SFH #160: Should We or Should We Not
A Musing for Wednesday 🎭
If you get two things from my blog, I hope that:
1) You find the occasional pearl in various areas of health.
2) You feel something. You laugh, you cry, or you get riled up.
Here's my musing that hopefully hits both. I don't know, we'll see together, won't we? 🤷🏼♂️
Should I or should I not? was my question before my almost 12-month experiment of not wearing sunglasses. It's only recently come to an end as we got to Miami. My experiment was based on one study, and no matter the quality of the study, it was just one. And it wasn't reviewed well by peers. So I took it with a grain of salt and went ahead anyway, as one does when one wants to see for oneself. 😳 I tried exposing my eyes to the sun more to discern if I would receive the 'magic' in the bottle from our solar system's most potent energy source.
Before I get to that learning, I wanted to take a moment to define my should. We are driven by should. We learn what we should want but do we know what we actually want. We are genuinely confusing the two. My should is my reminder that either path works. It lets me tear down the block and just pick what I want. I wanted to experiment. It's who I am. If we lose touch with what we want and desire, we start to lose a sense of ourselves. (Pause)
First, let's open the lesson from being exposed to the sun in strategic doses. I had plenty of time in the sun as a kid. I grew up in the summer sun of Texas, playing sports, being a camper and counselor for a Jewish day camp on a Ranch (shout out to Camp Chai), and testing my bounds by enjoying the great outdoors my entire life. Part of those lessons was a skill to self-dose exposure and protection. As a result, you get burnt, sun poisoning, depleted immune system, dehydration, chafing, saddle sores, and a few more fun things. All the fascinating ways your body responds to the sun and the heat and how to care for it. Quick plug for this movie. ☀️
As an adult, I still land on the more risky side of the exposure, thus my experimental ways. It's part personality, part historically good health in sun-filled times of my life. The standard recommendation on exposure (without sunscreen) is 10-15 minutes, and then based on skin type and UV rating, that increases a bit. Then there is understanding how SPF works and how to protect your skin best1 2 3 , whether it's broad spectrum sunblock, clothing, shade, or just going inside. I'm outside at least an hour a day on average. More right now getting to Miami and walking around. So I am regauging my dosage of exposure and protection day by day.
In the particular case of the lack of sunglass protection, it worked pretty well to a point in Portland. I saw an adjustment in how I can go without sunglasses more often. However, I noticed more than anything that as long as I was exposed to the sun closer to sunrise and sunset, it moved the needle more on my HRV and quality sleep metrics.
I did practice sun-gazing for a couple of weeks based on a few nudges along the way. The Light Diet, Jack Kruse, and Hira Ratan Manek. That quick experimentation showed me that I felt good, and my metrics responded well, gazing for close to a minute a day with the right angle, the right time (within 15 minutes of sunrise/sunset, and the right line of sight. The recommended protocol is to start at 10 seconds and increase 10 more seconds each day. I didn't go past 1:40 seconds, and I found it hard to be consistent with cloud cover in Portland. The lack of eye protection game is more about how much UV light hits my corneas (none ideally), so I think the gazing is problematic from that perspective. I feel the adjustment I made in Portland and the lack of adjustment I could make in Florida was telling from my body's inherent knowing. I had to put on sunglasses after just a couple of hours here. I tried it for the first few days. It was a lost cause. I knew the experiment was coming to an end; I had already dug up the dirt or lack thereof when I thought about writing about ditching sunglasses. So here we are getting this angle. Should I or should I not?
(Back from pause) More like, what do I want? And how do I want to show up for myself? That's what I link back to on the shoulds and should nots.
What do you want that should or should not is interrupting?