Christmas comes at a very convenient time. Placing a huge celebration right at the winter solstice — that darkest time of the year — makes these dark days and falling temperatures more bearable. It’s fun. It’s festive. Tradition is on to something!
But then here in the northeastern United States — and the heavily populated regions of the globe at similar latitudes — the next 10 weeks are hard. The weather is even drearier. The days are still short until Daylight Savings Time begins in early March. Soldiering through until the daffodils are up around March 15 is always a challenge.
I am resolving this year to purposefully create more bright spots in the gloom. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Achieve a big professional goal. The good thing about the dark and cold is that there are fewer temptations to leave your desk. For 10 weeks, you can hunker down, work some long hours, and knock out something you can then look back on with wonder when you’re knocking off work early come spring. I’d like to finish the bulk of research for Mosaic by March 15. (Interested in participating? Please see this post).
2. Get outside. Of course, even if you do intend to work some long hours, wintry sun is still sun. Don’t eat at your desk. Walk to a restaurant or take a quick walk around the block if you’re brown-bagging it. If you work at home, exercise outside in the middle of the day. Unless it’s sleeting, for the next 10 weeks I’m going to make a point of getting outside while it’s light. Soon it will be light for at least a bit after my regular work hours, too, so I will force the kids outside for a twilight romp around the frozen yard.
3. Plan mini-vacations. We were supposed to go skiing over Christmas but that didn’t happen (long story). It’s now rescheduled for Martin Luther King weekend. I may try to schedule something for President’s Day weekend too. My 1st grader is off school on March 7. All of these are prime opportunities to be seized for fun. Planned fun can be anticipated during sleet-y days.
4. Keep a 1-sentence journal. I’ve made some “best summer ever” one sentence journals. I see no reason not to start a “best winter ever” document of awesomeness this year. I may try the note feature on my phone since it’s with me (a lot). I’ll write down one specific fun, memorable, or meaningful thing that happened each day. Recording things helps them stand out in the mind, and knowing you’ll need to record something sometimes gives it a push to happen.
5. Seek out beauty. There are all kinds of way to bring color into wintry bleakness. You can wear a bright scarf. Look at some beautiful paintings or visit an art museum. Go to a botanical garden with a green house (orchid shows are big in February). Read something that transports you elsewhere. I’m working on making brightly colored meals. All these things can make the 10 tough weeks a little better.
Those of you living in Miami can just laugh at the rest of us now.