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How to bring light into your life this month

As we approach the winter solstice and are facing the shortest and darkest days of the year, December can be a cold and gloomy time.You may be feeling a bit run down and zapped of energy, not just from the darkness but also from the stress of the holiday season and the constant demands on your time.While you can’t control the weather, there are things you can do to help brighten your mood and lighten your outlook. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

Light up your life
Maximize the natural light available to you. During the daytime, keep the curtains open and sit near the window. If that doesn’t help, you can try using a light therapy lamp. In some communities, you can even borrow one from your local library. Spending just a half hour each day in the glow of the lamp can help regulate your mood and keep seasonal affective disorder (SAD) at bay.

Make it cosy
At a time when we could all use a little extra light, be sure to put out the twinkle lights and candles (battery-operated ones are safe to use if you have pets or kids). Have a candle as the centrepiece on your kitchen table or countertop to bring some warmth and glow into your daily routine – just remember to practise basic candle safety.

Prioritize self-care
Spending more time inside can be a chance to reconnect with self-care rituals and activities you enjoy. Create an evening or a morning routine that includes things like journaling, practising mindfulness and moving your body. Make time for a relaxing hobby, like knitting, painting or yoga. To help warm you up from the inside, make a point of eating nourishing meals. Haul out the slow cooker and fill your home with the aromas of homemade soup or stew.

Take it outside
The days may be short and dark, but entire streetscapes across Nova Scotia are beaming with lights and festive decorations this time of year. Head outside for a walk to take in the sights or attend a tree-lighting ceremony in your area. Or go for a stroll in the woods or your local park – the fresh air and movement will help lighten your mood and boost your energy.

Focusing on small changes like this can make a world of a difference, no matter how dark the days become. Remember: Once Dec. 21 passes, daylight hours start increasing and spring will be here before you know it.

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