13 Dec WINTER BLUES
When I wake up, my clock reads eight. My phone says seven. I frown and look outside, only to be confused by pitch black before the realization dawns upon me. Daylight Savings has come. It is a reminder that sunlight is slipping like sand through my fingers.
I do not hate winter. It’s quite the opposite. Growing up, it was easy for me to say winter was my favourite season, despite the sometimes bitter cold. It had snow, Christmas, and a lack of bugs. What was not to like?
At the same time, the lack of sunlight always left me a little more tired and a little more stressed. It was harder to motivate myself to go outside and “do things” when it was always so dark. I dreaded walking out of my 5:30 class and seeing the sky already shrouded in darkness. No matter how much I love the winter, there is no denying that seeing the sun vanish so quickly puts a damper on our mood.
The reason why so many of us feel this way has scientific backing. There is nothing wrong with the night, but a lack of sunlight affects our wellbeing. Not having enough Vitamin D impacts our immune systems, circadian rhythms and even bone strength. It can lead to health issues for both our body and mind, so it’s no wonder many of us tend to feel a little down when the daylight decreases.
I found that changing my lifestyle a bit to accommodate the lack of sunlight was the best way to adjust to this change. It meant that rather than fighting the lack of sun and being miserable about it, I had to learn to embrace it. It meant looking at all the possibilities instead of everything I was missing and paying more attention to my health and wellbeing.
I started to wake up a little bit earlier (which isn’t hard when the sun gets up late) because it was now possible to watch the sunrise on a calm morning. The feeling of holding a hot chocolate in my hands as the first rays of sun began to streak across the horizon was immensely comforting.
I put more effort into the interior design of my room, to make it a warm, inviting place to be when the outside was cold and dark. One of my favourite parts was looking for new lights and figuring out how to place them in a way that made me enjoy being in my room when it was chilly outside.
I began to try new things and make the most of the moments of darkness. I would try new recipes and make comforting food. I would try new desserts and enjoy the process and time it took to make them.
I became more appreciative of the sunlight I did have. I would go on long walks, even if it was cold. The outside air refreshed me and reduced my stress and the silence of falling snow was calming. I would enjoy the scenery of winter, of snow and holiday decorations lining the streets during the day and warm lights glowing at night.
It was important to remind myself of the small and big things I loved about winter. I made time to do activities unique to the season, such as skating, skiing and tobogganing, and after a long day, I enjoyed nestling in to watch a good movie. I made an effort to spend more time with my family and friends and connect with people I had not spoken to in a while. While the winter blues may come along with the change in season, moments doing the things we love with the people we love can get us through them.
HEADER ILLUSTRATION: MADDIE YULE