Story and Photos By Mara Dobyns

The skies are grey, time feels as if it’s moving slower and the air chills you right to the bone. Winter is setting in and if you’re like me it can be too easy to feel alone.

When the cold is sinking in, if you’re feeling trapped indoors sometimes it’s not long before you are also feeling trapped inside your own thoughts.

Whether you’re sad or lonely because you’re not where you want to be with family for the holidays or maybe it’s just the weather change effecting your mood, everything can feel like it takes a little more energy to get your engine going. This is where activity comes in.

Wait a second, am I seriously suggesting that more activity is going to give me the energy that I already lack to do the activity in the first place?! Yes. Yes, I am! The only reason I’m suggesting it is because I’ve been there. I’ve been there and I know it works. It’s no secret that endorphins gained from increased activity and exercise can actually give you more energy and have the power to lift your mood and boost your spirits. This sounds like exactly what I need for the holiday season. Especially with the extra sweets I’m sure to be consuming, haha. Depression can be no joke but neither is exercise.

So how can you increase those endorphins with Mother Nature basically having a temper tantrum all season long? Embrace it! Learn to ski, skate, snowboard, snowshoe, or any of the other adventurous activities surrounding us that you can enjoy in the winter. Not your thing? Sign up for a dance class or maybe join an exercise group online. It will feel so good to know there are other people struggling with you and even better to break out of the struggle together!

We live in such a beautiful area, it’d be crazy not to take advantage of it. My husband is really into hiking and snowboarding in the backcountry. He often finds himself at Lassen National Park hiking and boarding down the glorious snow that sits upon the Volcano in the winter months. A little over a year ago we both went there with a couple of friends to snowshoe. We ended up hiking up the old ski hill (about a 30-45 minute hike depending on how often you stop). I hadn’t spent much time snowshoeing prior to the hike (okay, this was like my second time ever but who’s counting?). Despite feeling out of shape and taking my time getting up that hill, I still did it and it felt great to say I didn’t give up. Everyone starts somewhere and once at the top I couldn’t help but appreciate the views and the ice cold goodness that is winter. I hope you embrace it and every season despite your self doubts or fears. As a first timer or seasoned veteran you can still enjoy it as if it is your first time because something magical happens when you combine endorphins with the sheer beauty of snow. You’ve got this!