Preventing seasonal affective disorder through winter sports
Erich Otten, Arts & Culture Editor
Winter is here, bringing lots of snow and for some, seasonal affective disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of winter-onset seasonal affective disorder include: oversleeping, changes in appetite, and changes in energy level including tiredness or chronic fatigue. Stagnation and a decrease in activity may also be a component of SAD. According to the MayoClinic, activity may lessen the effects of some of the associated symptoms. We all know Thunder Bay can experience long and cold winters, but the city also offers almost every winter sport and activity to get you out of the house and enjoying the winter.
Ice hockey is of particular significance to folks in Thunder Bay, apparent from the fact that the city has produced 95 professional players in the National Hockey League. Lakehead University student Connor Macintosh tells The Argus of his fond memories and how important growing up playing hockey was to him:
“Growing up in Thunder Bay, you were surrounded by hockey. Whether through participation or by noticing when half of your grade 7 class was missing on a Friday, for some out of town tournament down in Duluth. Or every October, when your new team jacket would come in you would wear it with pride, trying your best to subtly show off that number on your sleeve. Or it was the late-night shenanigans, messing with the hotel staff as you ran up and down the hotel hallway the night before your game.
Now having ended the journey of my childhood hockey days, it is interesting to reminisce and think back on all the good and bad times and memories that were made alongside my teammates. Even though we may have put a bit too much stock at times into those minor hockey days, the memories and friendships that were made have shaped who I am today. I couldn’t be fonder looking back on those snowy drives to the rink or taking a puck off the ankle, or even the hidden excitement of telling Mme. Trudel that I would be missing class for a tournament because it was these days, and these memories that I will hold on to and grow from for the rest of my life.”
From Macintosh’s anecdote, it is evident just how important hockey and spending time on the ice was in his childhood. In my own family, my eldest brother played hockey in southern Ontario for a number of years. I have many fond memories of driving out to other towns and cities in the cold to support him as he competed. My recollections include how I developed a critical taste of hockey arena vendor’s hot chocolate, which was usually terrible, sitting under a pile of blankets in the stands, the warmth projected by overhead heaters, the smell of the ice rink, and learning the rules of hockey.
Thunder Bay has many opportunities to join in on winter sports, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. If you prefer to be a spectator, the Lakehead University Men’s Hockey team plays their home games at Fort William Gardens.
How do you enjoy winters in Thunder Bay? Have any nostalgic memories or tips on coping with seasonal affective disorder? Contact The Argus and have your favourite memories featured in our ongoing Winter Nostalgia column.