Surviving the Filler Month

I have to admit, November is not my favourite month. It’s dark, gloomy and rainy. It does not have the crisp air and the brilliant colours of Fall, nor does it offer the magical snow and cheer of December. It’s the filler of the seasons, the sad and gloomy middle child, the second book in a trilogy that should have just been skipped.

So, what is to be done? Should one give in to the gloom and muddle through the month, waiting for December to arrive while mourning the end of October? Fear not, my Seasonal-Affective-Disorder friends! I’d like to propose some key things to get you through the month – and also hear your tried-and-true ways of keeping your spirits up as the cold November rain pours down.

Getting those receptors coated, one bowl at a time ...

Getting those receptors coated, one bowl at a time ...

First up, soup. A fresh, warm bowl of soup can do wonders. The science is still out on why this is, but I suspect it has something to do with the ability of blended, warm vegetables to stimulate serotonin uptake and coat receptors, thus increasing mood (and, as we all know, everything we say here at the Gumboot is always verified and evidence-based). Whether the effects are nature- or nurture- based, there’s just something about soup that soothes the soul. Soup is also versatile, and allows you to let your creative juices flow in the kitchen. There are a myriad of varieties, and most can be made using seasonal, local vegetables and adapted to your personal taste preferences. My absolute favorite at the moment is Carrot Parsnip Ginger soup. I very much invite you to try it out.

Use this handy Movember style guide to find your style!

Use this handy guide to find the Movember style that's right for you!

Second, get involved! With the weather getting colder, think about donating some time volunteering in your community or sorting through and donating extra clothes or blankets you may have to a homeless shelter – often, awareness of the need for such items only increases around the holidays. New Fountain Emergency Shelter is one such shelter that accepts such donations. Another great cause for the men-folk to get involved in is Movember, a month-long celebration of the moustache, highlighting men’s health issues (specifically prostate cancer). Across Canada, there are already 25, 174 registrants who have raised over a million dollars towards prostate cancer research so far!

Third, stay active. It’s easy to stop being active when the weather turns nasty. Make a commitment to yourself to get out and be active – a surefire way to keep your mood in check, and keep illness at bay. It might be a good time to try out an indoor activity you’ve always wanted to try, like rock climbing, yoga, or swimming.

And lastly, if all else fails, all you will need is three crucial items: a good book, a comfy blanket (not the one you’re donating), and a cup of tea.

So, there you have it. My top picks on how to get through November. What are yours?

4 thoughts on “Surviving the Filler Month

  1. Michelle. I am disappointed to hear you call November a middle child of a month. I mean, my cousin Linda is a middle child, and she’s pretty awesome. Also, some people like rainy blackness. These types of people might not enjoy the spring and summer’s blazing rays of sunshine or the winter’s reflective, sun-off-snow sunshine. Sometimes, it’s cool just to be dark and black, man. Besides, such bleakness defines the rest of the year as a winter wonderland or hazy day of summer or colourful fall. Without negative there is no positive. Without Alex Tsakumis, there is no Daily Gumboot. So, give November a chance.

    Your tips on overcoming SADness, though, are brilliant. So, thanks for that.

    - JCH

  2. Great article Michelle. I really like your ideas – particularly the call to arms for people to get/stay active in their communities.

    For me the best thing about November is to cook seasonally based recipes. I love your soup suggestion!

  3. Geoff and I both enjoyed your article on November. My “rural” idea is to get out walking, rain or shine. While walking, try to get beside a river where the salmon are spawning. Black Creek has an interesting show of Coho right now. Further along the trail, we saw a rainbow behind a blue heron at Miracle Beach. Those little gems can help get through the dark, rainy month of November. November also has positive start when we get that extra hour of sleep at the time change! Cheers.

  4. Thanks for the suggestions, Janet! I agree that, although it might take some motivation to get out in the rain for a walk, I always feel so rejuvinated afterwards. Now, if there were only more rivers in BC where salmon were spawning … but that’s a topic for another blog post (one that for some reason I can see Kurt taking on …)

    Thanks again for your comments!

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