Where are all my SAD gals at? Our Seasonal Affective Disorder is gearing up to hit hard as soon as the clocks change this weekend and I, for one, am not ready for it. I mean, I’m never ready for winter to come, but this year’s hot, summery Autumn has really contributed to my lack of preparedness for winter’s arrival. Yet here we are, a few days away from Daylight Savings Time, the holiday season, and the freezing temps.
My least favourite months of the year have always been November, December, January, and February. The darkest, coldest, most dreary months. Every year at this time I start an internal countdown because I can’t wait until March. The spring time change, increasing daylight hours, crocuses and tulips popping, sun setting a little later each evening….sigh. The anticipation of a coming summer is so grand and full of promise.
But as a parent I am keenly aware that constantly looking to the next thing has consequences. It’s so easy to wish away the sleepless newborn phase, then wish away the whiny toddler phase, then wish away the energy-sucking preschool phase, then wish away the demanding school years. All of a sudden we have a kid who we didn’t enjoy raising nearly as much as we could have! This is something I’ve ruminated on endlessly these past six years. Though some stages (and some winters) can feel truly unending, it’s crucial to our happiness that we try to sit in a place of gratitude for the present season (and if not gratitude, at least growth. I’m looking at you, Colic Phase!).
So here I am, at the outset of another dark and dreary Canadian winter. I know I prefer the summer. I know I’ll miss my daily walks in the sunshine up local trails. I know our beach dinners will be few and far between so that our children’s fingers don’t freeze off while they clutch their stone-cold snacks and look out at the stormy sea. But what would happen if I chose to focus less on these losses and more on the potential opportunities?
The opportunity to unplug.
The opportunity to turn inward.
The opportunity to grow.
The opportunity to move slow.
The opportunity to be still.
The opportunity to ask questions.
The opportunity to focus.
The opportunity to get close.
The opportunity to hibernate.
Some winter seasons the thing that gets me through is the hustle; I find a thing that makes me feel passionate and excited and I work toward it with that renewed New Year Energy that I love so much. I do DIYs around the house, get stuff done, and plow through the dark winter until I see the light of spring on the horizon. But this year I’m curious about using winter to slow down, to mull some things over, ask questions and seek answers (this is sounding far more cryptic than I mean it to). Being still and slow is the thing that I am the worst at, the thing that I rail against every day.
But I think this winter I wanna try something new, try to stop, and log off, and look inward.
[For more practical tips for enjoying a long winter, I love this article from my favourite blog Cup of Jo]