by Ashley White
I am guilty. Don’t tell the ice fishing aficionados, the Nordic ski lovers and the ski-doo enthusiasts this, but I love shy, mild winters. I don’t mind that the lake stayed wet and the bush clear of powder this past December. I know, I know, I am a traitor. But what can I say? The dark weeks that trickle by up to and following the Winter Solstice make me feel kind of melancholy.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, the most common of which is known as winter depression, affects about five to ten per cent of people in North America. As far as diseases go, that’s quite common. There are people who are completely debilitated by winter. If that’s you, then please do go speak with your doctor because you don’t need to suffer. There are medications, there are special lights and there is counselling. Even people who don’t get full-blown depression in the dark, winter months can have at least a few weeks of feeling pretty…blah.
I happened to be at my parent’s home on Inlet Bay celebrating our extended family’s Christmas on December 20. The sliver of time between 11am and 1pm was light and lovely. It made me think of how few times between the months of December and March we force ourselves outside to take a gander at the dollop of brightness available to us for this special third of the year. For the non-retired among us, even country living doesn’t guarantee interaction with the sun during working hours.
So if you find yourself on Team Blah this winter, I am going to ask you to strong-arm yourself into getting outside during peak sun hours, even when it’s really cold and you’re really busy. Put on your best cozy clothes, wear some sunglasses and just walk. Take a friend or a dog. Make it a playful part of your routine. I was visiting a friend this week who told me her resolution for 2015 was to spend her lunch breaks outside, away from her desk. The benefits, she says, are subtle and cherished.
Happy wintering, Paudash, and I will see you outside!
Ashley White grew up on Paudash Lake. Read more of her writing at www.amindful.ca