Cece D does Shambhala-When it Comes to Tackling Your Bucket List, Make Sure You Include A Music Festival!

Me in My Furries, My Cousin channeling his inner Gangsta

It’s been a long time since I shared another Tale from my past, so I think my readers are due for yet another moment to over-share.

If you have been reading Talez From a Broad for some time you would be familiar with how I experienced a bit of a delay with regards to “Living My Best Life”, as I spent the entirety of my 20’s parenting. Those who are parents themselves can attest to the amount of energy, time and sacrifice that goes into that role. It is one of the most thankless jobs in the world, but one of the most essential roles. This can be a heavy weight to bare, especially for those who are doing it alone, or facing the varying complexities that come along with rearing a child. Mine had her own set of challenges, so if anyone can relate, This Broad Can.

I have no regrets in how I carried out my responsibilities and in fact, I never felt like I was ever missing out on anything during that time. In reality, completing University, and building my career, along with having a husband at that time with Multiple Sclerosis left me little desire to take on much more. Read More Here.

Things began to grow around me; my child was now a teen and began wanting her independence from me. My career flourished and my salary began to give me some freedoms to travel more and experience many firsts, including my first “Girls Trip” at the age of 30. There were other things in my life at that time which were not so great either, such as the breakdown of my marriage and mental health as I struggled with my partners moods and cognitive and physical decline related to his MS. I admittedly used travel  and crazy impulsive Vegas Trips to cope with the loneliness and sadness I felt during this period. It was a way to escape and decompress, and I would do it at any cost.

So it would come as no surprise that I’d be game for anything someone presented to me that allowed me escape from the doom and gloom of my home life. Sure enough, my cousin had presented me with yet another opportunity- SHAMBHALA.

Now to those who do not know what Shambhala is let me educate you. Shambhala is an annual Music Festival held during the last week in July at the Salmo River Ranch, a 500-acre farm, in the West Kootenay mountains near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.  Shambhala Music Festival was born from a vision as grassroots as it gets. On a sunny Labour Day weekend back in 1998, some 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch for a party that showcased local art and music. From those early, heady days, Shambhala grew with enthusiasm by word of mouth, quickly becoming a staple event for the West Coast underground electronic music scene. Today it attracts world renowned DJs and artists and some of the most eclectic, energetic fans in the universe. The festival is fueled by Shambhalove which shines bright to this day. Shambhala Music Festival is cutting edge in its production and does not accept any corporate sponsorship. This allows the festival to retain a true reflection of the people on the dance floor and their vision of what their community looks like. This mission is important to hold down as electronic dance music culture has moved into the mainstream where opportunistic corporations have threatened to water it down. In this respect, this festival’s community is like no other. You will not see one advertisement or corporate logo on the farm.

By 2010, 15,000 guests, artists and crew were coming to dance and be free in the wilds of interior British Columbia. Today, people come to enjoy the festival’s focus of providing amazing art, music and life changing experiences.

Shambhala Music Festival is an annual event not to be missed, boasting six uniquely themed stages, each managed by their own Stage Director. All Stage Directors will book their talent, dream up the stage’s vibe and deliver unforgettable experiences year after year. The festival features the best in electronic and live music from around the globe and our very talented backyard. Ultimately, Shambhala Music Festival is a celebration of music, art and life, steeped in one of the most beautiful festival venues in the world.

“Shambhalove” is a unique community that has grown and strengthened over the years. Through its evolution, one clear value has remained constant – to continue to be the backdrop for an unparalleled, life-changing experience. Shambhala Music Festival is committed to retaining a true reflection of the people on the dancefloor by not accepting corporate sponsorship on a Farmily-run paradise. There is a dedication to foster a caring and inclusive community-based atmosphere, Shambhala Music Festival strives to provide a safe environment to celebrate amazing music, art, culture, creativity, and self-expression. Believing in the power of nature, synchronicity, and the moments in between, Shambhala continues to be a magical place everyone can call HOME year after year – it’s all about the people on the dancefloor!

