Well, we are in the heart of the winter season and so far, so good. I always get a serious case of dread in October and November knowing what is in front of us, namely darkness, snow and cold.
So, this winter I was determined to make things better, determined not to hate every day of it. And maybe it's because it's been a fairly tame winter thus far, but I also think a lot of it can be credited to attitude and some other adjustments I've made.
Probably the biggest problem I had with it in the past was the early darkness. I'm an outdoors person so being cooped up indoors after work every night cramps my routine. What I've done to remedy some of this is come to the realization that there is a season for high activity and a season for rest. I've come to look at winter as my season to dial my outdoor sports back a bit.
The problem with this is it typically means I gain 8-9 pounds every winter which makes me feel like a fat boy. To remedy this, I try and walk to work on any day that the weather is above the teens. The 3+ mile round trip keeps me in some shape.
This year though, I felt that wasn't enough, so I bought a bike trainer. On days I don't walk, I try and put 30-45 minutes on the trainer. I do it while watching Outlander on my laptop with headphones, so it works out well on all accounts. It pales in comparison to road riding, believe me, but it helps get the heart and lungs working hard.
I've also taken to trying to meditate for 5 minutes twice a day. I've heard many good things about meditation, so use it to try and clear my head. One quote I read said meditation will never leave your head empty, but it will leave it emptier. That is what I'm hoping. So far, so good. More on that in a future post, perhaps.
When I walk the dog, or walk to work, I have been trying to see the good parts of the winters day, one day at a time. Maybe its the fact that it is a windless day, maybe its above 32, or maybe its the sunset - albeit at 5:15 PM. There is beauty in all of it, sometimes you just have to look harder.
I've also resolved to getting a little more sleep preceeded by a little more reading time. Between these two and bingeing on Outlander on Netflix (a mindless habit, I'm brutally aware, but I'm hooked), I've determined that life goes on if I'm not up until 10:15 "writing" (i.e. cruising Facebook with occasional sentences of writing). It's okay to not be productive 24/7. The memoir/poem/fiction story will wait.
And finally I will take on new activities when I can. Studying a Richard Rohr book while drinking beer with good friends every other Thursday night is one. I also went cross country skiing today, another benefit of winter I do enjoy.
So, winter ain't all bad. I just have to keep telling myself that.