Miscellany

Dear Winter, Go Away

Who here is having a blah winter?  Show of hands?

Some of my friends and I have been debating if this winter has been harder than previous ones.  Many of us are fighting a strong desire to become hermits, permanently wearing pajamas and not leaving the warmth and comfort of our caves homes.  Yes, it’s that time of year.  SAD time.

ugh, winter
ugh, winter

I have a terrible short-term memory when it comes to things like SAD (also, allergies).  Every year (I think), I go through about a week where I feel highly unmotivated, have a strong case of the doldrums, am more irritable, and don’t want to get out of bed (though that is kind of a year-round thing, now that I think about it).

So after a week of this, I remember, very vaguely, that maybe I went through this last year.  And the year before that, and the year before that, and so on and so forth.

But, mark my words, next year it will probably be a surprise to me again.

Well, friends, what’s there to do when doing anything feels impossibly hard?

If I had been writing this post this morning, I would have probably said “Nothing.  Do nothing.  It’s hopeless.  Everything is horrible.  Blearhghghghghghg.”  That’s how awesome I felt.  It was great (no, no it wasn’t).  Actually, I didn’t write a post then because I simply did not feel like it.  Not one bit.

And that’s how I’ve felt for well over a week now.  Just eking by, doing the very bare minimum, and feeling lousy about it.

It’s like that sometimes, especially in the winter.  The angst and the anxiety can ramp right up, until I feel like nothing is good, and nothing is going well.  Which is ridiculous, because SO MUCH is good and going well.  So much.  But it can really feel like the opposite.

This morning, thankfully, instead of just sitting in front of the computer, ostensibly wasting time, I called a friend and picked up a little around the house while chatting with her.  I finally put away those puzzles that had been cluttering up the dining room.  Some stray papers went into the recycling.  That kind of stuff.

In the evening, I went to orchestra rehearsal  (now I’m playing with a women’s orchestra – hooray!), which did amazing things for my spirits.

After I arrived home, I had a conversation with my mother (also good for feeling happy).  She told me that during the postpartum depression after my birth, her doctor told her that she needed to go out once a week and just do something for herself.  Regularly.  So the orchestra is my regular thing, I guess.  It involves both being out of the house and playing music.  Two major wins, right there.

If I were able to talk to my future self at the beginning of next winter, I would tell her not to panic when things start to seem bleak.  That it’s just part of the season, that the grey and the cold and the dark is just temporary, and that the sun will come out again.  And that she will feel motivated again.  I would encourage her to resist that urge to withdraw from the world.  Go on out there, call a friend, get a coffee, persevere.

no sadness here!
no sadness here!
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20 thoughts on “Dear Winter, Go Away

  1. If it makes you feel any better, here in LA where the winters are not really cold, we feel grumpy too. Nice that you turned it around so quickly. Good for you and lots of luck with the orchestra! Wow….L

  2. I totally hear you. I’m definitely getting some winter blah here in MinneSNOWta. The cold and the horrendously icy roads are the worst part. Good for you for finding something to do for yourself outside the house! I don’t have kids, but I work from home, plus I’m an introvert, so getting out was a chore before I got involved in my church’s theater productions. If you happen to come up with a magic formula for staying off the computer, let me know, haha!

    1. Oh boy, Minnesota! That is some serious coldness up there. I understand the working from home/introversion double whammy. So nice that you got involved in the productions! As for the computer, sometimes it’s just a matter of exercising all the will power I can muster. Or tricking myself by saying “I’m just going to pick up for five minutes,” and then the urge to vegetate sometimes passes.

  3. My first year living in London was exactly like that, especially coming from very sunny South Africa. So for the second year I determined that every weekend during winter I would DO SOMETHING, didn’t matter what it was as long as it got me out of the house and was enjoyable. That worked great and I came to love living there. My absolute favourite though, and what got me through the whole of winter in its entirety and even those bleakest of bleak months, February, was knowing that I had a long weekend holiday, at a spa resort, to escape to the very first weekend of March. The anticipation kept me on even ground and anticipating the End of Winter, even through really dire February months. It was that combo of something really special only happening once a year + the total and utter holiday from all of my life’s oopsies that did, it I reckon.

  4. As you can imagine, I get this. Imagine feeling that way for 5 months? Or 12? Or 18? I’m glad you are getting out and devoting time to yourself. I’ve found walking in the cold to be incredibly healing. I know bundling up may sound unappealing, but if you have the right clothes, walking in the snow is very therapeutic. xo

    1. I can’t imagine, Renee. It’s hard enough for me when it’s a few weeks at a time, though I guess it gives me a little taste to help me empathize. I think getting out in the fresh air would do me a world of good, even if the bundling up beforehand seems daunting. I used to walk all the time in the Cleveland cold, and it was invigorating.

      1. Exactly! It gets those endorphins moving. Not kidding! If I’m not walking with a friend, I put on headphones and play quiet inspirational music. Make the walk your time to listen to some music that you love. It’ll be a treat. G-d is outside! Go see!

  5. I have a simple solution: tell winter to go to my place! I’d love some snow. All this springtime weather, rain, funny temperatures (neither warm nor cold), blah…

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