Now you may be wondering why a 32 year old woman would be enticed by such a festival, especially if she had not necessarily identified as having a “Shamba-love” kind of attitude. In fact, affection and unbridled love from strangers makes me extremely uncomfortable and taps into an awkwardness that is cringeworthy. However, it was the music I was after as I’m a huge Electronic music fan, and in general a lover of all forms of art, music and live shows. I was also comforted by the idea that there was a large group of friends, family and acquaintances that were going. Surely they would protect me from any unsolicited hugs or hand holding.

Check Out the Shambhala Gallery

Now given that I had already been exposed through friends to a lot of the Calgary “Burners”- A “burner” to me is someone who has been to burningman & somehow feels a sense of kinship with the other people that go there. Someone who in addition to dreaming of being back in Black Rock City, internalizes any combination of the following traits: – free-range creativity. – having fun with your life.

While we did not always share the same passions and priorities, I envied their lifestyle. They carried what it was that I perceived as what it may feel like to be free. Free to make choices that felt good for them, free from financial constraints that dictated their lives, free from a lot of the responsibilities I carried in general. And while there are some festival go-ers that are just like me- these guys are the real deal. As in they live to make money to go to the next festival to be with their community and nurture their paths to feeling whole and fulfilled.

So as the weeks lead up to the festival, I would be schooled on everything Shambhala. The one thing I did not have was a tickle trunk of Shambhala costumes. And while this is a hub for acceptance- you would stand out if you were not naked or dressed like a flower girl cross bred with a cyber punk that was experiencing an identity crisis as a Furry. And as person who takes wardrobe selection very seriously I had some shopping to do. This task would prove harder than initially anticipated- its hard to find attire like that whereby it doesn’t look contrived or that I raided the Urban Planet clearance section looking for everything neon. I was starting to consider Nudity as an option- at least I knew where to find pasties. I was successful in deriving my own twist on wardrobe and made it my own. I may have overindulged and bought the Spirit Hood, which I would later love myself for. Firstly, With every purchase of a Spirit Hood, they donate a portion of profits to the conservation of endangered animals and their habitat. Secondly, it just so happens that this place mid summer not only gets insanely hot, but it also gets bone chillingly cold at night- and when your naked, you need to keep your extremities warm.

Ida and My Cousin

The next bit of planning that was required was the accomodations. At the farm, there are a few options that you can stay. You can stay off the Farm and enter the festival daily while enjoying a hot shower and all the other amenities of the 1st world. If you are staying on the grounds, you can either tent it or trailer it. Seeing as I didn’t have a trailer, nor would anyone trust a group of festival goer’s with theirs, a tent was our only option. I was lucky to have recruited my good friend Ida as a tent mate. Ida not only was a Shambhala veteran, but also could appreciate my vision to create a little Oasis where we could actually sleep feeling good and not hate our life choices in the morning. We had brought full fledged blow up twin beds, plenty of cozy down comforters and down pillows, both scoffing at the idea of crambing into a sleeping bag. We packed Tylenol, wet wipes, band-aids,cleaning products, nutritional snacks and electrolyte drinks that would foster regularity as to not experience any kind of bloat…seeeing as nakedness may occur. Level Expert.

Our tent was lit up by carefully placed colorful lanterns that created an inviting ambience when seeking refuge from the masses. The only downfall was the placement of our tent, where it sat along one of the main routes in the camping area. I had not anticipated the number of people that would topple into our tent as I’d hear nitrous cartridges get sucked into their lungs, and consequently would find their way onto my tent and inadvertently in bed with me. I’ve never encountered so many strangers in bed until this weekend.

And for those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, these uninvited guests were doing Whippets- also known as whippits or whip-its, a term used to describe the nitrous oxide charger that is used in whipped cream dispensers. These whipped cream canisters help push out the whipped cream, but they are not always just used for dessert. Because the nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” in whippets can have euphoric effects, some people will inhale the gas to get high. Although breathing in gas from a whipped cream dispenser may seem harmless, whippet abuse is a type of inhalant abuse. It can be incredibly dangerous and even fatal. This would be my first time seeing this in my life. It would go on all night. Not my Jam, but someone else’s peanut butter.

