Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
I wonder if any of you will choose the same answer?
I’ve already talked about a few books I’m looking forward to this summer, so this week I’ll mention a TV show slated to come out in September that fans have been anticipating for years.
If you can’t see the image attached to this post, I’m talking about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The official Twitter account for it has been sharing amazing gifs, short videos, photos and other promotional material that hint at what it will be about while also leaving plenty of room for the imagination.
I first read The Lord of the Rings during a period of my life when I was struggling with my mental health. It was like walking around the world with a thick, grey cloud enveloping me that amplified all of the difficult portions of life and did its best to smother the faintest flicker of anything positive.
This is something I’m sharing because I only revisited that series years later when the film version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were released.
While this TV show isn’t set during the same time period in this universe, I’m very curious to see how my mind reacts to the similar themes of it now that I’m doing better.
Seeing an epic saga unfold on the small screen should also be worthwhile. I have high hopes that this show will be a magical experience.
Content warning: this post includes references to seasonal depression, people who died from Covid-19, and people who are permanently disabled from Covid-19.
I’ve been blogging for many years now. It’s been my experience that blogging can be a cyclical hobby or profession.
Sometimes bloggers have plenty of time to write and so many topics we can’t imagine how we’ll find room in our editorial calendars for everything we want to say. In other seasons of life, things change.
I Need to Rest
In some ways, it has felt like March of 2020 never ended. All of the events and trips I looked forward to when the long, dark days of winter feel never-ending were cancelled last year and they are beginning to be rapidly cancelled again this year.
To be perfectly clear, I completely understand why this is necessary for public health and safety and in no way sympathize with the anti-lockdown, anti-mask, and anti-science protestors.
Honestly, I have had a much easier experience during this pandemic than many people out there. I have safe housing, a loving marriage, plenty of food, and money to pay the bills.
Out of all of my relatives who have caught Covid-19 so far, only one distant relation has passed away from it and only one or maybe two closer relatives have what are probably permanent health effects from it.
I’m very grateful for my and our good fortune in these troubled times. So many people are dealing with much harder situations.
With that being said, I’m also bone-tired. For anyone taking notes out there, the winter blues do not mix well with pandemics at all. This combination should be avoided at all costs in both real life and fiction. I’d give it zero stars out of ten even if you have somehow personally have managed not to know anyone who caught Covid-19. It’s exhausting.
I Need to Write Fiction
My other reason for trimming back on new blog posts here is a cheerful one.I need to preserve more energy and creative juice for writing my speculative fiction stories!
It’s been several years since my last tale was published. That must change. I have pages of notes and rough drafts for future stories. All I need is the time and creative juice to bring them to life.
It is my hope that this new blogging schedule will facilitate that once my mood perks up in the spring.
Longterm readers might remember that I’ve gone through similar periods of cutting back on blogging here before. It’s something I really don’t like doing, but sometimes it’s necessary even if it makes me want to go sit in the Naughty Blogger corner for daring to change my posting schedule. LOL!
I’ll revisit this decision later on this year to see how I’m feeling and how sustainable the new blogging schedule is.
The New Blogging Schedule
My hope is to eventually return to my usual Monday – Thursday schedule, but I’m cutting out all Monday posts for now. They generally tend to take up as much writing time as two to three of my other weekly posts combined.
If you follow me on Twitter, I will continue to share several posts from my archives each Monday for #MondayBlogs. Thank goodness that past me wrote plenty of them to cycle through while current me rests.
(Some? Most?) Tuesdays – Top Ten Tuesday posts. I love the TTT community, so I’ll do my best to stay connected to it when my energy levels and other commitments allow for that.
Thursdays -speculative fiction book reviews, but probably only for short stories.
This is the hardest part of the year for me even during non-pandemic times. April is always better for my mental health, especially once I’ve had multiple long walks in the warm sunshine and my brain realizes spring truly has arrived.
If only I had a crystal ball that could tell us all exactly when this pandemic will end and life will feel more predictable again.
How has Covid-19 impacted your blogging and writing habits? How are you all feeling now that we’re over one year into this pandemic? Do you also feel guilty about changing your blogging routines?
Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
While I did get out of some of these habits last year due to how topsy-turvy 2020 was for so many of us, I’m a health-conscious person in general.
I don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use any other substances. My body can barely handle the side effects of caffeine, much less anything stronger than that. Haha!
I lift weights, do yoga, or take long walks nearly every day of the week. Winter tends to be a more sedentary season for me, but I do still try to get some activity in when everything outside is covered in ice and snow.
I eat five servings of vegetables and fruit on most days. If I’m hungry between meals, these are the foods I reach for first.
