The Most Wonderful Time

Photo by:  Walter Babinski, My American Husband
Photo by: Walter Babinski, My American Husband

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Christina Rossetti

Don’t you just love the holidays? As soon as the Christmas season starts, I get the warm fuzzies. Snow becomes magical. The dark nights are a great excuse to turn on the exterior Christmas lights. The tree goes up and the whole house smells like pine and gingerbread and candy canes. Fa la la la la. La la la la. Presents, mistletoe, family, food.  Sugar plums dancing in my head. It really is the most wonderful time of year.

Until December 26th.

And then it is the long, dreary, gray crawl to spring. As a Canadian you would think I was used to the four seasons and would appreciate each for the unique qualities they bring to my life. But truth be told I get some pretty vicious blues in the winter months, which seem to last from about Labour day until school lets out in June.

A few years back it was determined by my American Husband that I may need one of those lights that take away S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)   He gave me one for my birthday, which falls on January 31 (pretty much the suckiest day of the year). Turns out it was the best present I could have ever asked for.   For the first few weeks I sat in the mornings with the light beaming onto my face, pretending all the while that I was sitting on a beach somewhere tropical and that the bleak midwinter wasn’t waiting for me outside my front door. It wasn’t long at all before I began to reap the benefits of this magical little box of light. It began with my energy increasing. You know that feeling you get in the Spring when you feel that first rush of AHHHH? Yeah. That is what I started to feel. And it only got better. My mood improved immeasurably. The winter blues disappeared and I felt myself waking up from the gray nasty that had become my norm.

It was a miracle. Or science. Either way you look at it, it changed my life. From that moment forward winter no longer had the power to ruin me. And since that time I have begun to use the newfound energy and happiness to create a winter survival plan for myself. Here are a few of the things I do to bring the love back to the darkest season of all.

  1. Go into the light.  Seriously.  Try it:   Litebook. It changed my life and will change yours if you suffer the way that so many of us do here in the northern hemisphere.
  2. Take that Vitamin D! In the great white north we can’t get sufficient Vitamin D from the sun during the winter months because there are just not enough hours of daylight.   That little vitamin is uber important in fighting all sorts of things, including a multitude of cancers, osteoporosis and basically giving the immune system a much needed boost during the dreaded cold and flu season.  I take about 4000 IU per day, but each person’s needs will vary. Here is a good article to help you figure out what works best for you. I like the orange flavored chewables best. Wouldn’t it be cool if they were shaped like the Flintstones or something?  I may be a grown up, but that doesn’t mean I have to grow up.
  3. Find a way to get out into it. Ski. Curl.  Snowboard. Skate on a frozen lake whilst humming this.  Toboggan down a mountain.  Stop by a woods on a snowy evening.  (They are lovely, dark and deep).   Whatever you choose make sure to follow it up with hot chocolate next to a raging bonfire. Chocolate in this form makes the bitter cold seem mighty sweet. I recommend good socks and mittens and a really funky toque. Fashion matters, but warmth matters more. There is nothing cool about being cold.  (Unless you are a teenager).
  4. Catch up on those movies you’ve been meaning to see. Last year I made a concerted effort to get out every weekend to watch one of the movies that was being buzzed for the Oscars.  I managed to see the vast majority before Oscar night and because of it was able to predict every major win.  Not that I want to brag or anything, but BOOYAH! Now that we have moved back to Cranbrook where the one theatre in town rarely plays anything but dystopian teenage ninja vampire movies I may have to catch up on past years’ winners. Thank you Netflix. You complete me.
  5. A good book, thick, cozy blanket, yule log crackling on the flat screen and a nice glass of wine by my side and I have found my Happy Place.  Throw in some Bing and Rosemary Crooner and I am sure this must be heaven.  Next to writing, reading is my passion.  What better excuse to give in to the call of the books than a long, wintry day and longer wintry night.  Baby, it’s cold outside but a good book is sure to keep me warm.  What are you reading these days?

So as Jack Frost starts nipping at your special parts, I hope you take a few of these suggestions to help you survive the next few months.  And if all else fails, there are these things called All-Inclusives … write that down.

28 thoughts on “The Most Wonderful Time”

  1. Great advice to just try to get out into it and embrace it — if you can’t beat it, join it! (although last winter in Minnesota truly wore down almost everyone I knew!) Great toe-toasty boots are critical — I don’t know why I waited so many years before investing in a pair of Steger mukluks! Cheers and Happy 2015!

  2. Love all your suggestions because I truly dislike the short days at this time of the year. As for reading material I’ve got “Spiritual Flesh and Blood” on the go, a book by one of our fellow Bloggers, Caroline Hendry, in the Christian Fiction genre. So far, amazing. Thanks for the great article. Read you later.

  3. This is such an inspiring & informative post Brenda. Lot of people are still not aware about “SAD”. This post could be of great help to all of them. Specially the ones who have not lived here in the colder regions, USA or Canada or any other region with long winter months with less sunshine.
    You have shared almost all the tips. I also think besides all this, its also very important for anyone who is affected by “SAD” to not hesitate in taking help from the doctor. Because every case is different. Every person is different. They can always be well prepared for the next time. If they could not handle something themselves it’s always good to take medical help.
    Would like to Re-blog this. Thanks! 🙂

      1. There is much need of people like you Brenda who understand the importance of spreading awareness of conditions like this & help people around by sharing such useful tips. So, much thanks to you.
        I really feel grateful to connect with all such people like you in this blog world. 🙂

  4. Not as cold as Canada, but northern Illinois gets dark and cold too. I retired two winters ago and found it a little hard to have time on my hands in the winter. Spring/summer/fall is great because I can be out and about, but winter is more difficult. I love your #5 comment – a fire, some wine and a good book go along ways to making things better.

  5. Lovely post. I lived in Seattle for 14 years, and the gray was very hard on me. I do love winter though, especially when living in CO and I can get out in the snow. Thanks for the great tips!

  6. My bipolar husband used the light box and found it useful. I’m glad you have found it so too. Loved your post with such descriptive scenes, it almost cooled me down, here I’m sitting in the sweltering heat. 🙂

  7. I can relate to your post and will try the light. I lived in the Boston area for 13 years before I figured out the best way to bear the long winter was to be properly outfitted — I bought my coat and boots in Canada! — start skiing, and double-down on some books. I’m reading anything by Liane Moriarty right now. Love her stories!

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