I don’t think “roughing it” was ever in my nature- and while our tent set up was clearly superior than others less fixated on their comforts, it was hot AF during the day in there and still so cold at night. Oddly, one night my cousin and I wound up in someone else’s camp who had hammocks that we wound up in. I woke up with a layer of frost on my body while he woke up with two girls in his, keeping him warm. Until this day we still do not recall how we got there, or who those girls were that obligingly saved him from frost bite. Additionally, my cousin may argue this, but I am the better looking of us, so you’d think I would have been blessed with some human blankets as well?

But please for not one minute, allow my 42 year old self try to convince you that I did not have the time of life. My tone may come cross that way only because as I reflect upon this experience, exhaustion floods my body at the thought of enduring this Party Marathon. It was in fact nothing short of a marathon fueled by the exhilarating light shows which is the most important aspect as every stage curates their own lineup with their own budget. It was sometimes difficult to choose between the stacked line-up of artists but for the most part where you go is dictated by the vibe you are after.

My favorite somewhat underrated thing about the permanent infrastructure is that there is seating everywhere. On the outskirts of the stage areas, there’s benches on almost every tree. You can be fully immersed in the stage and the sound, but be taking a break. I would always have someone with me to roam the winding paths between stages, sometimes getting lost within the flow, as if I was floating on the Milky Way. Every now and again I’d come across a Super Nova that would explode with Bass Drops that would vibrate through your body, heightening whatever high you were on, even if it was just life.

The mornings I would take advantage of the quiet calm, in adddition, Ida and I would use this time to bathe ourselves in the river using all the banned soaps and shampoos our bodies needed. With the backdrop of the Kootnay Mountains and our earthy bare asses, it could have been the perfect Irish Spring Commercial. Food trucks and Coffee vendors were empty and I’d fuel my body with most delicious coffee and nourishment required to take on the next 22 hours of play that lay ahead.

During the day we’d lay out and sunbathe topless while a random penis would hit my peripheral vision. By the end of the weekend, genitals would not even stir a second look. By this point, I think the Shambha-Love was soaking into my being, and admittedly I may have even broke through my awkwardness- bursting my personal bubble space entirely. I now shared a bubble with 15,000 people- and I tried to hug them all.

And while the use of substances at this festival is something that is common practice, it should not overshadow that this festival is a haven of soul-filling activities. Jarett Lopez from The Daily Hive captured quite a few of those things in 17 things you can only find at BC’s Shambhala Music Festival.

We did not last the entire weekend, but in all fairness we went hard in the paint and took full advantage of everything Shambhala had to offer. We all agreed that we had gotten what we wanted from the experience and were now wanting to return to our responsibilities with pleasure. The concept of using a flushable toilet, showering with hot water, and sleeping in our own beds carried a renewed sense of appreciation. The troubles in our lives, especially mine felt a lot less heavier than the looming idea of festival activities for another 22 hours straight.

Every now and again I get a whimsical thought that maybe I would do it again with some significant adjustments in order to accomodate the decade that has lapsed since I attended last. An airconditioned trailer would be first on the list, fully equipped with all the ammenities. I see no other way. As we enter another year of a pandemic, the liklihood of this year being the year affords me more time to consider thankfully.

Love in a Time of Quarantine: 17 #StayHomeStaySafe Valentines at Home Ideas for some Lockdown Lovin’

1.Recreate your first date.

Here’s an opportunity to go all out: recreate your first date — at home. If you went to a coffee shop, whip up some artisanal coffees. If you went to a romantic restaurant, print the menu and try to make one of the dishes in your kitchen. If you went to the zoo, print pictures of the animals you saw and put them in frames around the living room. Get creative and remember to tell your partner everything you loved about them on that very first day.

Our first date was on 17th Ave in Calgary- We did a bar crawl from one end of the Ave to the other.

