You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light.
According to the calendar, the first day of spring officially falls in March. But it’s often like living in one season while still feeling as if winter hasn’t quite ended yet. There are seasons in nature for a reason. Even though we may not think of winter as having purpose, every living thing needs a quiet time to rest and renew its inner energy.
For some, the brisk winter days are spent in outdoor pursuits. The rest of us quietly survive the dark days, making our way from one day to the next awaiting the return of the sun and light and joy and new life: baby animals, green leaves, spring flowers.
It is that time of year when we are between seasons and anxious for dry streets and safer surfaces outdoors. It’s often what I call the messy season. There’s water running, and it’s muddy where there’s soil. It’s too early for gardening. All we can do is plan and wait. Patience is put to the test.
Darker winter days … Days of waiting and longing often lead to feelings of depression. According to Isabelle Huot in Good Times magazine, in Canada about 11 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women will experience a bout of major depression at some point in their lives, and a national survey revealed that one in five Canadians have had a diagnosis of at least one mental health concern (such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder) since the start of the pandemic.
While no single food in itself can replace medicine, certain food choices or nutrients can help make the world a brighter place. So — try eating your way to a happier self!
Huot focuses on five categories of food that might be helpful in lifting your spirits:
1. Carbohydrates: Found especially in grain products and root vegetables, carbs help to stimulate serotonin (the neuro-transmitter for well-being). Grains provide valuable fibre.
2. Vitamin D: People who are depressed have lower vitamin D levels. Could this vitamin have a positive effect on mood? Studies haven’t yet confirmed whether people are depressed because they go outdoors less in winter, meaning they have less exposure to the sun (a source of Vitamin D), or because they’re already lacking in this vitamin. We do know Vitamin D is beneficial for immune system and bone health and for preventing colon cancer.
3. Fish: People who eat more fish experience less depression than those who eat less fish. The effect is due to omega-3 fats which positively affect mood, and are found in especially fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel.
4. Folates (Vitamin B9): Folate deficiency is common among people with depression. Folates help to synthesize serotonin. Green vegetables, legumes, and sunflower seeds are foods all rich in folates.
5. Vitamin B12: This helps to regulate homo cysteine. High levels of this amino acid are linked to a higher risk for depression. Some of the best sources are clams, oysters, fatty fish, beef, and veal.
A well-balanced diet, including some of these recommended components, may go far in improving your overall general health while at the same time reducing your risk of depression.
The Clinton Seniors’ Association is planning its Daffodil Tea for March 8 in the Clinton Memorial Hall from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Note that there are a few changes this year. Due to rising costs, the event has increased to $7 per person. Fresh cut and potted daffodils have been ordered through Jessica Lawrence at Bubbles’ Blossom Design from her usual Lower Mainland suppliers. We can only hope that the cheery, yellow blooms will be available. We do expect a price increase.
There is no longer a telephone at the hall for our use, so if you want a take-out order on March 8 please call (778) 983-2028 after 1 p.m. if you wish to place an order for strawberry shortcake and/or daffodils. Prior to March 8, if you want to place an order for take-out call Zee at (250) 459-0028. Take-out orders will be delivered promptly to your place of business or to the residence of shut-ins.
There will also be a home baking table at the Strawberry Tea, with part of the proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society in support of research to find a cure for cancer. We are hoping for decent weather, and look forward to seeing you there.
The Clinton Seniors’ Association welcomes new members. The next regular meeting will be on March 16 at the Clinton Seniors’ Centre (217 Smith Avenue) following lunch, which starts at noon. Come and join us!
There are no member birthdays to celebrate in March.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
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