Peter's birthday was a couple of days ago and we had a nice, mellow day with family and friends. I made some of Peter's favourite meals; waffles for breakfast and tomato soup for lunch with my sister in law - and in the evening we got to hang out with our good friends for dinner and a movie. It was his "champagne" birthday which means he turned the age of his birth day (28 on the 28th). So of course we finished the evening with a glass of champagne to celebrate, which by the way, is thoroughly disgusting. I just cannot drink the stuff, I've tried the cheap $6 stuff and the pricey $$$ stuff and I just don't enjoy it. I think I will be sticking to my wine for any future events. By the way - I have a new found love of red wine, but I'll discuss that more later.
Anyway, Peter's birthday is always a marker of the end of fall for me - Do you know what follows it? That's right, it’s the end of daylight savings on November 2nd at 2am. Which can be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of sleeper you are and what your regular schedule looks like.
The end of daylight savings means that you get an extra hour of light in the morning, so for people who get up early for work, this will be great. You will no longer have to leave the house in complete darkness. But it also means that you lose an hour of light in the evening. This is hard for people like me who are not naturally early risers – it means that I am getting much less light throughout the day than I should, and it really affects my mood.
I actually dread this time of year. I’ve always had a bit of love-hate relationship with November. Leaning more towards the latter- it only gets a little bit of love now around the 20th because of our anniversary. Over the years I have had a harder and harder time getting through our cold, dark winters and November feels like the start of it all. I feel tired more often, less cheerful, and just plain blue, although I have never been to a doctor about it, I’m pretty sure that I have some degree of SAD.
December is probably the easiest of all the winter months. I absolutely LOVE the first few snowfalls and they bring me intense amounts of joy. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year and is usually when I am most surrounded by family and friends. So for the most part December is cheery and bright and my heart feels full. But after Christmas comes January and February, months in which I don’t really look forward to much (except maybe Spring), and they are usually the coldest. By this time I am tired of the lack of light, and this is usually when I start contemplating what living in Florida would be like, and how I would get my dogs there, how much houses costs and if I really and truly love oranges or disney or alligators.
So November has increasingly become a source of anxiety for me – and the end of daylight savings feels like that moment when you get strapped into your seat on a rollercoaster - when you know what’s coming but its too late to change your mind and you just have to deal.
This year though, I am DETERMINED to work through the winter as best I can. I figure, when you are on that rollercoaster, you have to make a decision- choose to either keep your eyes open, have the most fun you can and feel strong at the end of it or close your eyes, feel miserable and sick and probably throw up at the end.
So I’m choosing to work on enjoying everyday this winter because life is too damn short. Starting with changing my attitude about the end of daylight savings.
Note* This obviously isn’t the solution for everyone…maybe not even for me, SAD is serious and sometimes these things require medical intervention and that’s ok too. But for now, I’m going to focus on lifestyle changes and see where that takes me.
I am using the end of daylight savings as a way to measure current habits, and form or adjust new ones. Instead of seeing it as the “end of sunshine” as I’ve called it before. I plan on taking this time to re-evaluate various aspects of my day to day, primarily;
1. Sleep Habits
There is no better time than now to adjust your sleep schedule. I am focusing on getting as many daylight, sunshiney hours as possible this winter. Which means taking advantage of this extra hour to sleep now. *Parents remember that your kids’ only clock is internal – which means that if they are used to waking up at 6, they’ll actually be waking you up at 5 now. So if you want that extra hour, start putting them to bed 15-30 minutes later now and hopefully they’ll sleep in and so will you.
2. Exercise Habits
I usually don’t get out as much during the winter, but when I do get out and am active I always feel better. I am going to focus on not using the cold as an excuse to stay indoors. I also will not care how stupid I look - I am going to fully bundled like the michelin man and be prepared for anything this winter has to throw at me. I haven’t fully decided yet, but maybe I will attempt some sort of sport – skiing? I don't know, maybe just tubing - Either way I will get my butt outdoors.
3. Eating Habits
I just plain old suck at this. I figure this is one I’ll take week by week and adjust as I go, small steps seem to work better for me in this area and I’m currently working on healthy meals that stay within our budget.
4. Heart Habits
Christmas brings me joy because of what it means to me in terms of my faith – as well as how much time I get to spend with people I love. I spend more time contemplating the things that really matter to me and feeling gratitude more than anything else. Last year I participated in a 52 days of gratitude challenge and it really did give me perspective and fill me with joy. I want to carry that with me throughout the winter and not just at Christmas, so whether it be through the same type of challenge, a journal or just verbalizing it everyday, I plan to make it a priority.
Im curious, are you guys winter lovers? (is there such a thing) or do you struggle like me? and what do you do to stay active and healthy?