2.Take a virtual mixology class.

pink summer drinks

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get fancy with your drinks. Not sure how to mix anything more exciting than a vodka soda? Take a class! Log on with your special someone — or your pals — and let an expert help. Virtual Holiday Party Canada Offers Many Options!

3.Take a class.

mother and daughter 3 4 decorating cake

Little ones deserve to have a festive Valentine’s Day too. To get them in on the fun, sign them up for a V-Day-themed virtual class. Websites like Eventbrite have options from baking and letter writing to dancing and singing.

4.Have an Indoor Picnic

edward albert and goldie hawn in 'butterflies are free'

Spread out on the living room floor with a gourmet spread (we like this lobster roll and sea salt brownies kit from Maine) and bottle of bubbles. Make sure to set the scene with a cheerful picnic blanket and pack a basket—they are worthwhile purchases if you don’t already have them. Sunterra Market in Calgary is offering a Valentines Day themed Heat & Eat curbside pick up option!

5.Build A Fire/Go Camping—in Your Backyard

wine and the patio firepit

February might still be chilly, but make the most of it by dressing up in your warmest coats and building a fire. Bring out a bottle of good wine, toast some oversize marshmallows, play an outdoor game, and enjoy the outdoors during the time of year we are usually inside. If you have an outdoor space that’s bigger than a barely-there balcony (lucky you!), consider turning your backyard into your own personal campsite. Just hang some string lights, grab a couple cozy blankets (or Parka’sif you live in Calgary!), fill these Oprah-approvedtriple-insulated mugs with a delicious hot drink (think: mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate, or Irish coffee), and build a roaring fire pit, and you’ll have everything you need for an at-home adventure—complete with stargazing, of most importantly, s’mores (pro tip: swap peanut butter cups for chocolate bars).

6.Have a Dance Party

For a more interactive evening, Mary J. Gibson, a relationship expert for DatingXP, recommends dancing to get your heart rate up. A variety of dance classes are now offered online: Learn how to fox trot, tango, and two step during one of Ballroom Dance Chicago’s Zoom lessonsDancio teaches beginners how to do a plié and pirouette; and CLI studios offers lessons on everything from tap to hip-hop. (Pro tip: Just make sure to put on some romantic background music.) You can also, of course, fire up YouTube and learn choreo to some of your favorite music videos.

7.Have a Karaoke Night

Though an activity like karaoke might make you feel a little self-conscious, it’s a great bonding experience. “When one partner is feeling adventurous or afraid and they are stepping out of their comfort zone, this gives the other partner an opportunity to show their comforting or protective side,” says Sassoon. (Suffer from serious stage fright? Purchase this bestselling karaoke microphone and enjoy singing your favorite sultry tunes—from the comfort of your couch.)

Here’s a video from some of our Karaoke Days!

8. Volunteer somewhere together.

Hopefully, you show your partner love all year round. So instead of showering each other this V-Day, give love to someone else who may need it even more. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters are always looking for volunteers, as are animal shelters (furry babes need love too!).

Browse Here for Volunteer Opportunities

9. Pose away in a photo session.

Hear me out: While a photo session can feel cheesy, once you have those adorable couples photos, you won’t think twice about how corny you looked in that Charlie’s Angels pose in the second shot. Use the session as an opportunity to have fun with each other and create memories and photos that will literally last a lifetime. Shoott makes it easy to book a session in your area, and you’ll only pay for the photos you like.

Or Recreate these hilarious ones!

10. Play a romantic game

A romantic game can keep you entertained for hours
A romantic game can keep you entertained for hours

Fed up with date nights ending on the couch with another Netflix binge-watching session?

I suggest getting a romantic or a simple board game to get you two talking, playing or simply engaging with one another. The Date Night Box Set is a great option because you and your partner can choose from three different game variations: Talk, Flirt or Dare Cards that can really spice up your night.

Or even better, strip poker, naked twister?

11.Plan a future vacation

Even if you can't travel now, creating future plans can be loads of fun
Struggling with the travel blues? Even if you can’t travel now, creating future plans can be loads of fun by mapping future vacations. You can get a special journal or even a simple sheet of paper and get carried away making the most romantic plans around the globe.

