Winter is back. Like every year, I’m looking at the ﬁrst snow. I’m aware of the change of atmosphere.The light is changing. The snow starts to stick to the ground.
What I particularly like, is the clarity of the snow in a time where light starts to be missing. The environment is changing and the body needs to adapt to this change. Not always easy.
People react differently about winter. Some of them hate winter. You can see that in their face. Some others love winter. It’s an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities with the family or with friends. But what is common for everybody is the process of adaptation between one season and the next.
The snow becomes a stressor, bringing a lot of frustration for drivers. Walking on the icy sidewalks becomes scary especially for the elderly. We always have to deal with stressors, and that is good. It shows that we are alive. A good deal has been written about stress and I encourage you to read up in this area. There are interesting in articles in the Mammoth Magazine edited by the Institute of Human Stress : www.humanstress.ca/mammoth-magazine.html.
I also recommend the book by Sonia Lupien, director of the Stress institute of University of Montreal : Well Stressed: How You Can Manage Stress Before It Turns Toxic .
There is a real fear of losing control when it becomes icy. And the danger is to stop engaging in outdoor activities and start to get paralyzed. In the icy environment, the tension level in the whole body increases. We lose our natural bounce and coordination and movements become more limited. The paradox is that the more we restrain our movements, the more we tend to shrink, and lose functionality in our daily activities. (Use it or lose it).
Being alive means being able to move—everywhere and in any season for as long as possible. Snow, it must be remembered, brings an incredible natural light which helps prevent winter seasonal depression. Taking fresh air is good for the brain. It is good for the mood.
The good news is that we can reduce our tensions, maintain our ability to bounce, practice our sense of balance, and maintain or recover self esteem at any age.
I want to share three easy to follow recommendations to help you maintain balance in slippery conditions :
1) Reduce speed and walk with small steps.
2) Relax you legs and bend your knees lightly while you walk.
3) Buy crampons to put under your boots. They are easy to ﬁnd.
This should help give you a feeling of safety.
Additionally there are a whole lot of teachings available about improving balance that can be very helpful. That is why I have decided to teach a whole course at Emballons-nous about balance. Changing habits needs time, practice and patience, and it can be done more easily in a relaxed environment with focused attention and self observation.
Enjoy the winter!!!