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.
13 thoughts on “5 ways to soldier through the next 10 weeks until spring”
It’s getting down to 20 degrees tonight. I did not sign up for this! And two days ago it was lovely and in the 70s.
Not goin’ outside today if I don’t have to. Temp is -5 degrees, wind chill is -25. Costa Rica sounds better all the time…
even our low is 48!! in miami beach!! i can’t wait to see what kinds of getups people are sporting tomorrow (with a ‘cold’ high of 64 🙂 )
I light candles! And I say an intention or wish with everyone I light. It feels special and not dreary.
@Sarah – candles are good! Definitely a nice winter touch. That and a fire in the fireplace.
I needed this post today, Laura! This has been a tough winter so far. It’s either been frigid, snowing or warm but rainy- very few days of sunshine and above-freezing temps since the beginning of December. I’m craving fresh air! I like your suggestion about seeking/creating beauty- I never thought about it before, but I do dislike that winter is so “ugly,” especially once the Christmas decor is gone, and the snow melts.
I would add that this time of year, with the decrease in sunlight, is a great time to get vitamin D levels tested. Low levels can lead to depression.
@Leanne- thanks! At least today is sunny — if it is only 5 degrees out.
I actually like the cold and am looking forward to walking outside today. The real problem with winter is the lack of outside-the-house activities available to entertain the kiddo in the evenings and weekends. I mean really, how many times can a person go to the please touch museum before you start to go insane? THAT is what makes me crazy. Any tips for addressing that issue?
And no, the botanical garden isn’t going to cut is. Think “ALL DONE BOTANICAL GARDEN.” I do not have a stationary child. Also, it’s not open at 5PM on a Sunday.
@oldmdgirl – oh, I know. So there’s the Smith playhouse, and the Franklin Institute and the Academy of Natural Sciences — all indoors. And I just found this Bryn Mawr Play Cafe that works for littler ones (2-4). But yeah, mostly this stuff is open during 9-5 type hours. Not the evenings. Fortunately my night owl kid is now capable of entertaining himself, and the little one goes to bed early. Back when I just had my oldest, and he was little and needed entertainment, I was dying for indoor winter evening activities…
This is a major issue for young kids. My 4 year old is way better with entertaining himself now (he’ll sit down and color or paint for 30 minutes at a time!), but he still needs a way to burn off energy on days stuck indoors all day. My 2 year old is going NUTS and keeps wanting to go outside, but can’t keep his mittens on and cries that his hands are cold after about 3 minutes. I do start to count down the weeks until temps are at least in the high 30s and we can stay at the park for more than a few minutes.
This idea isn’t original with me, but this year I put a string of twinkly lights around the bay window in our kitchen (inside). We are enjoying the cozy light they give on gray mornings and when it gets dark in the evening. I have also purchased a plant with bright flowers after Christmas, and today I’m wearing a bright coral colored cable knit sweater. I love winter clothes that are not always dark colors!
@Kristi- that sounds festive! Yes, there’s no reason to only wear black…