A recent article in the Montreal Gazette touched on the winter blues, cabin fever, and how people deal with the shortening and darkening of the days in winter. The article goes into some serious psychological effects but also touches on some simple ways to counteract the gray winter at home...
- Light candles at dinner (and breakfast, too). From Montreal Gazette writer, Stephanie Whittaker: ...I turn to a custom I started a few years back: the lighting of dinner candles. Every night from the beginning of November to about the end of March, I burn a grouping of about eight tea lights in little glass holders while dining. The very act of lighting them and then watching them burn throughout dinner gives me what my friend, Phillipa Rispin, calls "armour against the dark days."
- Hang decorative lighting like IKEA's star-shaped string lights...Rispin says, "Every year on St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6...I hang six strings in my living-room window. There are eight little star-shaped lights on each string, and they stay up until the vernal equinox on March 20, because that's the day that the days become longer than the nights. When I look at the lights, I realize that there will be a time when I'll happily take them down. They're symbolic of both defiance and hope."
- Use a full-spectrum light box like Philips goLITE BLU...Philips research manager Dan Adams says...boosting exposure to blue light boosts the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone that is more abundant in our bodies during the summer. The goLITE BLU can be propped on a desk.
- Clean up...Joyce Shanks, a Dollard des Ormeaux reflexologist, spends as much time as possible in November cleaning up her garden for the coming winter. She says it gives her a chance to be outdoors in natural light. "I used to get bummed at this time of year. But my system is more balanced now. I eat better and that helps."
How do you beat the dark days of winter? Do you have any home rituals that bring a little extra light inside? If you're in the office before sunrise and returning home after dark, are there any extra efforts you make in the winter to squeeze in a little outdoor time each day or bring a little boost into the office?
Photos: Damaso Reyes, Danny Seo, Livingthecountrylife.com