I do love the winter and I especially love the Christmas season. I know for some there’s stress, sadness and conflict but not me, I embrace the stress and actively look for things that keep the memories of loved ones that have died (mom, sister, brother, dad and a few good friends) at bay and in good standings. I find that the more I look the more that I love the things that I find. I love the snow, after all we ski, skate, hike and generally love being outside in the winter. As long as we are dressed properly we have no complaints other than the actual dressing part. Around this area there are lots of things to do and keep busy with. I thought I’d share them with you, in case you didn’t already know.

Okay, so this is about things to do, see and sense. Some of the things I suggest happen all the time, sometimes or just once. I’m not promoting any one thing over the other nor am I getting paid or rewarded to write this…other than seeing it published which is so much fun. I’m writing this because I have gone through the experience of being sad at this time of year and quite honestly, it sucks. I’d rather be happy than sad even if it takes some work.

One thing that keeps the mood up is staying healthy, so one way we stay active is to use the pool in Hawkesbury. I know it doesn’t have the elements of Christmas per say however that’s not what I am talking about, I’m talking about doing things that make us happy and stave off some of the negative feelings some people experience at this time of year. So go visit the pool and go for a swim or soak in the hot tub. Nothing better than sitting in that hot tub and watching the snow fall.

A real pick-me-up is visiting the Chenail Cultural Center to grab an awesome coffee and take a look at the art items on display. They always have a welcoming vibe and the place is beautiful. Lots of tables and chairs to sit at with friends and family to chat and tell stories. The art work is world class, seriously, and it changes often so chances are that you’ll see something new are really high. The coffee machine looks like something out of a Greenway movie and it makes just about any coffee you could dream up.

I know that our sense of smell is an underappreciated part of our overall awareness and in turn a discounted part of our overall psyche, however science has proven that our olfactory system is one of the strongest of our senses when it comes to effecting our moods. One of the nicest smells in Hawkesbury and one that always puts a smile on my face is when Biscuits Leclerc’s ovens bake their cookies and other delicious goodies and then that smell just washes over the town. The smell permeates the air and it reminds me when my mom used to bake her cookies for us when we were feeling down. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does I inhale deeply and think good thoughts. Who doesn’t like the smell of fresh baked cookies?

Another way that I fend off bad feelings is by looking for inspiration. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere but one of my favorites is art. Some days when things aren’t at their rosiest I slip into Jacob’s Treasure on Main Street and walk among the fantastic paintings, sculptures and very interesting creations to see what people have been doing with their time and it makes me realize that passion exists and true, I may not be an artist but I can create. I usually buy some old fashioned candy and leave feeling like I can do something to make my life a little better.

Like anybody I can feel like I’m not actively living my life and life is just passing me by. One of the easiest ways to get back to being part of my community and life is to involve myself and I do that simply by going for a walk around town, around the island and through some of the other green spaces we have. I find that when I run across people I do my best to smile and acknowledge their presence and often times, in turn, they do the same to me. These little interactions have a huge impact on how I feel about myself and it’s for the positive, I feel very human and connected. If I get the opportunity to actually stop and speak with someone I do my best to engage them in some meaningful conversation and elicited a smile from them. If we both laugh then I feel like I’ve won something valuable. Just going for a walk with a mindset that has no objective has huge benefits.

Lastly, we have gyms, fitness classes, dance studios and a multitude of other venues to get physical however my favorite is running. Like walking, running gets me out and about, I always see new things and love to explore new areas that I hadn’t gone through. Running for me is an adventure that keeps on giving. Not only does it keep my heart healthy, it keeps my brain working and those endorphins…those endorphins are better than any prescription or street drug you can find to keep my mood positive. I am never sad, angry or frustrated when I am running for pleasure. We do have a running club in Hawkesbury if you are interested in social running…wink wink. A bunch of “endorphanized” (literary license) people gabbing away will always bring a smile to anyone’s face.

At the end of it all, it is my responsibility to maintain a healthy outlook on life. I have no one else to blame for how I feel. If I chose to be sad, then I am sad. If I chose to be angry…well that’s on me. I chose to be as happy as I can be and I believe in my heart that is the truth. There are many great things about this town that warrant exploration, many I have yet to discover but that’s my concern, that’s entirely my choice if I chose to go looking. I hope that we all find happiness around the corner because it’s there, we just need to go see. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you.