Clinic, reduced exposure to sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
Invite a little sunshine in by exploring endless opportunities to interact with nature at Geneva’s hidden gem – Peck Farm Park.
A 385-acre natural retreat, Peck boasts beautiful nature and bike trails, the Orientation Barn overlooking a 19-acre wetland, the historic Peck House featuring interactive nature and history rooms, Hawks Hollow Nature Playground, and a variety of indoor and outdoor environmental education programs for all ages.
We all know exercise relieves stress and releases feel-good endorphins, and – despite dips in temperature – research shows that outdoor exercise can further boost mental well-being. Findings published in the 2011 Environmental Science and Technology journal show that outdoor exercise can enhance “greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression.”
Sign up for the Super Shuffle 5K to keep yourself accountable for hitting the pavement. This exhilarating race around Peck starts at 10 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday – Feb. 2 – at Geneva Middle School South. For information about how to register for the race, call 630-232-4542 or visit www.genevaparks.org.
A brisk walk or run around Peck’s trails can be an invigorating cure for the winter blues. Better yet, embrace the season by trying out a winter sport like cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Enjoy these opportunities while they last – after all, they’re only around for a few months. Plus, on a 90-degree July day, we’ll be longing for cooler running temperatures.
Before or after exploring the trails, warm up inside the Orientation Barn at Peck’s free winter exhibit, “Trees of Illinois.” Discover the importance of trees, what happens beneath their bark and the benefits they provide in our own backyards. The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Saturday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – through Feb. 21.
Peck Farm Park’s affordable rental facilities also make fantastic event venues for upcoming bridal showers, business meetings, birthday parties, family reunions and even weddings. With many couples getting engaged over the holidays, the time to start planning spring and summer events is now. From the comfortable indoor meeting room, to the rustic outdoor picnic shelter and the ADA-accessible George’s Circle amphitheatre, Peck Farm Park boasts one of the Fox Valley’s best views. Reserve the space and start planning your fabulous warm weather event today.
Peck Farm Park is at 4038 Kaneville Road in Geneva. For information about Peck Farm Park, visit www.genevaparks.org or call 630-262-8244. Like “Geneva Park District” on Facebook for instant updates about programs at Peck Farm Park and beyond.
• Natalie Seidel is marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District and can be reached at 630-232-4542. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.