My family and I have lived in the Chicago area for almost 15 years now. The first few years I kind of liked winter here. Lots of snow was exciting and fun. However, over the years, I have found myself in a love/hate relationship with winter, leaning more on the HATE side. The first snow, I love. I get up early to make sure Izzy and I are the first walkers of the day. There is nothing better than the calm that comes after a snow. I come back from a long walk refreshed and happy, marveling in nature. It’s the preceding days that I hate. The snow melts a little and refreezes. Each footprint in the snow has frozen over so when you try to avoid the slippery sidewalks, you end up nearly twisting an ankle as you walk on top of previous walker’s boot prints. I find myself silently yelling at neighbors who don’t shovel their sidewalks and neighbors who let their sump pump empty directly onto the sidewalk so there is a heavy sheet of ice. I end up returning home angry at the world and often that attitude stays with me all day. This is what happened yesterday. I took a walk and felt angry all day. My walks are what generally calm my mind and make the rest of the day doable. I feel like this time of the year, I struggle.
Yesterday, after it had rained the night before, my walk was miserable. A lot of the snow had melted but there were so many patches of ice on the sidewalk and in our yards that walking was more like participating in an obstacle course than being a serene time of the day. I worried about my border collie Izzy and myself slipping. I came home and told my husband, “I hate living here.”
As I reflected on “I hate living here” later in the day, I realized I hate many things about winter. It seems like forever since we have had sunshine for more than a few hours at a time. Whenever the sun is out, I want to absorb as much as I can, as if my body is starving for it. By February, I am absolutely sick and tired of putting on four layers of pants, two shirts and my coat, a face mask, a hat, and then a big hat over that one along with big clunky gloves and boots to insure the Rayaund’s in my hands and feet can make it through a 35-45 minute walk. I am tired of wiping down my border collie when we get home because she smells like a wet dog who then rubs herself all over the furniture. I am tired of having smashed down hair from wearing a hat everywhere I go, but know that without it, my ears which also seem to deal with Rayaund’s, become so painful I can’t handle it. I’m tired of brushing against a dirty car and looking out of windows that have dirt, salt, and other winter debris. I ‘m tired of everything just being dirty! By February, whether we have tons of snow or not, I am tired of living in the Chicago area. I told my husband that I could handle the cold and snow if the sun was out. I think it is true. I think more than anything, I just miss the sun. I need it in a bad, bad way.
Today, I am going to focus on getting my mind out of the “hate” mode and back to a happy place. For starters, I am going to focus on the positive of winter:
Help!!!!! I can’t think of anything today! I know there are a few.
Ok, change of focus. Rather than focus on what I like about winter, I am going to spend time today visualizing myself on a beach with the sun shining down on me. I am going to take time to read encouraging words, meditate, make delicious food, and laugh (even if I have to force it). I’m going to clean the house and declutter my desk, because even though I can’t take away the dirt outside, I can clean it up inside.
What do you do about winter blues?