Like many people who live in the northern countries of the world, I feel the mood dampening effects of winter’s reduced daylight. I have become quite familiar with winter seasonal affective disorder or SAD, the so-convenient-it’s-annoying acronym, in my adult life.
After several winters spent indoors wishing it were warmer and letting the darker days get me down, I think I’ve finally found a way to avoid – or at least delay – the onset of SAD: as soon as the weather turns cold, I try go outdoors and appreciate the weather and changing seasons as often as I can. It makes sense that this works for me. When I was a kid, I had no ill feelings for winter. I loved playing outside with my dad, brother and dog on snowy Saturdays. Some of my fondest memories are tobogganing down a little artificial hill my dad would build off the edge of the deck – optimizing a small and very shallow slope to the side of the stairs – using the snow he shovelled off the deck. My brother and I would slide down, trying to get as far into the backyard as possible, make our way back up to the deck as our border collie, Bear, attempted to steal our mittens to bury them for reasons only he understood, repeat for hours and then go in and put our wet clothes on the register to dry while our mom made hot chocolate and insisted we were on the brink of frostbite. These days, my outdoor winter activities tend to include more shovelling and walking than tobogganing and dog wrestling, but the mood boosting effects are still the same. I still finish with hot chocolate.
All photos by me.