November is here, peeps. That means, the greyest, dreariest, (and some say, most depressing) days of the year are ahead. If you tend to struggle with seasonal affective disorder (AKA SAD) now’s about the time you might start to feel it creeping up. Here’s the good news: Help is all around us in this city. From super-charged meditation studios to super cheap bulk herb dispensaries, we are fully equipped to protect ourselves from winter gloom.
Here’s where to go to keep your mood up, your energy high, and your vibe RIGHT this winter:
For pretty much all your wellness needs, you can count on Hoame. In addition to meditation classes in light and dark rooms, there’s an infrared sauna, salt cave and a consistently packed calendar of super sumptuous events (salt cave sound bath anyone?). If you know love the idea of meditation but die of boredom sitting on your mat at home alone, you need to come to Hoame this winter.
Octopus Garden is more than a yoga studio, it’s also a space where a community of health-based practitioners offer services from osteopathy to naturopathy to massage and more. If you’re serious about feeling good from head to toe, bring your bod here. Also, check out their workshops, like The Art of Slow workshop on November 24th, which will teach you rituals and practices for embracing a slower, more mindful way of being. That’s what winter invites us to do, right?
Let’s be real: The only real way to truly keep your mood up in winter is to feed your body quality fuel. To maintain a strong immune system, gut health and brain chemistry, we have to invest in our physical health, and Impact Kitchen is one of the best places to do it IMO. From bone broth to smoothies and juices to protein-packed powerbowls, this menu is literally the stuff of vibrant health. They’re on Ritual and Uber Eats, too – which you end up scouring on the regular anyway. Better make it really worth your $ this winter.
Essence of Life Organics in Kensington Market
This 22-year old apothecary and herbal dispensary in Kensington Market is easily the best in the city for it’s sheer quality and quantity (and affordability!) of natural health products. It’s a one-stop-shop for keeping seasonal depression off your mind in November. Get your liquid vitamin D, your oil of oregano, mushroom drink mixes, uplifting essential oils and glow-y beeswax candles, organic superfoods and loose leaf teas – etc. etc. etc. Come and stock up on all the things for winter.
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Allan Gardens is the beautiful 16,000 square ft garden-filled greenhouse on Carlton St. between Jarvis Ave. and Sherbourne St. It’s open year round, so you can trudge in from the cold and be surrounded by tropical plants from all over world. Here’s the thing: Nature makes people happy. That’s real! Get you in the company of some thriving plant life and remind yourself that YOU TOO can thrive in winter.
The Big Carrot (or, a therapy-lamp-lit desk at the TPL)
Light therapy lamps – you’ve heard of them, but how do they work? These soothing lights so many people have come to rely on in the winter stimulate cells in our eyes that are connected to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms. Activating the hypothalamus at a certain time every day boosts seratonin levels and helps restore your normal circadian rhythms, so your SAD symptoms can chill. Get a light therapy lamp at The Big Carrot. OR: if you’re a nomadic freelancer, get out of your dark basement apartment and work instead at The Toronto Public Library – there are 11 branches with free therapy lamps you can perch at so you can get some work done while you soak in some rays.
Mindset Brain Gym
Mindset Brain Gym is not your average meditation studio. Meditation classes take place in multi-sensory rooms with immersive soundscapes / soothing lighting and essential oils, so you can get the most out of relatively short time on the mat. This place caters to busy people with ‘results-drives’ meditation practices – it’s all about helping you reshape your response to stress. We could all use that in the harsh winter months right?
(Story by Contributing Editor, Kait Fowlie)