Sunday, February 28, 2016


I don’t do well with winter. I’m not allergic to winter. And I don’t remember ever disliking winter. As a child we would play outside after a snowstorm; sledding, building snowmen, engaging in a snowball fight. But I do remember as a teenager and young adult not liking how cold my hands and feet could get. It must have been during this time that I fell in love with turtleneck sweaters, flannel shirts, and wool socks.

As the decades have passed I have become more aware of my seasonal discomfort. I think everyone who lives in northern New England or similar climates would agree that the short daylight hours are depressing. We all perk up a bit when we start to notice that there is still light in the sky at 5 p.m.
I hate being cold, so I’ve done things to counteract the frigid temperatures. I bought a down coat. I selected “warmest” when choosing my down weight. I tell my husband that it’s like wearing a down comforter. I tell my friends and colleagues it was the best financial investment I have ever made. I have not been cold.
This winter I am more in tune with my mood. I feel as if I lack motivation. There are mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. It is more than just the usual sleepy, need to wake up. I dread the day. When I stop and mentally review my calendar I find that there is nothing to fear on my “to do” list. Everything is routine and normal. And I feel guilty for not jumping out of bed and starting my day.
One Saturday recently, when I woke feeling like I couldn’t face the day, I asked myself what was wrong with staying in bed. I had nothing on my calendar. Is it that I am afraid that giving in to these feelings will lead down a path to mental illness? (Yes, that is one of my thoughts). Rather than force the issue I gave myself permission to lay there in the quietness of the morning. I did not fall back to sleep. Instead, I engaged in what I would now consider quiet meditation and silent prayer. It worked. Within a half hour I felt energized and motivated to meet the day.
My husband likes to take me to the Caribbean for a week or two in the winter. We didn’t get to go this winter, but I have found that regular exercise helps with the mid-winter blues. My parents sending us outside to play on a sunny winter day was in fact good therapy. And while I don’t participate in outdoor winter activities, my yoga mat and treadmill are good friends during these long winter days.
We were lucky this winter. It wasn’t as harsh as last winter. We are now getting intermittent warm days, and the sun is shining brighter. I think the groundhog was right when he predicted an early spring. As for me, I feel as if I’m coming out of hibernation.
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