Monday, February 11, 2013

I HATE winter!

My family and I have lived in the Chicago area for almost 15 years now.  The first few years I kind of liked winter here.  Lots of snow was exciting and fun.  However, over the years, I have found myself in a love/hate relationship with winter, leaning more on the HATE side.  The first snow, I love.  I get up early to make sure Izzy and I are the first walkers of the day.  There is nothing better than the calm that comes after a snow.  I come back from a long walk refreshed and happy, marveling in nature.  It's the preceding days that I hate.  The snow melts a little and refreezes.  Each footprint in the snow has frozen over so when you try to avoid the slippery sidewalks, you end up nearly twisting an ankle as you walk on top of previous walker's boot prints.   I find myself silently yelling at neighbors who don't shovel their sidewalks and neighbors who let their sump pump empty directly onto the sidewalk so there is a heavy sheet of ice.  I end up returning home angry at the world and often that attitude stays with me all day.  This is what happened yesterday.  I took a walk and felt angry all day. My walks are what generally calm my mind and make the rest of the day doable.  I feel like this time of the year, I struggle.      

Yesterday, after it had rained the night before, my walk was miserable.  A lot of the snow had melted but there were so many patches of ice on the sidewalk and in our yards that walking was more like participating in an obstacle course than being a serene time of the day.  I worried about my border collie Izzy and myself slipping. I came home and told my husband, "I hate living here."

As I reflected on "I hate living here" later in the day, I realized I hate many things about winter.  It seems like forever since we have had sunshine for more than a few hours at a time. Whenever the sun is out, I want to absorb as much as I can, as if my body is starving for it. By February, I am absolutely sick and tired of putting on four layers of pants, two shirts and my coat, a face mask, a hat, and then a big hat over that one along with big clunky gloves and boots to insure the Rayaund's in my hands and feet can make it through a 35-45 minute walk.  I am tired of wiping down my border collie when we get home because she smells like a wet dog who then rubs herself all over the furniture.  I am tired of having smashed down hair from wearing a hat everywhere I go, but know that without it, my ears which also seem to deal with Rayaund's, become so painful I can't handle it.  I'm tired of brushing against a dirty car and looking out of windows that have dirt, salt, and other winter debris. I 'm tired of everything just being dirty!  By February, whether we have tons of snow or not, I am tired of living in the Chicago area.  I told my husband that I could handle the cold and snow if the sun was out.  I think it is true.  I think more than anything, I just miss the sun.  I need it in a bad, bad way.  

Today, I am going to focus on getting my mind out of the "hate" mode and back to a happy place.  For starters, I am going to focus on the positive of winter:
Help!!!!!  I can't think of anything today!  I know there are a few.

Ok, change of focus.  Rather than focus on what I like about winter, I am going to spend time today visualizing myself on a beach with the sun shining down on me.  I am going to take time to read encouraging words, meditate, make delicious food, and laugh (even if I have to force it).  I'm going to clean the house and declutter my desk, because even though I can't take away the dirt outside, I can clean it up inside.

What do you do about winter blues?


  1. Aren't you the woman who was hoping for snow? ;)

    The funny thing is — and don't quote me on this — although it's wearing on me a little (and sometimes more depending on how cold it is), I'm not really sick of it yet. Last winter was so mild in Toronto that we got hardly any snow and it wasn't cold, it was just months and months of dark and gray and rainy. This winter, true Canadian weather has returned in full force. I was not thrilled with the super cold that meant I couldn't open the windows (because they froze shut), but it turns out that winter without the winter part just makes me depressed. Maybe it helps that I live downtown where streets and sidewalks are kept pretty clear. Still, I give myself about three weeks more of this and then I'll probably be where you are.

    Positive parts to winter:
    1. Christmas
    2. Lots of snow means the soil gets the water it needs, so we don't have drought. Cheaper vegetables and fruit in the summer!
    3. unrelenting sunshine every day would get boring. It's the contrast between what we have now and summer that makes us so happy come April.

    1. Thank you! Thank you! Lene! I love your positives. I don't however think I can ever get tired of the sun. In the summer, I try to get out as often as possible and soak it all in.

      I do like snow, I just get tired of the after affects and the lack of sun.

  2. Ha, I feel you. But at least you get sunshine in the summer! ;) Here's a thought to make you feel better about Chicago - in Glasgow we get about 2-3 "proper" summer weeks per year. By that I mean where the temp is above 20 degrees C, and the sky is clear. No kidding. Most of the summer it's about 15-17 degrees, windy and overcast with little bursts of sun and more often than not, showers. It's pretty depressing and no one believes it's as bad as people say but it really is! At least the days are really long..

    1. Squirrel,
      OH wow! I could not handle living in Glasgow. I live for summer. How do you survive?

  3. We are pretty lucky in Labrador, despite being absolutely frigid for months (-40 is common) with metres of snow falling, we have so many days of huge blue skies. We get a lot of sun here, which helps with the blues a little. However, we have the same issues you do: slick ice, melted and re-frozen footprints (the worse when your feet are affected!), or just plain piles of snow to walk through. I don't get out much these days, unfortunately. We've been shoveling the deck this year, as last year it sunk under the weight of the snow, and it has allowed me to bundle up and go sit outside and get some sun on my face.

    I normally love winter. LOVE it. The past two winters have not been kind, crutches/wheelchairs do not mix well with this weather.

    As I type this, snow falls lazily outside. I admit I can still appreciate the beauty of it from inside :)

    1. Pony, if we had regular sunshine, I could definitely handle winter. It is the lack of sunshine that I think I miss the most. I am also wondering if my Vitamin D storage is gone by February which makes things worse.

  4. I miss the sun in winter too.

    The positives, having lived in this sort of climate almost all my life:

    1) When Spring comes I feel amazingly alive and in love with the world. I know I feel that much more intensely *because* of the winter that came before.

    2) I am always charmed by the black-eyed juncos that show up every year. They leave right about now. We won't see them again until maybe November.

    3) "Inside" everywhere feels so warm and cozy.

    But wait, there's more!

    4) I like seeing the shapes of trees without their leaves. Some are so graceful.

    5) Hot chocolate.

    6) SLEDDING.

    7) Wearing handknits.

    8) Not worrying about having the oven on at 450 degrees for an hour to make baked potatoes because it just helps to keep the apartment warm.

    9) Soft blankets.

    10) Seeing your breath.

    11) Icicles.

    I've realized it's not winter I hate so much as the length of it. If it were as short as our Spring and Fall it wouldn't be a problem. It's six months of it that's hard to take.

    1. I love these Kathie. And you are right, it is the length of winter I hate,not winter itself. Thanks for the great reminders of the beauty of winter. I especially like #8.