The December days can be short and dreary with long, dark winter nights in Canada. The sun starts to rise around 7:30 am but isn’t fully up over the houses and horizon until the morning routine is coming to an end. The sun sets before the day’s work is complete and Pepper and I are able to admire the Christmas lights on our after-work walks. Though it doesn’t rain much anymore, or snow quite yet, this time of year, bright and sunny days are rare. It can be easy to feel as dismal as the weather as your world get colder and darker everyday. It takes a battle plan to stay positive in the weeks around the solstice. Here’s a list of some of the things I find really help me to stay happy in the face of gloom:
- Stay active and keep a fitness routine. Resist the urge to hibernate every night.
- Get out and into nature during the daylight when you can. For me, that’s on the weekends.
- Embrace the dark! Put up Christmas lights and find some candles you love.
- Spend the long evenings cooking healthy comfort foods, set the table and enjoy dinner by candlelight.
- Load up on the seasonal fruit and vegetables that are best at this time of year, like clementines, pomegranate and Brussels’ sprouts.
- Go for a walk around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights. Come home, turn up the heat, turn up the humidifier and get cozy in your pajamas with some eggnog or hot chocolate.
- Hibernate some days. Surround yourself with your favourite snacks, a cup of tea, fuzzy blankets, and watch your favourite movies.
- Save the alcohol for the holiday parties you’ll be attending every weekend and don’t drink much, or at all, on the other days. Stay well hydrated.
- Stick to a moisturizing skincare routine.
- Go to bed on time. Don’t let midnight sneak up on you when the evenings stretch on forever.
- Buy or knit yourself warm things to wear outside.
- Care for some houseplants to have something green and thriving in your immediate surroundings.
- Find ways to entertain yourself at night that don’t involve looking at a screen. Read, bake, practice a hobby or listen to music, instead.
- Stay social and connected to friends and family, even if you can’t be with them in person.
- Make goals for the new year and next season.
Most of these tactics come down to just taking time to take care of yourself, physically, mentally, socially and emotionally, whatever that means for you, and staying connected to nature and trying to sync to it’s cyclical rhythms, even when they are resonating at low levels. This season doesn’t last forever.
All photos by me.