Hibernate or Cuddle by the Fire?
by Robin McGrath
It is that time of year again when all the leaves have abandoned the trees and the icy bite of winter's cold begins to sink deeper into our bones with each progressive temperature drop. Although there might be a tendency to want to hibernate, there is also an extra desire to meet someone (for those who don't yet have a significant other) to share the cold winter months with.
Because of the significant decrease in daylight, our serotonin (the happy hormone that regulates mood) levels decrease due to the amount of sunlight we are now not getting exposure to. And the colder temperatures cause our body temperature to drop as well, which then triggers a craving reaction for carbohydrate-rich foods (comfort food) that will help our body heat up quickly but can also add extra pounds that we didn't necessarily want to gain. But these are things that we can change and once we do maybe we can learn to embrace winter and find ourselves someone to cuddle with by the fire.
Eating high-protein foods that contain nutrients to increase serotonin levels like steak, fish, and eggs can help reduce the amount of comfort foods you might otherwise turn to. Making a plan to get some light in your eyes can also help combat your serotonin decrease. And the easiest way to do that is by getting outside during daylight hours.
If you can find winter activities that you enjoy, you can accomplish three things at once. First, winter activities will help get you outside during daylight hours and help get that light in your eyes to combat your serotonin dip. Second, it can also help you burn off any weight you may have gained while enjoying you favourite comfort food during your state of hibernation. And third, it provides you with opportunities to get out there and meet people with similar interests.
The trick to being able to embrace the winter cold though is to dress for it. Don't be afraid to bundle up. Winter gear isn't what it used to be - all function but no form. These days it is quite fashion conscious from you tuque to your boots.
Once you're bundled up and ready to embrace the cold there are all kinds of fun things you can do outside, while on a date. If it's snowy you can build a snowman, a snow fort, make snow-angels, have a snowball fight, or go for a nice walk and enjoy the quiet that always seems to accompany a gentle snow fall. You can also go skating, snowboarding, skiing (downhill and cross-country), tobogganing, and tubing, if your budget allows. And these are all also great excuses to enjoy a warm mug of hot chocolate sitting by the fire afterwards. Furthermore, research indicates that people feel a stronger connection to another person after participating in a physical activity together.
Now you know what you can do to fight your natural desire to hibernate during these icy, cold, months. You're no longer a slave to your physiology. And you don't have to avoid the arctic temperatures anymore. You can get out there and find yourself someone to cuddle with by the fire.