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5 Things I’ve Added To My Daily Winter Routine That Make Me Happy

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There is something so comforting, so soothing about a mug of hot chocolate. No matter how old I am, I think chocolat chaud will always have the ability to take me back to special times, when all of the world’s problems seemed to melt away by consuming one simple beverage. ― Lisa Schroeder, My Secret Guide to Paris

Winter in Ottawa is no walk in the park. When dealing with extreme cold, massive snowfalls, and a serious lack of sunshine – it can all be a bit much. It’s not unusual to feel exhausted, unmotivated, and a strong desire to stay warm under the covers of your bed.

But as hard as it can be for many of us, life goes on. We have jobs, kids, and lives that need our attention, right?

Everyone has their own way of coping with the winter blues and at the end of the day, it really depends on how you respond to different things. For example, I love swimming in the winter but for another person, the idea of taking off layers of clothing and jumping in the pool to do laps might seem like an awful way to feel better about the cold!

How ever you find your moments of joy this winter, it’s important that you do just that – find them! Because this is the time of year when one can easily fall into a funk, especially after the initial sparkle of the New Year has worn off and the reality of every day has settled in.

related: 10 Products That will Help Save Your Skin From Winter

Ask yourself what small things will bring you joy this winter

So how can you add more happy into your daily winter routine? That’s the question you need to answer! In fact, you need to answer a few questions to get some idea of ways to brighten your days for the remainder of the coldest time of the year. 

For example:

  • What brings you comfort when you’re cold or tired? (ie: blankets, housecoat, wool socks, reading socks, slippers, heating pad, hot water bottle, scarves…)
  • What makes your environment feel cozier and happier? (ie: candles, blankets, throw pillows, ottoman, soft rug, twinkle lights, flowers, warm lighting…)
  • What foods make you feel satisfied on cold days? (ie: oatmeal, soups, apple crisp, pancakes, roasted vegetables, dark chocolate…)
  • What activity makes you unwind, feel less tense, and nurtures body, mind, or soul? (ie: reading, taking a candlelit bath, yoga/stretches, cuddling on the couch, watching a romantic comedy…)

Writing out a list of small joys that you can add to your daily winter routine will point you in the right direction of feeling more satisfied and comforted during these colder months. It’s not just one of these things that will make you instantly more happy, but all together they are adding more moments of happiness throughout your day that make you feel overall more taken care of.

Whether it’s fuzzier slippers to keep your feet warm, or your favourite hot chocolate on-hand for a special treat, introducing things that contribute to your well being is a form of daily self care you can mindfully add to your life.

related: The Best of You: Here’s How To Embrace Hygge This Fall

So what are the 5 things I’ve added to my daily winter routine?

Well before I share them, I’ll let you in one what my regular winter routine included: going to bed earlier, taking my vitamins (especially Vitamin D3), drinking enough water, and daily stretches.

Now here’s what I’ve added to my everyday winter routine to boost my happiness:

  • Tea Time: most winters, I’ll have a cup of tea a few times a week. But this year, I’m having tea everyday and I’m making it a special thing. I make a pot, I pull out my favourite mug, I light a candle, I set it all on a tray and I pause to enjoy it. On the weekends, I’ve made myself a tea service and climbed back into bed with it. During the week, I’m happy to prepare it and take a break from my work to pause for 15-20 minutes and just enjoy 1-2 hot cups of tea.
  • Bedtime Reading: this nightly ritual of reading for 30 minutes before bed is one of my favourites. I used to just ‘grab’ my book when I saw an opportunity here and there, but ever since the holidays, I’ve intentionally climbed into bed earlier and read for at least 30 minutes (sometimes much longer). Not only have I been able to devour some wonderful new reads, I find myself completely transported into what I’m reading, switching off from the day and transitioning better into a restful state for a goodnight’s sleep.
  • Super Cozy Throw Blankets: for my birthday in November, I got a really soft throw blanket that I fell in love with. It was warm, cozy, and I loved wrapping it around me while I read or just cuddled with my husband and kids. Then for Christmas, I got the same super soft blanket in a different colour. So I had one in my bedroom, one in the living room. These are now my two favourite throws ever. I didn’t really use throws that much before, except more decoratively, but this winter I’m obsessed! If I’m having a cup of coffee in the morning, reading storybooks to my kiddos in the evening, or just chilling watching a movie, I’ve got my blanket keeping me comfortable, warm and happy!
  • Candles: I feel like this is an obvious thing you’d want to have as part of your daily winter life, but I just wasn’t taking full advantage of all the candles I have on hand. As a family, we’ve definitely gone more hygge just by our increase of candle usage! Some nights, we’ll even just have dinner by candle light and boy does it set a relaxing, calming tone. As soon as the evening hits, candles come on. I’ll even do chores like folding or dishes by candlelight and it definitely helps me zone out and feel more chill.
  • Hand Salve: yep, hand salve is bringing me happiness this winter. It’s always something I had on hand in our medicine cupboard but this winter, I’ve decided to add it to my daily winter beauty routine. Even though I don’t have super dry skin, I’m using it to protect my hands, elbows, and feet from getting drier or cracked, especially since we’re experience such extremely cold weather here in Ottawa. My husband picked me up one from a local Christmas market that I just love, but I am also using Burt’s Bees Hand Salve and The Body Shop’s Shea Butter Hand Cream.

