We’re barely halfway through November but already I am feeling the effects of having our clocks go back one hour. Seeing the sun set before we even reach 5 p.m. has me feeling sleepy and wanting to burrow in my apartment until spring. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but over the years I’ve developed some handy tricks to get the most out of the winter months and avoid being a grumpy bear. So whether you are also a fellow SAD sufferer or just want to evade the winter blues, read on.
1. Use a light therapy lamp everyday. There are no excuses for this one. I’ve finally accepted that trying to go any longer than 24 hours without using my lamp will result in me feeling like I need 12 hours of sleep at night. Light therapy lamps emit either a white or blue light and can come in different intensities. Look for a lamp that filters out UV light and can be used easily on a daily basis. Most lamps suggest you use them for 15-30 minutes each day and depending on the type of light, you have to be careful of where you place them (i.e. if you opt for blue light, make sure not to look directly into the lamp or you could damage your eyes). I have a Philips goLITE BLU lamp. It’s small and easy to use while I’m watching TV, reading or updating one of my many Tumblrs.
2. Invest in some twinkle lights for ambiance and (duh) more light. We’ve already established that one of the biggest issues at this time of year is the lack of light. With Christmas decorations out in full force it’s easy to pick up a pack of mini lights to brighten up your space and give you a visual pick-me-up. I’ve found that even after I take down my Christmas tree I like to drape lights around my windows and enjoy the glow. My general philosophy is that more light = more smiles.
3. Learn to cook a healthy and filling soup. If it were physically possible I would probably spend the next few months surviving solely on casserole dishes filled with the warm cheesy goodness of homemade mac and cheese. And by homemade I actually mean the gigantic frozen slab of PC Extra Cheesy Mac and Cheese at Loblaws. However, this is not an acceptable means of sustenance. Instead, why not fill yourself up with a warm hearty soup that’s also loaded with veggies? A quick look at Pinterest will lead you to all kinds of delicious recipes for everything from classic mushroom soup to chicken tortilla soup with avocado! You can still enjoy the feeling of having a hot comforting meal while also getting in some much needed nutrients that will keep you feeling healthy and strong all winter.
4. Dabble in aromatherapy. Some people choose to engage in traditional aromatherapy but personally I just like to spend some time at Bath & Body Works and buy every three-wick candle they have in my scent of choice. Sure, my home might look like the scene of a séance but it’s hard to be sad when it smells like chocolate chip cookies. If you want to invest in some bath products, I highly recommend stopping by Lush. They actually try to follow the rules of aromatherapy so you’ll find all sorts of bath products that are scented with orange and lemon, scents that are guaranteed to make you feel perky and refreshed.
5. Get social! Every year I see tips about how you should embrace the weather and get outdoors. A little bit of fresh air does everyone some good but as someone who has had multiple ice related injuries, I’d rather stay indoors. However, that doesn’t mean I need to stay in my own apartment. The city is always buzzing with something to do. Whether it’s an invite to a Christmas party, checking out the latest exhibit at the AGO or exploring a hot new pop-up shop resist the urge to stay in with yet another Netflix marathon. Just grab some friends and go!
6. Stay active. You don’t need to go outside to do this. If you’re blessed with a gym membership go ahead and make use of it. Personally, I’ve been aiming to get moving by clocking in 10 000 steps a day with my FitBit. The easiest way to do that is by walking around a mall. Yes, it makes me sound like a senior citizen. But recently I logged in over 7000 steps just by schlepping around Yorkdale Mall. Leave your credit cards at home, put on a comfy pair of shoes and get going. At the very least, you could pick up some sartorial inspiration from all the gorgeous window displays.
Staying happy during these dark cold months can feel like a monumental task but by following these tips, I know that I’ll emerge from winter with a smile on my face. It’s all about staying happy and healthy. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go bathe in the glow of my goLITE.