12. Do a sexy virtual workshop.

From home, of course. For instance, Lovers Stores is offering an online workshop on “how to have the sexiest Valentine’s Day ever” on Feb. 10 (you be the judge) that includes prizes, pleasure product highlights, and more. Or try Valentine’s Tantra Date Night, a virtual, guided experience that can help you feel more chemistry with your partner. It’s rated PG—so keep your clothes on—and we hear it’s suitable for new and existing couples.

13. Head to a hotel.

Whether you stay in your city or drive to one nearby, book a special hotel room for a quick getaway. Some hotels even offer holiday programming. See the 25 Alberta Hotels & Resorts Offering Valentine’s Day Staycation Packages which features a couple of my favorite local hotels listed below.

Hotel Arts

Valentine’s Date Night: This luxury hotel in the centre of downtown Calgary will spoil you and your partner this Valentine’s Day with upscale accommodations. While you bask in this at home escape, enjoy a gourmet dinner for two and a bottle of wine from the comfort of your room.

Details

Ph: (403) 266-4611

Cost: Luxury Rooms from $349 and Luxury Suites from $379.

Fairmont Palliser

Luxe in Love: Swoon over your stay in a spacious suite at the downtown Calgary Fairmont Palliser. This special for two includes fondue, charcuterie, canapes, and sparkling wine. You can also enjoy your room and accommodations a bit later with this package.

Details

Ph: (403) 262-1234

Cost: Starting at $479 CAD per night

14. Sip and paint.

You may remember this pre-pandemic activity that involves painting canvases and drinking decent amounts of wine. Recreate this activity at home and buy watercolor paint (the better not to ruin your floor). Then set up an object to recreate (fruit always works), say cheers, and bring the object to life. Or even better spice it up a notch a use your human canvases!

Image result for body painting images

15. Take a long drive.

Fill up your gas tank, pack snacks and (non-alcoholic) drinks, and ride around your local area. You can stop your joyride at a secluded area like a park or camping site. If the weather allows, enjoy some time outside. See these 25 Day Trips from Calgary

16. Make a short movie.

Who needs Steven Spielberg when you have a smartphone? Be the directors of your lives when you film yourselves for the evening doing…whatever you like. Maybe you share sweet confessions about each other, film yourselves running around outside, or maybe…you get more creative. No matter what, feel free to press delete at the end of the day; this film is all in good fun.

17. SKATING

This is a hobby that has become even more popular since many people have taken on to doing more outdoor activities and here in Calgary and in the surrounding areas there is no shortage of places to go!

Check out these Local Skating Options.

For an Even more spectacular experience check out these 10 Gorgeous Mountain Skating Spots You Can Find In Alberta

Friday Dates YYC: Looking Back on A Summertime Memory- Picnic at Prince’s Island Park

The Best Picnic Baskets on the Market in 2020 | A Foodal Buying Guide

A proper late afternoon it was as I recall in late June. You see we were already in what felt like month 8 of wintertime, so when the warm weather hit, we took advantage of the good weather vibes. Nevertheless, these months can often feel like years. Weathering Calgary winters is a matter of psychological survival of the fittest. You can either fall into the winter doldrums and await the snow melt, or just carry on with life. Our ability to endure is massively under-estimated as many would assume we must be miserable during these months, but we make it work. Others tend to rub salt into our frigid wounds despite our resilience, but should be assured we make the most out of any outdoor time we can get. Located next to us is the Province of British Columbia, who’s residents continuously boast about their balmy year round weather, and it leaves us no choice but to talk about ours occasionally. Our conversations often worth mentioning which I learned is not a well known term among outsiders- The Chinook. They can be lovely and painful.

You see, just as my skull felt like it was going to rupture from the pressure, I realized it wasn’t from a Chinook but from a wicked mid week pandemic drinking hangover. Who knew there would something worse than the Chinook Migraines to consider… Alas there was the Covid-19 headaches lurking around each corner or on the surface of your delivered groceries. It seems that being an Albertan comes often with a lot of headaches no matter which way you go about life. We desperately needed a break from it all. And an early summer was delivered!

