Making it through the worst winter months

Beating the winter blues

There are lots of memes out there about January feeling like it has so many more days than 31.

It seems everyone feels the year starts slowly, and with the usual dose of winter weather that puts them in a funk. If you aren’t escaping to a beach somewhere, most marketing messages will tell you you’re depressed.

The good news is, it’s almost over. The bad news is, February comes next.

If you’re a ski bum, you probably don’t care what month we’re in. You’re busy sinking into whatever powder or backcountry trail you can find. I don’t need to cheer you up. You likely have a pot of stew on the cabin stove and a bottle of good wine at the ready. Carry on. (If you need inspiration for what to cook at the cabin, scroll back a few weeks to my “comfort food” column.)

But what about those of us in that funk? We can’t be eating stew and bread pudding all winter. Even if we’re eating healthy, we need more diversion to break up those dark days. I think that’s why February has Carnival (or Mardi Gras if you’re in New Orleans). January is a bit tougher, so perhaps a wee dose of melancholy is in order?

By the time you read this, (Robbie) Burns Night will have passed. So, I hope you had your wee dram of scotch and sat by the fire with some good poetry if you didn’t enjoy a Burns supper. It’s not a fancy meal, but it pays great tribute to Scotland’s national poet. The Scots are good at melancholy (I would know, I’m half Scottish.)

So, if you feel the need to have a tardy celebration, here’s the gist of it. Burns was apparently fond of haggis – he even wrote a poem about it. (In case you aren’t familiar with it, haggis is basically a Scottish version of meatloaf. It is served with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips, called “tatties” and “neeps” respectively.) That is the menu for a Burns supper, along with the scotch whiskey for toasting, of course.

If you missed the occasion and want to offer your sentiment, “Sláinte Mhath” is the phrase used (pronounced “slant-ja va”), meaning “good health”

Another celebration upon us soon will be the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year, starting with the new moon (Febr. 8 this year). Many people prepare by thoroughly cleaning their houses, as a way of getting rid of any lingering bad luck. If you’re feeling unlucky, perhaps this would help you. I’m thinking it certainly couldn’t hurt. I have started with my closets.

If you are feeling the January blues and have no interest in celebrating at an event, you might want to consider the suggestion from the National Health System in Wales, called “Five Ways of Wellbeing”:

1. Take real notice of the things around you

2. Connect with someone important to you or perhaps someone you don’t know

3. Be physically active

4. Learn something new

5. Give something of value to someone else. That could be in the form of giving your time or something of material value.

Perhaps the thing to do in the dead of winter is just pause and celebrate your own little victories such as trying a new recipe or reading a good book. Maybe take the time to catch up with an old friend or start a new hobby.

Even making the effort to share a smile on a winter day gives value and before we know it, we’ll have made it through to spring. We’ve got this.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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