My Australian readers may be counting down the days of summer. But when I look at my traffic logs, most blog readers appear to be in North America and Europe, and many of us are right in the dead of winter. The holidays have come and gone. Now it’s a slog through cold weather until the flowers bud in March.
In late 2015, I wrote a post for Fast Company called “The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter.” It became the website’s most-read leadership story of the year. It turns out that many of us struggle with winter, but as with the rest of life, so much is about mindset. And so I have been on a multi-year journey to develop a better attitude about winter.
One key component: spending more active time outside. I run outside whenever possible. I was treated to the gorgeous sunrise in the photo on this post the other morning. It was 20 degrees but wow, that sky!
We go for family walks. My husband insisted we walk through a local cemetery on a recent weekend, which was certainly different (we saw the grave of Anna Jarvis, who invented Mother’s Day, among others). We’ve been hanging out in the new house’s yard. There are some old stone walls and vines and the evergreen trees make the landscape beautiful, even if it’s bleak. The kids ride bikes on the driveway or jump on the trampoline we put in the garage.
I try to plan in fun things to look forward to. My husband and I can sometimes grab a quick dinner together on Monday nights, and so I have put some of these beginning-of-the-week dates on the calendar. I’ll go see a botanical garden greenhouse soon; warmth and flowers in winter are a special treat. In non-Covid times I have planned trips to warm spots. 2019 was amazing for that — San Diego with my eldest in January, Disney World with the family in February. That’s not on the calendar for this year, but is always an option in future years.
I’m spending some time daily on fun indoor past-times. I’m working on a new 1000 piece puzzle — one which is much more doable than the Star Wars monstrosity I recently finished (about a quarter of which was black sky — and pieces could plausibly fit in multiple places. Argh!). The kids and I are making progress on our Lego projects: The Saturn V rocket, a Lego Friends pirate-themed amusement park, a Lego City police station set.
In any case, all time passes. The 13-year-old is making his high school course selections. The baby is walking and (bliss!) slept through the night the past three nights. Eventually the days will grow longer, and the wind will have a warmth and energy to it — the earth thawing and the green rolling through the brown woods like fog. I don’t want to wish time away, and so part of that is taking winter as it is. There is a beauty to it. A starker beauty than magnolias in spring of course. But beautiful all the same.
What are you doing to enjoy winter?
Photo: Worth waking up for