Embracing and Celebrating this Winter Solstice
Wendy Turriff

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”  
- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

As we transition to the winter season, for many, the days and weeks leading up to and after the winter solstice can bring feelings of low-energy, glumness, and winter “doldrums.” The longest, darkest nights and shortest days can affect our moods, decreasing our motivation, and making us feel more irritable. 

What can we do to support the low moods that afflict many of us during the winter months? Mental health professionals provide many tips to steady your mood and motivation throughout the winter months:

  • Prioritize regular movement/exercise, aiming for 30 minutes, three times a week
  • Maintain your social relationships, interacting with friends and family on a regular basis
  • Enjoy the outdoors and natural light; go for a walk during a break or at lunch if you work during the day
  • If you are able, travel to a place where you can soak up sunlight and warmth
  • Talk to a physician about using a light therapy box in the morning, especially if getting outdoors when it's light outside is challenging for your schedule
  • Increase your Vitamin D intake

We can also find ways to lift our moods by asking how we can embrace and celebrate the winter solstice. At this time of transition, perhaps we can pause and reflect: as many aspects of nature rest in the winter, how might we find ways to slow things down and invite more relaxation into our own lives? What comforts would soothe us during the darkness and chill of winter? Are there any intentions we might like to set for ourselves on this unique day? Specifically, is there anything we’d like to let go of when half our planet is tilted farthest from the sun, anything new we might like to embrace? 

Light is a powerful symbol of the winter solstice, and we can welcome it by exposing ourselves to as much natural light as possible during the day. At night, candles can light our spaces, bringing us warmth and brightness. Thinking optimistically, December the 22nd represents the day we will stop losing daily sunlight and start to increase it! 

Wishing you rest and reflection on the solstice and this winter break with the hope of brighter days ahead. 

Contributed by Ms. Wendy Turriff, RCC, Junior School Counsellor