Mm, this comes at the perfect time, doesn’t it? I plan out all my articles at the beginning of the month so I promise, I didn’t know that it would snow another six inches. Or get down to a high of -17 in the next two days.
I know, winter can be tough.
And yes, yes I know there are places that have it significantly worse than Chicago right now. But the problem is that we aren’t that used to feet upon feet of snow, inches of compacted snow, inches of ice and freezing rain, and….and lows of -27 degrees Fahrenheit.
Besides all that, there’s comes a certain time when all of us are just. plain. tired. of winter and all this winter weather.
Commuting is stressful. Shoveling/snow-blowing is stressful. Slipping and falling, crashing, tree limbs breaking is stressful. Batteries dying, tires going flat. Needing to run errands, go to the store. The darkness and cloudy days.
Winter is stressful.
Any of us who have lived in a climate with harsher winters get this. There comes a point in the season where you just want to scream. And then stay in bed all day.
So, can we deal with winter? Can we even enjoy it?
Yes! We absolutely can.
The big thing with winter is cutting yourself slack. We get all uppity about missing work, being unable to do this, that, or the other thing all because of one root problem. We can’t cut ourselves slack or give ourselves a break.
Trust me, I know how much it sucks to miss work but there are times when this is plain unavoidable. There are a million and two reasons to go to work but when your safety is at risk, we need to learn to take a step back. We need to understand that some days it’s just out of our control. And that’s okay.
So, step one: cut yourself slack.
If you can’t make it out of the house today, fine. If you don’t even want to risk it because you know the abilities/status of your car, your personal driving abilities, etc then just stay home. If you make that decision…stick to it and let everything else go. After all, you made the decision. Don’t worry about it all day. Instead, get to work on something else. A day off from work doesn’t have to be a lazy day if you don’t want it to be.
Step two: get out and shovel.
Look, hate me all you want but you do not want to sit inside all day. It does bad things for you especially if its cloudy all the time. Shoveling and brushing off your car/cars accomplishes several things at the same time.
You’re getting in some exercise. You’re spending time outdoors. And you’re doing something that you from the future will appreciate. You’re not going to work today maybe, but you will be tomorrow and you won’t want to shovel and brush off your car at 5 a.m tomorrow morning. Guaranteed.
So do yourself a favor by getting out, sweating a little, and clearing out all the snow.
Step Three: own warm gear.
It’s probably a little late in the season to mention this, but you really should have warm stuff. It’s so worth it to have an extremely warm jacket, warm gloves, a hat, scarves, and a good pair of boots if you’re in a place where it gets cold and snowy. You might as well invest in it because even if you’re out for five minutes, you’ll appreciate it.
This also goes for your house. If there’s a draft, something wrong where it makes it colder, or you keep the heat low, cut yourself slack (step one). Turn up the heat if you can. Have someone fix the problems or find a way to DIY it yourself. Staying warm is so important for now only our physical health but our emotional health.
Last one: Eat and exercise.
Don’t give up just because it’s cold. There’s a big difference between cutting yourself some slack and abandoning your healthy habits because your brain was waiting for an excuse to eat poorly and sit around. Make sure you are eating the right foods. Hearty foods, warm foods, foods that will give you energy. Also make sure, if you’re training outside, you are dressed appropriately.
It’s easy to get cold and if we aren’t eating enough or the right foods it’ll be even easier. It’s also easy to feel glum if we aren’t actively doing anything.
At the end of the day, if it’s cold and yucky, it’s cold and yucky. There’s absolutely nothing we can do to “fix” the weather outside. It’s a part of nature and a wonderful part at that.
For the time being, as you grumble about hating the snow and all that, try and shift your mentality. Grab some cocoa, tea, coffee, crack a window to get the stuffy air out, and take a moment to enjoy the weather outside. I know how silly it sounds, but a lot of the times we need to force ourselves to like what’s happening.
Go outside for a little walk. Maybe even play in the snow by yourself or with a puppy or with a loved one. Read a book. Look outside and just admire what you see. It’s so beautiful, isn’t it? We look at wintry destinations and forget all about the lovely winter outside our own windows.
This positive outlook and the forced appreciation of what’s going on around us helps shift our mindset from a cranky one to a more content one. We did choose to live here after all. We might as well appreciate the force of the four seasons.
Wherever you are today, stay warm. Stay safe. Don’t take chances if you think your safety is at risk. No matter what people say, how agitated they might get, it is your safety, your health, and your life. You know it best. You know your car, your body, and your abilities better than anyone else does. Respect that this week as the snow piles up and the temperatures drop.