While Good ol’ 2020 is the year we all hope to forget, it was forgiving enough to give us a bit of early nice weather for a change, no headaches attached. In fact, as we were all hunkered down at our homes, I worked on my patio most days soaking up the cool spring sunshine. By June the weather remained beautiful and the Province began to lift the pressure of isolation and extreme social distancing measures. After months of binge watching Game of Thrones & Vikings, a date with the outside world would be added to my empty agenda. Kudos to all those who got super creative and cute with their social bubbles…we aren’t that type at all. We were just focusing on finding Lysol wipes, toilet paper, and not murdering each other.

So to my surprise, my adorable boyfriend made a plan to take me on a picnic at Prince’s Island park.

The sun was out and I was dressed for the occasion, wearing an adorable little romper with white polka dots. In fact it was one of 20 I would buy throughout the months of online shopping that kept me busy during a pandemic lockdown. As the Pandemic marched on foiling my runway Covid release party, I’d send them all back in defeat. I kept 2 rompers in total to symbolize the 1 time I picnicked in the park, and then one in case we’d do it again. On this day I felt sort of normal. Our picnic basket that had been given as a gift years ago was filled with some champagne and pre-ordered Lebanese food from a store that was doing “pick-up only.” We were into supporting the small businesses in which many as a result of our Stage 1 shut down were on the brink of closing their doors for good. I assure you we single handedly did our best to keep them afloat with our hearty appetites and my lack of desire to cook.

As we strolled making our way through the park on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot we ensured the two meters apart protocol. I should mention when you are in a park, its really hard to avoid the floods of roller-bladers, skateboarders, cyclists, and people who just didn’t give a shit. This was probably the most stressful part of the date as we worked really hard to do our share of distancing, dodging, ducking, and all around avoiding passer-byers. This may seem ridiculous but remember this was in the early months when no one knew whether to wear a mask, or thought Covid was a 5G network conspiracy.

This anxiety inducing element made finding the “perfect picnic spot” got old real quick and we lowered our standards somewhat settling on a plot of grass that had the least amount of Canadian Goose Shit in or around it. We settled for a beautiful spot under a tree where my honey could sit in the shade and I could soak up the long awaited warm summer rays. Blankets were laid, food spread out, champagne poured and a good vibes playlist begun.

I vividly remember how amazing it felt to be out in the world again, watching new faces stroll by, all equally desiring the same need to reconnect with the world again. Colors seemed amplified, the flowers and grass more fragrant. The sounds of the birds and the fountain heightened against the rousing melodic music in the background. Even the face of my boyfriend looked fresh and new despite having stared at it non-stop for the previous couple months while in the pandemic lockdown. Perhaps I was going to recant my initial thoughts of smothering him in his sleep? The edges of his lips would begin to curl up and a smile peaking through…indeed I would not be smothering him.

I had only wished we had brought a frisbee, mitts and a ball. Maybe badminton rackets even, not that I can actually do any of these activities well. There is something about being in a park however that suggests that when in Rome, these activities could be enjoyable even for a gigantic accident prone clutz like myself. I imagine that during better times in the world you could probably catch a scene from Top Gun where all the boys are playing volleyball shirtless, dogtags stuck against their glistening sweaty skin. Silver framed Aviators perched perfectly on the bridge of their Adonis nose, complimenting a strongly chiseled jawline. If luck would have it, maybe a rogue volleyball would make it my way, rolling into my peripheral view. I’d glare at the broad shadowy figure above me, looking sheepishly irritated with the interruption as I adjust my bathing suit flush against my oiled and cellulite free bottom. I did say it was “better times” y’all, 20 years ago give or take.

Let me get back to reality here.

