By Laura Keil Editor/Publisher

As winter bears down upon us – with meltwater and wind more than snow this year – darkness will become our constant companion over the next few months. I never used to feel down in the winter, but last year I got hit bad in January and it took me almost a month to recover. It’s wild to think that people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder have to go through this every winter. But even those without this diagnosis can be affected. Lack of sunlight can affect sleep rhythms, exercise and our “sunny” disposition, all of which are important for mental health.

At the street level, there hasn’t been much action lately in our communities. The tourists are long-gone and even residents seem to be staying indoors. Many cafes and restaurants have been closed or closing early due to the quiet. But underneath this, there is a constant hum – non-profits gearing up, people meeting to discuss new ideas and visions, a confidence and inspiration. In the vacuum left by the pipeline, there is a rush of creativity and people investing in their community.

No matter your age or background, consider getting involved in a local non-profit this winter or simply volunteering for one of their initiatives. The face-time and teamwork are an antidote to sadness. They’re a great way to feel connected. As we forge this new post-boom era, why not join your fellow residents in the grassroots? The seeds are being planted and the future looks bright.