I eat a low-sugar diet. That is to say, the natural sugar in whole, fresh fruit is fine, but I avoid the processed stuff unless it’s a holiday or I’m on vacation. (This is one of those rules I broke a lot last year. I’m working hard to make 2021 less sugary).
I meditate most days of the week. It does wonders for my mental health.
I use an electric toothbrush at my dentist’s recommendation. Apparently, they’re better at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes are. All I know is that I feel kind of futuristic and cool when a machine does some of that gentle scrubbing for me.
I’m up-to-date on my vaccinations, but I will never enjoy the sensation of a needle sliding into my arm. Shudder!
I weigh myself daily. There is more to being healthy than the number on the scale, but I like to see what my longterm trends are and stay within a healthy range for my body frame size. Unexplained changes in weight can be an early sign of some pretty dangerous diseases. It’s also handy to know how much you weigh in case a dentist, doctor, or other medical professional needs to prescribe certain types of medication that must be calibrated to your weight in order to be effective and safe.
I am not a doctor, and this post is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare provider to see if light therapy lamps are right for you.
Last winter I talked about how much light therapy helps me with my winter blues.
When I stopped using it during our sunniest months here in Ontario, I wondered when I should start up again but decided to defer that decision until autumn.
This spring and summer were filled with the glorious light that lifts my mood every year. Like life for almost everyone else on Earth, they were also filled with the cancellation of many long-anticipated events thanks to Covid-19.
I smiled and made the best of the outdoor, physically-distanced activities that were still safe to do, but with autumn coming up I wondered how my mental health would fare once it was cold and dark here once again.
This isn’t meant to sound like a complaint, by the way. Cancelling all of those festivals, parades, and events was absolutely the right thing to do from a public health perspective. I’m also grateful for my good physical health, safe home, and all of the other advantages I have that so many others do not.
And yet there is also something sad about missing out on almost everything you love about spring and summer only to begin the plunge into another long, dark cold season. This became even more true as I read about the cancellation of Halloween on Church and our mayor discussing the possibility of cancelling trick-or-treating as well. My favourite holiday will either be cancelled altogether or is going to be nothing at all like it was in the past.
At this point, I suspect every upcoming holiday will be celebrated virtually, within the same household (or small social bubble), or not at all until enough people have been vaccinated against this disease to stop it in its tracks.
There’s nothing I can do to change things like these. What I could do was start using my light therapy lamp earlier this month as soon as the first faint whispers of autumn appeared in the form of dark, cloudy days.
I’d forgotten how bright it was. That one little lamp fills the whole room with light and still has some left over to spare.It doesn’t emit heat the way the sun does when you’re outside on a bright summer day, but it otherwise feels something similar to that experience.
(Yes, I purposefully picked photos of dimmer lights for this post. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s eyes).
It’s still a little too early for me to feel the effects of it, but that also means it should start working long before November arrives and we start seeing sunsets before 5 pm.
What creative ways are you planning to celebrate upcoming holidays? If you also have a light therapy lamp, when did or will you begin using it this year?
Or at least that’s what it feels like at this time of the year. You see, I get the winter blues. While other people are outside revelling in the snow, ice, and cold weather, I’m inside quietly counting down the days until spring.
If winter in Ontario included as many bright, sunny days as spring and summer did, this post might be quite different.
But our winters include months of long, dark nights that make me half-forget what it’s like to feel warm sunlight on my face.
And having access to enough bright light is important for my mental health. It boggles my mind that some people on this planet live in places that don’t see the sun for months on end. I wouldn’t be able to cope with that well at all unless someone invents a way for humans to go dormant for the winter like real plants do.
Luckily, there are light therapy lamps for wilted houseplants like myself. I’ve been basking in the glow of that artificial sunshine this winter.
Sometimes I sat there and surfed the Internet on my cell phone. It was an especially good way to pass the time when I first accepted the fact that I needed to use one of these lamps but was skeptical about if it would do any good.
If actual plants had opposable thumbs, they might look at cute animal pictures while soaking up light, too, so they didn’t have to count down how many weeks left until spring or how many weeks after that it will take the weather systems in Ontario to shift from cold, wet, and slushy to anything that bears the faintest resemblance to true spring weather.
Then it started to work.The sadness began to lessen. I could concentrate better, I felt less sluggish, my energy levels slowly began rising, and my quality of sleep improved.
Am I back to my old self yet? No, but I’m doing better. That’s something to celebrate, especially as we inch into the time of the year that is the most challenging for me to get through.
For now I sit next to my lamp and chuckle at the fact that I react so much to the lack or the presence of sufficiently strong light. I am entirely human-shaped, and yet somehow I still need to bask in light like a plant to function properly.
When that thought passes, others don’t take its place. In this moment, I am surrounded by light. I breathe in and out as it shines onto me, the desk, the chair, and the floor.
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