Our food was so delicious, and so was the company. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect late afternoon; dining Al Fresco on our little patch of heaven in the park. We found new things to talk about that left us freshly engaged as our conversation danced with ideas, ready to execute for when things returned back to normal. Careful to not get too hopeful, but enough as to not let the cynicism seep in and ruin the day. We’d talk about places we wanted to travel too in the next coming years, and what kind of adventure we were seeking from these travels. We would go through the list of what we had learned about ourselves during the isolation from friends and family and what good things came from these lessons. We’d acknowledge the fact that the pandemic was not going to be forever but here for now. Just like how the time we had together was going to model a similar outcome. We’d have each other now, and in this moment hoped it would last forever, but impossible.

We would not get the opportunity to picnic like this again during the summer, but would spend some time on the Bow river floating, snacking and sipping in the sunshine. It would be the simplicity of these afternoons that I hope we can repeat next summer as soon as the warmth returns to us. I suspect the world may still be in a similar state in 7 months whereby our gatherings stay small, our travel plans stay local, and expectations stay realistic. Picnic’s in the park for a Pandemic Date Win!

My Winter Action Plan: A List of 9 Anti Seasonal Affective Disorder Tips You Can Try

Having lived in Alberta for the last 13 years I’ve had my fair share of symptoms related to Seasonal Affective Disorder Its acronym “S.A.D”- How very appropriate. I’d also like to add a new term to the list as well. The Seasonally Angered Disorder, because when its “Minus Death” outside, you literally cannot help but be pissed off with everything that makes you have to leave the warmth of your home or car.

For myself this yearly festivity of misery is compounded with a stressful job which is a sure recipe for a total unravelling of sorts. So when I tell you the first thing I do when the snow hits the ground is devise a Winter Blues Action Plan– because who has the time to come unraveled. Unless your Britney Spears who can shave her entire head and then go on to secure a Vegas Show and stay comfortably supported in a mansion in the hills. Not all of us can afford to be rich and crazy.

Love you Brit Brit.

For the rest of us peasants, life goes on with screaming children, Covid outbreak school closures, lost income, and no sign in sight of reprieve. To boot, Christmas is around the corner, work is piling up and life just isn’t very sympathetic to our ailing spirits. We can either hide in our closets in the fetal position or attempt to curb perhaps the inevitable. And if you are curled up in the fetal position as we speak, its all good, wipe those tears and consider making a list like this for yourself tomorrow.

So this year my Winter Action Plan needed to be tweaked, as I realized spending it cozied up alongside hundreds of warm bodies at a pub was not going to be happening during a pandemic. I can’t say I’ll miss standing freezing my ass off in the lines outside of National or any popular watering hole here In Calgary. However I do feel like I will need to compensate for my 100 meter dash to the car I often counted on to burn those extra 15 calories off, of the 8000 I consumed in Beer.

But maybe that’s it! There could be a silver lining?

So here is my Winter S.A.D. Action Plan!

  1. Less Liquor– Consider this your year to opt out of those unnecessary holiday Christmas party benders. Rather than look at how you may miss the parties and gathering, look at what you may be gaining from not consuming all the added calories. Now if you are a responsible drinker, you know the kind that can stop at 2 then your probably thinking this doesn’t apply to you. I’m the type I’m sure my doctor would classify as the “binge” drinker. It sounds horrible just like in the same way our BMI index states we are morbidly obese when we thought we weren’t one croissant away from my 600 lb. life. I don’t drink during the week at my home, or weekly to be honest with you, but when I do, it’s a bottle of two a wine, maybe some shots, and always doubles. So this winter is my opportunity to not only give my liver a good break, but also an ability to steer away from all the calories those binges bring to the waistline.

What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Drinking

2. Since I’m saving money from not drinking the pubs and restaurant dry- I have some additional extra cash flow to buy a new snowboard and hit the slopes more. Yes, the cold will still make me angry, but being out in the sunshine freezing is better than skulking in the darkness and not soaking up the Vitamin D needed for mood and immune system! You see sending more time outdoors doing fun activities will decrease the likelihood of getting sick as well due to not being around a bunch of coughing, sneezing, germ infestations. Snowboarding is something that I have loved to do all my life, and I’m lucky to be so close to so many mountains.