While I’ve added these 5 things to my daily winter routine, there are lots of other simple pleasures I have made a point of indulging in this winter season to cultivate happiness.

Like decadent cups of hot chocolate, warm reading socks from Indigo, Hallmark winter romance movies, banana chocolate chip muffins (one my childhood faves!), and heating face masks – just to name a few.

With two more months of winter to go, why not make your own list of some of the ways you can add some extra joy into your days. Think warm, comforting, restful, and delicious! The small things add up and make the colder days of winter a little more bearable. 

 

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LIFESTYLES

Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

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Top environment official urges Canadians to back Ottawa’s ambitious plans to tackle plastic trash

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The second in command at the federal Environment Ministry challenged Canadians to continue to speak up about the problem of plastic pollution and push elected officials, scientists and businesses to do more.

Quebec MP Peter Schiefke, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, made the comments online at Vancouver’s annual zero waste conference on Friday.

He said most Canadians want solutions to curb the tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic garbage that ends up as litter each year on the country’s beaches, parks, lakes and in the stomachs of animals. 

“Making sure that message is heard with industry stakeholders, elected officials and make sure that they are constantly putting pressure on it … so we notice that this is something that Canadians want, the backing of Canadians to go and undertake these huge challenges,” he said.

Schiefke filled in for  Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the last minute after Wilkinson was called away to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass one of the most expensive fares in Canada

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OTTAWA — OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass is one of the most expensive passes in Canada, and transit riders are facing another 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares on New Year’s Day.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Transit Commission meeting on the 2021 budget, CTV News Ottawa looked at the cost of a monthly adult bus pass at transit services across Canada. Ottawa ranks behind the TTC in Toronto, Mississauga’s “MiWay”, Brampton Transit and Vancouver “TransLink” Zone 2 access to the suburbs for most expensive transit fares in Canada.

The cost of an OC Transpo adult monthly bus pass is currently $119.50 a month.

The 2021 City of Ottawa budget includes a proposed 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares. If approved, an adult monthly transit pass will increase $3 to $122.50, while a youth pass will increase $2.25 to $94.50 a month.  The cost of an adult single-ride cash fare would rise a nickel to $3.65.

The TTC is the most expensive transit service in Canada, charging $156 a month for an adult fare. MiWay charges $135 a month, and the cost of an adult monthly pass with Brampton Transit is $128.

Metro Vancouver’s transportation network “TransLink” has three fare zones. The monthly bus pass cost for “Zone 1”, which covers Vancouver, is $97 for adults. The “Zone 2” fare, which covers Vancouver and the suburbs of Richmond and Burnaby, is $131 a month.

Edmonton Transit Service, which includes a Light Rail System with 18 stations on two different lines, charges $97 a month for an adult monthly bus pass.

An adult monthly bus pass in Calgary costs $109 a month.

The survey by CTV News Ottawa of transit fares across Canada shows Gatineau has higher transit fares than Montreal and Quebec City. The STO charges $99 a month.

A monthly adult bus pass costs $88.50 in Montreal and $89.50 in Quebec City.

The cheapest adult monthly bus fare is in Charlottetown, at $58.50 a month. A monthly bus pass in Whitehorse costs $62 a month.

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