HOW TO KICK THE WINTER BLUES

Now that moody skies are an everyday thing, you just want to stay curled in up in the cocoon you made with your duvet more than usual; summer is long gone and no longer can you throw on a T-shirt and bike to wherever; you don’t want to think about how many layers you have to pile on to stay warm, and the last thing you want to do is trudge through dirty slush to get to work. Yes, seasonal depression is a thing. So, I’ve compiled a list of five things to help combat this lack of motivation and dreariness.

1. Stay Active

Yes, I know. Maybe not the first thing you wanted to hear, but now is not the time to lose your workout motivation. Although it may be horrid outside, it’s important to get out there, even if it’s just for a brisk walk. Half an hour outside will help provide a little bit of mood-boosting Vitamin D. If you want some motivation, there are plenty of motivational YouTube videos. But remember, nothing happens if you don’t actually get off your butt and do something.

Trying something new will also help boost your mood and fight total hibernation. Sign up for a workout class you’ve never tried or buy some new colourful leggings to help get through the dreary colour scheme of the next few months. After all, summer bodies are made in the winter.

Photo:sosasha.com/tag/running/
Photo:sosasha.com/tag/running/

2. Plan a Staycation

I can’t stand the cold but some of us don’t have the funds to run away to California to warm our toes for a week. That’s not to say you can’t still get a change in scenery staying where you are. Get away from the city and escape to a cozy cabin for a weekend, or go on a ski trip. Even a trip to the spa will boost your mood.

Or literally stay right where you are, at home. There’s no harm in taking a day off and wrapping yourself up in a blanket, tea in one hand and a book in the other. Just remember to relax. It’s not a day for running errands or catching up on work you didn’t finish. It doesn’t count when your staycation includes you deep-cleaning the house.

Photo: http://www.tiphainemarie.com/2015/12/a-cozy-winter-night-at-home/
Photo: http://www.tiphainemarie.com/2015/12/a-cozy-winter-night-at-home/

3. Eat Chocolate

Let me explain. People who go through Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the winter blues, are more likely to crave a natural amino acid called trytophan, which helps produce the feel-good hormone serotonin. This is produced in our bodies when we’re exposed to sunshine, which, in the winter months, is obviously not as abundant. If you don’t produce enough serotonin, you naturally crave trytophan. The important thing is, it’s found in chocolate. So yes, chocolate can replace sunshine in this way. The amount of trytophan also depends on the amount of cocoa bean content and usually, the more expensive the chocolate, the more cocoa bean content. They also contain less sugar. This means they’re healthier right? So go ahead, indulge.

Just balance it with leafy greens, avocados, oats, eggs and anything rich in vitamins, B, C, and D that will also help boost your mood. 😉

Photo: http://www.godiva.com
Photo: http://www.godiva.com

4. Give

‘Tis the season after all, and what better way to spend it than giving to other people. It’s not just about monetary donations. Spending time at the local shelter helping prepare lunch and volunteering your time not only makes you feel satisfied but also really improves mental health.

Photo: cruxnow.com/
Photo: cruxnow.com/

5. It’s the Holidays. Embrace it

As much as you may want to hibernate all winter, don’t fight the holiday feels. Just give in. Put on an ugly Christmas sweater, make a gingerbread house, play Christmas music on loop and watch Home Alone at the same time. Do all the cliché Christmas things.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there are plenty of things to do around this time you probably don’t get to do the rest of the year. Going out with friends and family will brighten your mood on the darkest of days, even if it’s just for a hot chocolate or a round of ice-skating at Nathan Philips Square.

Photo:http://anotherangle.eu/posts/christmas-nathan-phillips-square-toronto/
Photo: http://anotherangle.eu/posts/christmas-nathan-phillips-square-toronto/

 

Hot List: Ink & Water Tattoo Shop

Toronto’s top contemporary tattoo shop Ink & Water celebrates their one year anniversary this month. Founded by the Instagram-famous Prairie Koo (aka Mr. Koo) and Michael Pecherle, this team is doing things very differently. Located at Bloor and Lansdowne, Ink & Water excels at creating quality tattoos in a clean, safe, and welcoming environment.

