Look around Montreal, it's winter and chances are you're not too happy about that. But it wasn't always bad, when you were a kid you used to make snow angels and forts, you would go sledding and built snowmen? (Is snowmen sexist?) Fine, snowpeople. Somewhere along the line you forgot winter was about having fun outside so what better way to feel like a kid again than by going outside and having a yourself a good old fashioned giant snowball fight.
You're in luck, Montreal is having a giant snowball fight this Saturday, February 14th at 2:00pm at Jeanne Mance Park. It's being organized by Loic Marchat who made the rules very clear: The snowball fight will be giant, not the snowballs, the snowballs must be normal sized. This is an amateur competition, your snowball fight team is welcome as long as your team is not part of a professional snowball fighting league. Other than that, you're good to go.
When you hear the words "self-care," what do you think of? For many, the practice is synonymous with working out, eating well, yoga and meditation. But what about a regular sleep schedule?
With the ongoing worry of a global pandemic, the strain of working from home and the fallout from a chaotic year in general, it's more important now than ever to prioritize sleep as a key pillar of health and wellbeing. A good night's sleep is important because, just like your overworked smartphone and laptop, your body needs to recharge in order to operate.
While many people can make it through a day or two of sluggishness, it's obvious that without proper sleep, no one can perform at their best. Canadian tennis star and Grand Slam champ, Bianca Andreescu, knows it and she's on a mission with Dormez-vous to "awaken Canadians to the power of sleep."
"We need to stop putting sleep on the bottom of our to-do list and instead recognize the tremendous benefits and strength that comes when we actively manage our sleep," says Bianca.
"If I don't get a good night's sleep then I can't function at my best the next day. Sleep is something I'm incredibly disciplined about - regardless of whether I'm competing or in my downtime. As an athlete, I need to be on my A-game all the time so I can continue to perform at an optimal level."
Considering that sleep is the foundation to better health and wellness, a consistent sleep schedule is essential to feeling and being your best self. There are ample mental and physical benefits you can achieve by putting the phone down and getting in more snooze time, and these are just a few.
Strengthen Your Immune System
You can't expect your body to fight off illnesses if you're not giving it what it needs. Your immune system is here to help you, so why not return the favour? Chances are, whenever you caught a cold when growing up, your parents told you to get lots of rest. They weren't exaggerating, as research has proven that sleep helps heal.
Lack of sleep actually reduces the production of antibodies and cells needed to fight infection. Getting the proper amount of sleep can strengthen your body's immune function, supplying your system with enough energy to do what it does best — fight for you.
Sharpen Your Mind
Have you ever tried focusing on a project while running on minimal hours of sleep? If so, you've probably realized it wasn't very successful.
And sleep experts agree. Poor sleep has a negative impact on thinking. Sleep helps improve your attention span, concentration and overall cognitive performance. Not only does it increase your ability to focus efficiently, but it also improves your memory.
So, the next time you insist on forcing yourself to stay up to finish work, perhaps opt for your bed instead of your desk.
Achieve Optimal Performance
If you're going to listen to anyone talk about achieving optimal performance, it should probably be a hardworking athlete. Bianca doesn't shy away in expressing the importance of championing sleep as much as she champions her sport.
"By taking a disciplined approach to my wellness and investing in my sleep regime in the same way I invest in my fitness regime, I am a higher performance athlete and a stronger, healthier, happier human being," she says.
Even if you don't have an athletic bone in your body, there's a lot to take from Bianca's mantra. Allowing your heart to rest and cells to repair will help your body recover after a long day. Full recovery of any physical exertion is like hitting the reset button on your body, both mentally and physically. You'll wake up feeling brand new, allowing you to tackle tasks with a fresh force.
Protect Your Physical Health
Sleep is critical for optimal physical health. Unfortunately, many people suffer from sleep disorders and don't seek help for their issues. Sleep deprivation studies have revealed that not getting enough sleep each night is linked to harmful health effects such as increased blood pressure, impaired control of blood glucose and increased inflammation.
Regulation of your emotional state is of utmost importance when it comes to taking care of yourself. Without mental clarity and peace of mind, it's hard to enjoy even the simplest joys in life.
Enhance Your Productivity
Productivity is all about energy, which leads to enhanced motivation and ambition to take on the day! It's common sense to know that lack of sufficient sleep won't assist you in being productive. When you're tired, all you want to do is plop down on your mattress and take to Netflix for the rest of the day.
Many people believe that being productive involves working day and night, but Bianca Andreescu wants to set things straight: "There are so many people that say, 'To work harder you need to work longer' and that's just not true. We need our sleep."
When it comes down to it, sleep is the catalyst to achieving optimum performance in all mental and physical aspects.
Nurture Your Body
Research suggests that a single night of insufficient sleep can cause puffy eyes pesky fine lines and pale skin. When you're deep in slumber, your skin's blood flow increases, promoting collagen and repairing any unwelcome damage.
