Finding light in the darkest time

Tips and tricks for surviving winter melancholy

Happy winter, folks. Are you a winter person? I am decidedly not. Spring is my jam — the renewal of life, freshness (no mosquitos yet)… what is not to love? But just as the harvest season sends gardeners into a flurry of action, returning to academic life every fall really pushes the #grindmentality. As summer dries up, many of us are left wrong-footed once the frost comes. I want to push, work, and move, even as my body wants to slow down. It hit me hard this year. The darkness. The cold. The isolation. Every summer it seems my mind and body forget the slog of the opposite season and I struggle to adapt anew. So, to hopefully teach you from my mistakes (and as a reminder you are not alone), I have compiled a list of what helps make this season just a little easier. 


The solution for me is ever-growing; I genuinely believe there are lessons to learn in the seasons, a cycle my ancestors followed, survived, and thrived in for millennia. These recent years have been a choice to find value in what a season offers me. If I cannot have long, warm days, or an abundance of green and growth, then I must instead accept and treasure what is around me. Winter is a time for comfort, I am learning. Winter is a time for slowing down and closeness, connection, and storytelling. It is a time for savouring little details, and choosing to find joy and light as the earth rests and recovers.


In terms of slowing my body down, I while away the dark hours through art: both creating it and consuming it. In terms of the former, there is so much to explore: crafts like knitting, crochet, drawing, sewing, and more keep my hands busy and off social media. I can do these while watching TV, listening to music, or around good company. To feel less alone, I write: journaling, bad poetry, stories, and read stories of every kind.


To nourish my body and soul, tentative explorations into cooking have reaped great successes. Recipes such as homemade bread (easier than it sounds) and tomato soup (incredibly adaptable) are not as difficult as they seem, once tried; shared with others they taste even better. 


Winter offers many unique seasonal activities, including snowshoeing, outdoor skating, sledding (which you are never too old for), visiting spring maple sugar shacks, and more time for stargazing. I have fond memories of following the winter constellation Orion through the sky each clear night. In looking up we find something to celebrate in the night. 


Finally, and perhaps most importantly: leaning into my community. Every day these last months has been a reminder that the people around me are invaluable. Accepting affection and care can be challenging for many of us. But turning to my loved ones, for company, entertainment, even the joy of platonic touch is a lifesaver. Working alongside a friend, hosting movie nights, brief walks for an hour of sun — someone else can make the cold a bit less fierce. 

Ranz Bontogon – Argosy Photographer

Hold fast, readers. Relish the warmth around you, and celebrate your loved ones. Create your own light, and gaze at the stars. A Hadestown reference for the theatre crowd: Spring will come again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles