Dear Mountain Mama,
I feel like I’m just going through the motions, living in a fog. Every winter I suffer from seasonal depression, but this year seems to be worse than usual for me. I’ll be happy when the first flowers bud, when the sun shines warm, and when light fills the evening hours.
Any tips for surviving winter?
Ready for Spring
Dear Ready for Spring,
Winter’s assault can get us all down. There’s a lot I love about living in western North Carolina, but winter isn’t one of those things. Between the grey skies, the wintery mixes that keep me buried under layers of wool but provide no snow for playing, and the long, dark nights that keep me from getting outdoors as often as I’d like, I find myself longing for warmer weather, too.
It’s easy to hate winter. But there’s another way. Instead of saying, “I’ll be happy when,” try finding happiness now. Sometimes it takes digging deep to find happy moments during the day. Those who take the time to dig, to find bright spots in the grey and cold, will be rewarded with real joy. Amplify your joy by focusing on it, letting your mind dwell in the beauty of a snowflake or the mystery of the wind. Take pictures or write about it, anything that helps you focus on the positive moments.
It’s tempting to stay safe and comfortable all winter long, patiently waiting for spring. Instead of avoiding freezing rain and ice, embrace them. Bundle up and allow yourself to get uncomfortable, because pushing through your discomfort allows you to get to the other side. Dealing with adversity and facing challenges inspires us, allowing us to grow and evolve in ways that staying safe doesn’t. Stepping away from what’s comfortable gives us a new perspective.
We can all benefit from getting outside more. Luckily, every day it’s staying light later. Each day it stays light two minutes longer. Chase the light instead of the lingering in the dark.
Bundle up and get out there!