Besides giving you skin goals, sleep also helps nurture your body by managing your cortisol levels — aka the stress hormone. Have you ever taken a "stress nap"? Yeah, you're not alone. A little siesta is actually a productive way to rejuvenate.
Sleep is the fuel that powers your day and helps you feel and be your best self. And just as Bianca Andreescu prioritizes sleep in order to bring her A-game in tennis, Canadians should prioritize a good night's sleep to help them feel and be their best self.
Dormez-vous is on a mission to "awaken Canadians to the power of sleep." Their trusted and knowledgeable Sleep Experts help find personalized sleep solutions tailored to each individual's needs, ensuring every Canadian achieves their best night's sleep.
A viral video depicting Quebec's very own 'Billy Karaoke' interrupting Premier François Legault's press conference has made waves on social media — but as it turns out, it's not real. At least, according to the government, it's not.
The video, published on Billy's Instagram on May 12, has garnered over 28,000 views. It shows him replacing the Quebec Sign Language (QSL) interpreter and singing karaoke — albeit muted — while someone tries to forcibly remove him.
"A great victory for the karaoke community! [...] An intoxicating karaoke performance that lasted about 09 seconds," he wrote on Instagram.
What do the press conference organizers say?
However, Antoine Tousignant, head of the public affairs team for the minister of the executive council, which organizes Legault's press conferences, told Narcity Québec the video was falsified.
"The person could not even get in because the press briefings at the National Assembly [...] are monitored. There are special constables, he could never have entered there," he said.
"There is nothing more monitored than the ASSNAT."
'Billy Karaoke' responds
Billy responded to Narcity Québec after being asked whether the video was fake.
"You suspect me of editing [a fake video]? Me? The living karaoke legend of the web after all I've done for the karaoke community?" he said.
"After going to fight the street gangs in the Bronx, after going to fight racism by attacking the KKK, after going to fight homophobia, after going to fight the bikers, you still don't have faith in the karaoke community?"
Billy assured Narcity Québec that there was nothing it could report that would tarnish his reputation.
"You can't do anything to tarnish the reputation of the King! I am an ideal and ideals are immortal," he said.
It's not like it's never snowed here in April before. But after a number of 20-degree days (or warmer), we're simply not having it. As we looked up at the sky and cursed the heavens, asking, "Why the f*** is this happening?" we decided it would be more productive to ask actual experts the same question.
Why is it snowing when we've been seeing temperatures above 20 degrees lately?
Dr. Djordje Romanic, a professor of atmospheric sciences at McGill University, gave us an explanation from a scientific perspective.
Basically, it's all because of "a mid-latitude cyclone" in the northeast United States so you can blame New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
As the cyclone spins counterclockwise, it's lifting warm and moist air from the western Atlantic above dry and cold polar air from the north.
"It happened that the temperature profile in these two air masses is just the right [one] to form snow instead of rain," he said.
Can we chalk it up to global warming?
Dr. Romanic told us it's "not scientific" to say a particular event is due to global warming. Rather, we'd have to look at the frequency and severity of those types of events over time.
"We can never say that 'this or that particular event is caused by global warming.' Why not? Because we cannot go back some 200 years, undo all CO2 emissions, and see if we will have snow on 21 April 2021," he said.
How does this snowfall fit into Montreal's weather history?
Dr. Romanic said that on May 9, 1983, there was a snowfall of around 5 cm in Montreal and that on April 1, 1993, there was a snowfall of around 28 cm.
"It is not extreme in terms of it never happened before. On the other hand, such weather conditions are very unlikely and can be considered as an anomaly that is not observed on the yearly basis," Dr. Romanic said.
According to Paul Walker, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, "April is often a month of big weather swings."
He said it's "not unheard of" to have high temperatures around 16 C to 20 C followed by a cold turn, leading to some snow several or a few days later.
Based on the 30-year average of Montreal weather, he said it typically snows 3.2 days in April with an average of 5.1 inches or 13 inches falling during the whole month.
"The season's last snowfall typically happens in April," he said.
What are the chances of it snowing in May?
Walker said a late snowfall happens in May about once in a decade.
While we've been enjoying unseasonably glorious weather in Montreal, true Montrealers have been holding their breath, knowing from experience that good weather can change on a dime — especially in April.
As much as we were hoping winter was completely behind us, there is a chance that it could snow a little in Montreal next week. Ugh.
Before you get too upset, one forecast is predicting snow on Thursday while some others are not so it's definitely not a sure thing.
According to the Weather Channel — which services Apple's weather app and Google weather searches — there's a 60% chance of precipitation, which includes both rain and snow on the morning of April 22. The Weather Network also advises a chance of snow on Thursday but anticipates accumulations of less than a centimetre. Environment Canada hasn't called for snow at this point.*
The good news? Even if the Weather Channel is right, the snow won't last long. Snow showers would become rain showers by Thursday afternoon and the next day is expected to reach a high of 15 C.
*This article has been updated.
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.