I live in the land of skidoos, maple syrup, once-upon-a-time igloos and the current Nobel Laureate for Literature, the Grande Dame of the short story Alice Munro.
This unequivocally means I am Canadian. Most of you already know this.
In Toronto, where I reside, winters are brutal and the summers are sweltering. We are a city of extremes but, living through 23 years of these dueling seasons has not made me anymore prepared for this winter.
In November, the sly Canadian cold front just snuck up on me. I mean, I knew intellectually it was coming, but emotionally I wasn’t ready for it.
Sunless days left me shaking my fists at overcast skies and staring blankly at the frozen tundra of my neighborhood from my balcony.
It depressed me actually.
My plan was to hide away in my condo-cave for the next 3 months at least. Wake me up in the spring, people!
It also left me feeling UNINSPIRED.
And, there is no worse fate for an aspiring writer/poet than that.
I found myself unmotivated and needing an emergency dose of Vitamin D…
It got me wondering how many others might be suffering from the winter blues like I have and this made me think about how we might conquer them together by using some strategic supplementation.
Here are the Vitamin D’s of remaining inspired when your creative juices have frozen over:
DAYDREAMING: All hail the power of daydreaming! Imagination can be a powerful thing. I rely on my imagination to expand the current harshness of my realities and transport me into the realms of possibility. I take time to sit and think, write down some outlandish concepts, Google ideas and then dream some more regarding my short and long-term goals. Purposeful daydreaming can take you from a place of “blah” to a place of “aha!”
DAILY WALKS: Sunshine is essential for the production of Vitamin D which can improve your mood. Some people even go so far as to buy a sunlamp when they are stuck indoors on a project or are night owls like yours truly. Getting some daylight in during the morning hours can improve your sleep/wake cycle. A daily dose of sun always improves one’s sense of fun.
DRINK UP: Whether it’s winter or it’s summer, drinking enough liquid is important in keeping your energy levels up by hydrating all your systems so that they can go full steam ahead. Drinking enough water will also keep your skin protected from the cold temps. It can be the difference between you wilting and you wowing.
DAMN THAT SUGAR: Sugar suppresses your immune system, sends your mood on wild roller coaster rides and can even interrupt your sleep. It also causes wrinkles which, only adds to the angst of already dry winter skin. More signiff** is the sugar-induced brain fog that totally shrouds the brilliance of your creativity and numbs the flow. Cut it out or, be vigilant about your sugar intake. And, just incase you didn’t know it yet - You’re sweet enough.
DELIBERATE DELIGHTING: It’s all a matter of perspective. For our Winter Olympic-bound athletes, winter is where they blossom. And, there is beauty to be found in the drama of the snow, delicate ice formations, the crisp air and artistically moody landscapes. Tons of fantastic winter activities to be had as well in order to keep your spirits up when the thermometer hits its breathtaking lows.
DRAB TO FAB: Wear outrageous colour! Why do we wear vibrant colours during the spring and summer when nature spreads out her painter’s palette before us already? We should try to liven up this monotone winter canvas with all those wild colours we wear when spring is showing off her cheeky greens and summer her audacious blooms.
DRESS TO IMPRESS: Get proper winter gear. So many people avoid going outside and enjoying winter because they don’t have a coat that is warm enough, or boots that have good traction for walking on icy sidewalks, an awesome pair of gloves, scarf and hat…long johns. It seems elementary, my dear but, that’s what has stopped me in the past – not being dressed for the occasion. Get decked out properly or the wind chill will deck you out with one swipe of its icy tentacles.
DIAL A FRIEND: I do it every winter. Become a semi shut-in. All work and no play makes Priya a dull girl. And, I strangely forget that ultimately we are social creatures, but it’s so cold outside that I fool myself into thinking that I don’t need to get out and paint the town red with a pal or two. Keep in touch with your peeps and reach out and touch somebody. Do something for someone, volunteer and do some good. Check out www.coldestnightoftheyear.org – a perfect goody two-boots winter idea!
DO IT: I do feel the urge to hibernate. And, eat thick beefy stews chock-full of potato chunks, curl up into a ball on one corner of my couch and stay there til mid-March. But, fight the urge! I found that working with my hands, keeping little projects on the go and taking the time to organize dusty corners of my "cave" to be a helpful exercise in taming the sleepy winter bear within.
DARE: To get the blood pumping rather than clumping in the cold, do something daring. Do something that scares you, do something extreme, that excites you and feel the red hot heat of facing a challenge head on. Banish the banality of doing less and experience the warm rush of adrenaline by getting out there and doing something you’ve never attempted before!
Knock the edge off winter with these small, but mighty daily doses of “Vitamin D”.
Feeling that refreshing avalanche of inspiration and keeping creatively motivated is paramount in maintaining that sense of being on the mountain top instead of fossilized in permafrost for the next few months.
For all the sun worshipers out there and lovers of temperate climes, using these useful tips could turn a Woeful Winter into a Winter Wonderland.
If you’re reading this, however, and you’re lounging about by a pool with coconuts in sight within earshot of some beach with crystal clear waters languorously stroking the shore, perhaps in some paradise like Bora Bora or Koh Samui (yeah, you know who you are ;) - let’s just say…
I FORGIVE YOU! hehehe
Got anymore tips? Fabu! Share them in the comment section below…
**signiff = significant
by Priya Devalia
Copyright ©PRIYA H. DEVALIA 2013 All rights reserved