Well this year the cold has come early, with the first snow fall arriving before Canadian Thanksgiving.
And although Calgary is one of the sunniest places in Canada, each year I experience a blue phase as the light fades and the temperature drops.
Unfortunately with the decreased sun exposure the brain produces less and less serotonin (the ‘happy’ brain hormone associated with mood elevation).
Yet the trees turn the most spectacular shades of gold, amber and red – then dropping their leaves in wild, giant, fun-to-kick, irresistible piles.
Waking up in the dark and the cold, pitch-black evenings are already getting to me, so here’s my top 8 of seasonal helpers:
1. A change of season = a change of food. It’s time to put away the tropical fruits and salads and eat earthier, more weighty foods. Eating seasonally helps give my body what it needs to adjust to the cold: in my case, root vegetables, cold weather fruits, dark leafy greens, whole grains and flavourful soups.
2. Get out a favourite scarf. Or hat or jacket or boots. Nothing sucks more than being cold in the cold. Long johns, a wooly hat, cute mittens: sometimes it’s the little things.
3. Cut down on evening social plans. In the Great White North, Fall and Winter are traditionally a time of renewal. I trim back my socializing and let my natural introvert stay home and rug up on the couch: it’s already dark by dinner time anyway.
4. This is a time to catchup on all of those wonderful hobbies that were swept aside in the summer heat-wave fever. Fall is a great time to start a new crafty project – or perhaps even prepare christmas gifts. Enjoying creative activities in the house has been essential to helping me get through the darker months.
5. Enjoy the cooler weather with plenty of tea. Some folks get excited for pumpkin spice beverages at this time of year, but I’m an avid tea drinker. At this time of year I switch focus from water to herbal teas.
6. Find something outdoors that you enjoy doing – even in the middle of winter. This latest one is my newest: last winter I spent time learning to ski, skate and play shinny. What a difference! Getting out amongst nature on a cold but sunny day not only lifts my mood, but produces all those good exercise chemicals.
7. Take Vitamin D daily. This magical nutrient helps the body absorb calcium. It also helps muscles, nerves and the immune system work properly. If you live in Canada, you’re likely Vitamin D deficient which can really affect mood. (Aussies, you can probably skip this one!)
8. Perhaps best of all is to remember that it’s transitional and impermanent – and truly only here for a short period of time. Deepak Chopra says that however we perceive an event to be, is how it is. In other words, attitude is perhaps the most important thing to enjoying your whole year without complaint.
What could you do to make these darker months easier and more enjoyable for yourself?
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