A Toronto Transformation

How to Beat the Winter Blahs

snow-covered City of Toronto Bench at the waterfront

It’s getting to that point in the winter where it’s hard to remember a time when Toronto didn’t seem to be auditioning for the part of Narnia under the rule of scary Tilda Swinton.

I can see my friends and myself getting a bit batty about the unrelenting winter.

So what can we do when we can’t afford to catch a jet to Australia?

I’ve got a few ideas:

Canada Goose Graffiti

I got excited because I saw some actual Canada geese as well as this guy this weekend. Then I realized they were flying south. Because winter is never leaving.

How to Beat the Winter Blahs

1. Get out in it!

Unless you live in the Arctic, in which case you are probably laughing your head off at Torontonians like myself being utter babies about a proper frostbitey winter, odds are that while it might be impolitely cold out there, there are at least a few days when it’s not blisteringly windy, dark or dangerously cold. And when those days arrive, throw off your heated blankets, pull on six pairs of socks and seize them! You’ll be calmer and sleep better with some fresh air and a winter walk under your belt.

snow-covered bridge in Toronto

I spent my weekend on this bridge entreating the sky to reveal the sun to us. No dice. But at least I got some fresh air!

And on that note…

2. Don’t skip exercise.

I’ve been finding it much more difficult to get my butt to Barreworks these days. The thought of how much work it takes just to walk there on treacherously slippery sidewalks has me exhausted before I’ve even begun, but staying in the habit is easier than trying to re-start the habit. Plus that exercise-induced serotonin hit is a pretty unbeatable mood booster! If you’re in Toronto, try combining 1 and 2 and get your exercise at DJ skate night at Harbourfront!

3. Wear the right gear.

Maybe I’m just getting ancient before my time but when I walk by groups of women miserably huddled together outside a bar, bare legs nearly blue from the cold, I am convinced that I was never young or drunk enough to dress so colossally inappropriately for the weather. I shiver sympathetically, and burrow deeper into the layers of sweaters and fleece-lined leggings under my down coat. Miami this is not, my friends. And no amount of wishful thinking and bandage dresses in December will make it so.

4. Invest in a light therapy “Happy Lamp.”

I’ve never used one myself, but I have a couple of friends who suffer from seasonal affective disorder who swear that sitting in front of one of these bad boys makes a huge difference in their mood throughout the winter months.

5. Hibernate as needed.

Invest in board games and hot chocolate (or host a clothing swap like I did this weekend) to lure friends over for days when you just can’t make yourself brave the cold, or give yourself permission to binge watch something (I recommend season one of Orphan Black if you haven’t watched it  yet). Or you can always do a bit of both: brave the cold and get some exercise and then spend the rest of the day holed up in a cozy, cheerful pub, ideally with a roaring fireplace

The Yukon, Toronto

How do you guys keep from becoming cranky weirdos in the deepest, darkest winter? I’d love to see more tips in the comments!

9 Responses to How to Beat the Winter Blahs

  • Erin says:

    Great suggestions! I actually use many of them myself and they help a lot.

    One thing I find that helps is taking vitamin D3. It gives me the energy I need to survive this brutal weather.

    I also putting music on in the morning when I first wake up. It gets me dancing, which prevents me from crawling back under the cozy covers, and it puts me in a good mood. There’s nothing like frying up some eggs to Beyoncé to put a little skip in your day!

    • metamorphocity says:

      Oooh. Yeah. Maybe I need to switch up my morning CBC listening habit and get dancing. I do love to get my dose of news, but the constant weather updates don’t really help me to quit focusing on the cold.

  • Amy says:

    This year, I started taking a fish oil supplement with vitamin D every day and have noticed a big change in my mood. I haven’t been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, but am pretty sure I have it – this winter has been way better. I work for Ascenta so naturally I am going to plug their products 🙂 but the one I use is here and it tastes awesome – http://www.ascentahealth.com/products/human/nutrasea-d/

    Going to the gym regularly helps too. And on a more superficial note, getting manicures. For some reason having pretty hands makes the dregs of winter a little less hideous.

    • metamorphocity says:

      That’s so funny! I just started taking fish oil supplements again as I’d forgotten about them of late. Hopefully they’ll help! I’m going to take your advice and get a manicure too. Can’t hurt, right?

  • Haha, hiberate is probably the best word choice for number 5. While you need to be prepared for it and face it head on, there’s definitely something to be said for a great mug of hot chocolate. (Said the girl with 5″ of snow outside of her front door right now.)

  • Rachel says:

    I don’t live in winter any more (praaaaaise the lord!) but the last winter I lived there was the longest, dreariest winter of my life – I started going to hot yoga, and it saved me. I got to feel like I was in the jungle and reclaim some sanity at the same time.

    • metamorphocity says:

      Yes! That’s such a good tip! I’ve stopped doing Bikram but I might need to take up some form of hot yoga again, at least for the winter months. It’s awful when you can’t seem to get the chill out of your bones.

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