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Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter for Wimps Like Me!


The cold has descended upon us and I'm not fond of it's wintry ways.  When the sun hides for several days, I notice a physical tensing of my neck and shoulder muscles.  When actual precipitation is coming down, I want to hide inside...too often inside my kitchen where I snack on sweet in a futile attempt at feeling better.  Through the years, I've learned to behave better.

This year, I'm allowing myself to embrace the natural ebb and flow in the pace of life.  While early January is often marked by re-entry into schedules and activities, I'm allowing an intentional slow down, as opposed the forced slow downs of accident or illness.  Here is my personal Winter for Wimps Survival Guide:

1) Move Gently - I still struggle to say that I am a runner, but I've been running now for more than six years.  I run more than one thousand miles each year, so even though I'm not super-fast, I'm legit!  But instead of pushing myself hard during this season of resolutions, I'm allowing myself to slow down and power-walk through the bitter cold.  In 2014 I had a major ankle injury and painful plantar fasciitis, but I ran almost 1200 miles.  In 2015 I was much better and continued healing by making adjustments to protect my knees.  I love being without the pain!  So when it just feels too brutal and jarring to run outdoors, I will head out for a power walk.

2) Halt the Influx - I am floored at all the *things* that enter my home!  From overstuffed inboxes to spilling-out closets and cabinets too cluttered to close, I just can't eliminate enough junk to be satisfied.  I'm going to embark on several purges this year but I'm also guarding the gates.  I'm will think long and hard before bringing anything into our home, before signing up for a spam list or text blast.  I want strong boundaries around my personal space mentally and physically.  Cluttered spaces and a cluttered mind drain me of energy.

3) Embrace the Light - Already I feel the slow edging towards a later sunset and it gets me giddy.  Even so, it is usually dark when I step outside each morning and dark before I begin dinner.  Dark, cloudy winter days aren't cozy to me, they are depressing.  So during the brief moments that I can get outside, I will do it whether I have to bundle up or not.  As long as there is no precipitation coming down, I will get outdoors.  While inside, I'm turning on the overhead lights, burning the fireplace and lighting a candle whenever I can.

4) Nourish with Intention - Yes, food does factor into my mood.  I hate to admit that when I'm indoors more during the cold months, I tend to snack more readily.  I won't completely abandon this tendency, so I'm striving to make better choices and stock the kitchen with truly nourishing things.  I've long been a fan of meal planning, because it makes my life so much easier!  But I rarely plan to snack, and it always leaves me reaching for whatever is convenient.  Not now - I have fruit, cheese, dark chocolate nuts and a few other easy to grab snacks ready.  I'm sure I won't always make wise choices, but it's an area where I'm striving to do better.

5) Invest in Relationships - When I take stock of my days, it is the people that I care about who matter most.  The number on my jeans, the style of my home, the amount in my bank all take a back seat to the hearts of those I love.  I can see that sometimes I put my projects and performance over my people and I desire to reverse this drift.  I will choose to let the togetherness that winter provides to draw my children closer.  We are reading together, crafting together, playing together and dreaming together.  I will be generous to my husband with my affection and words.  I won't run from the stillness, I'll make it work for me.  I'm investing the the attachment bonds with those who benefit most.  I'm reinforcing our little touches of connection: Sunday morning coffee, Thursday after school Sonic treats, family meals, Saturday lunch dates, back rubs and heart talks.  These are investments that matter.

Winter is my least favorite season, although I do recognize some beauty and benefits.  I acknowledge that I'm sometimes paralyzed by the cold and darkness, so I look for bright spots in the season.  There is always something for which to be grateful  and peace is more noticeable this time of year. Plus, I especially appreciate those sunny days!

Can you adopt any bright spots for gray days?