3. Schedule in the gym/classes As in make it a 5 day a week priority. Slotting my gym time into my Day/Timer a week at a time is helpful because that way I can schedule less important things around it. I find its helpful right now too that I have to book my gym appointments through the YMCA which is having some positive effects on my accountability and am mindful about attending those set gym appointment times.

4. Getting out for Daily Walks and Coupling it with a Good Podcast– Since I have become a fur mama to a very Active American Akita, it has become apparent we are both happier after a good long walk. I’m happier because she is less likely to act like a little asshole, and in turn I’m able to take in some knowledge and new learning while she inspects every tree and leaf along the way. Not only am I getting in more daily steps, burning some calories, but getting some much needed fresh air that leaves me less energy to worry about any kind of looming anxiety coursing through my veins.

5. Working on Something Productive in my Spare time that brings me joy. So in my case I love to write my blog, focusing on building an audience, and developing more ideas to add to it. It keeps my mind occupied and bustling with ideas where I can stay connected with the outside world. The blog world has been a major learning curve for me as not only is my writing still a skill I’m growing but perhaps a business at some stage in the future. I have also enjoyed crafting more and more which is something I had previously turned my nose up too. The ability to create has the ability to redirect nervous energy into something that soothes and calms some of the dark sad thoughts that can creep up as a result of the winter isolation.

Halloween Wreath Projects

6. Get Cooking Again-I used to really love to cook, but over the last 6 months I have been on some crazy diets that have literally taken the fun out of cooking. Meal Preps can often take the fun out of eating as certain diets can be restrictive as well as daunting when you factor in the grocery lists and ingredients needed to make something that only you are interested in eating. And to be perfectly honest after all these “diets” I am no different weight than I was these last 10 years. It always comes back and I’m left feeling ashamed. So I say F*** that this Winter. I’m taking it back to the old school where Avocado Oil wasn’t a thing, and I wasn’t logging my Macros.  With that being said, I don’t intend on nourishing my body either with garbage. According to Meghan Sedivy, RD, dietitian for Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Plainfield, Illinois, says the winter months are a good time for root vegetables — think beets, potatoes, and rutabagas — as well as citrus fruits, such as blood oranges, white grapefruit, and autumn honey tangerines. Root vegetables are high in potassium, while citrus fruits offer fiber and vitamin C to help boost immunity, which is especially clutch this time of year, Sedivy says. Root vegetables are easy to incorporate in soups and stews, helping boost your vegetable intake for the day.

7. Meditation-I’ve admittedly been slacking on this. However meditation is something I began at the start of the Pandemic and utilized it to come to terms with the feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, grief and loss I was experiencing at that time. I went from scuttle bug to sad dormant half dead beetle when we went into lockdown-I was desperate, bored, and bummed out so I turned to meditation skeptically. I couldn’t believe though how well my spirit, mind and body responded to it. I’ve since migrated my interests into the world of Crystals and Rocks-where sometimes faith can blossom hope, and hope turns into actualizing outcomes.

8. Taking Vitamins– Like not just vitamin C that comes with your Sunday Mimosa’s. But the kind that are tailored to your specific needs and desired status of health you feel you need to attain. You can simply order pre-packaged daily vitamins packs that will meet your every need. They make it so easy and it’s a 5 second gulp which can make or break the Winter blues. There are lots of site but ensure you go with a quality and reputable company like VTMN Packs.

9. Reach out more to friends who I enjoy spending time with, and making sure I stay open and honest about how I am feeling. As the saying goes its okay to not be okay.

Whether these are things you are already doing or perhaps this list looks daunting to you, I encourage you to tailor one for the coming months that is realistic for you. And be kind, to yourself, you are up against the winter elements that wreak havoc on our hormone levels. The brain produces less serotonin without sunlight, which can cause depression, and less sunlight can also increase melatonin, which can heighten feelings of sleepiness.”

So its not you, it’s the season. Might as well make it your bitch!