Ink & Water has softened the look of the archetypal tattoo shop. Semi-jokingly, the walls boast neon signs of “even grandma approves,” but it’s true. Very much suited to their fine line masterpieces being sported by tattoo aficionados and first timers alike, Ink & Water is championing the world of salons 2.0 – ink being the new form of expression and adornment in the in the realm of beauty.

Tonic Blooms

Tonic Blooms is a Toronto-based online flower delivery service offering a curated selection of seasonal and affordable bouquets, delivered on-demand in as little as two hours. Tonic Blooms sources its flowers from local growers, ensuring they are of the highest quality and freshness to maximize longevity. Bouquets start at $39 and come packaged in Tonic Blooms’ signature denim wrapping, which includes a built-in hydration pack allowing the bouquet to stay fresh before making its way into a vase (great for sending to an office). The focused, online-only selection keeps both waste and expenses low, passing on savings to the customer.

Tonic Blooms Website

Mjolk

mjolk

Started in 2009 by husband-and-wife team John and Juli Baker, Mjolk is a lifestyle shop and gallery, representing work with an emphasis on functionality, craftsmanship, and timelessness. Mjolk specializes in design from Scandinavia and Japan and also produce their own in house object collection which is designed in collaboration with famous international designers such as Claesson Koivisto Rune, Luca Nichetto and Anderssen & Voll.

Location: 2959 Dundas St West, Toronto

Webiste: www.mjolk.ca

Hot List: Maman

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I recently had the opportunity to experience a lovely prix-fixe menu at Parisian cafe restaurant, Maman. Maman is located in the heart of the Financial District in downtown Toronto. The prix-fixe menu is served out on their patio, overlooking the buildings around the area.

To name a few dishes, their prix-fixe 3 course menu featured Grilled Tomato Gazpacho, Croque Maman with Parisian Ham & Comté, Quiche served with mixed greens, as well as Salad Niçoise. Last but not least, the lunch is finished with mini sweet bites and drip coffee or tea of your choice.

Once you step in, the interior of the cafe gives off a rustic Southern France atmosphere, providing a mini escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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To start, I went with the grilled tomato Gazpacho with sweet red peppers and cucumbers. It came with a cute glass cup with some diced tomato and celery topping. The best part about this starter is that it’s served cold, which is perfect for the hot and humid summer days we have been having. After every spoonful it gave a spice kick that was just right.

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Next, came my main course – Salad Niçoise (tuna, tomato, hard boiled egg, anchovies, green beans, black olives, onions, olive oil). Since the other dishes were available for take-out, I opted for a dine-in exclusive dish. The Salad Niçoise was the perfect choice – the olive oil dressing enhanced the flavours of each element of the dish.

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For one, who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, the sweet bites were definitely tasty! It complimented my unsweetened iced tea while balancing out my palette.

Enjoying a delicious prix-fixe lunch out on the patio in the heart of the Financial District really was the highlight of my day. I really recommend you try it out before summer is over! Their prix-fixe lunch happens every Friday on the patio from 11:30AM – 2PM.

Location: First Canadian Place, 100 King St W, Toronto, On M5X2A2

Phone: 416-216-6767

Social media: Facebook & Twitter: @mamantoronto | Instagram: @_mamantoronto_

UNTITLED by Flaunt Boutique

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Flaunt Boutique expanded their hair salon culture with the launch of their new salon located at 792 Queen Street East. UNTITLED by Flaunt Boutique is committed to working one­-on­-one to beautify the community in a environmentally sustainable manner while designing personal looks to make guests feel and look their best.

For more information or to book an appointment, contact the salon at 416 469 5454