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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

Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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