My environment affects me more than I would care to admit. As someone with Seasonal Affective Disorder (seasonal depression), the past several months have been quite difficult. If you are unfamiliar with Seasonal Affective Disorder, here is a quick definition from Web MD…


Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that happens every year at the same time. A rare form of seasonal depression, known as “summer depression,” begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. In general, though, seasonal affective disorder starts in fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer.

SAD may affect 11 million people in the U.S. each year, and 25 million more may have a milder form called the winter blues.


At least there is some fun irony in the acronym being “SAD” am I right? ? I use comedy as a coping mechanism, can you tell?


My SAD hits me every year right as the temperature begins to drop and I can no longer be outside comfortably for very long. I get a lot of the usual symptoms- remarkably low energy, low mood, trouble concentrating, fatigue, irritability, weight fluctuation, etc.


But this winter wasn’t my first rodeo. My brain chemistry has been this way for as long as I can remember. I have been lucky enough to grow up in a generation that understands mental health better than any other in human history. The support I get from my family, friends and doctors help me get through my “winter fog.”


But there’s one thing my family, friends and even doctors can’t fix when my SAD is at its full force- my connection to God.

During the winter months I not only struggle mentally and emotionally, but I struggle spiritually as well. I think it comes down to the fact that the outdoors is my sanctuary. The feeling of a warm breeze on my face, the smell of grass and flowers, the abundance of wildlife, the awe of natural beauty- it all makes me feel closer to God than just about anything. So ever since the temperatures here in Columbus, Ohio finally popped up into the 50s, I have been outside as much as possible (even while writing this blog!). Before we know it, Old Man Winter will be back and, along with it, my Seasonal Affective Disorder. So before that happens, I’m going to take advantage of the spring and summer seasons and cherish every second I spend outdoors in God’s creation.


Here are 10 natural Ohio destinations where I think you can feel God’s presence…


1. Glacial Grooves State Memorial – Kelleys Island


2. Ohio Caverns – West Liberty


3. Mill Creek Falls – Cleveland


4. Hayden Falls – Dublin


5. Olentangy Indian Caverns – Delaware


6. Shrum Mound – Columbus


7. Overbrook Ravine Park – Clintonville


7. Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve – Yellow Springs


8. Serpent Mound – Peebles


9. Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve – Jackson


10. Old Man’s Cave – Logan


What did we miss? Where do you feel God’s presence?



-Written by Kyle Fox, BSPC Marketing and Communications Manager



Did you enjoy this blog post? Be sure to leave a comment and share the link with your friends on Facebook!


  1. Sharon walters March 11, 2021 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    I think SAD has hit a lot more people this past year than most others. Not being able to go to dinners, church services, meeting with friends, ect. I too am looking forward to weather that allows us to feel the sun on my face and the warmth as a spring breeze.

  2. Betty Lou Stu7ll March 26, 2021 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    A gal from OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster lived with us a couple years while she was a student there. She had SAD, and it was particularly difficult for her in the winter months. She had a special light she used in the winter in the mornings before she went to class which helped some, but certainly didn’t replace the summer sun. I know she would have appreciated your list of outdoor sites because she recognized the spiritual implications for her. I have lost touch with her, but often think of her in the winter, and hope she’s doing ok.

  3. Kim Stephen Parish June 19, 2023 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Yellow Springs, Ohio, particular Glen Helen and its yellow spring, is a geological vortex.

Leave A Comment