by Hannah Rau
With wintry weather often lasting as long as five months, winter in the Midwest can be challenging. The icy roads, heavy snow, and freezing temperatures can cause some to feel trapped, experience ‘cabin fever,’ and long for the warmer seasons. During the winter, I know that I often find myself fondly recalling summer days when I could step out the door without donning four additional articles of clothing first. But when summer does come and a hot, humid day makes me wish for snow, I remember something: I love winter.
Discontentment is an easy trap. When I wish for summer during the winter or winter during the summer, I have the feeling that I’m missing something. Being caught up in thinking about when things will be different makes us feel out of touch with what’s happening around us in the present.
Instead, living present ‘in the moment’ during winter can help us Relax, Refresh, and Renew. Living in the moment means focusing our attention on what is happening now, rather than on the past or future. If we Relax by letting go of discontent and Refresh by breathing deeply and enjoying what’s great about winter, we can Renew our energy and positivity and actually enjoy the season.
There are many things to enjoy about winter. Here are a few ways to live in the present moment and take advantage of the unique opportunities that winter brings:
Winter days are short, offering the chance to enjoy the night sky early in the evening. Where I live, the sun sets before 6:00 p.m. this time of year. Seeing the stars in the summer requires staying up late for full darkness. On the next clear night, bundle up in a warm coat and step outside to observe the moon and stars. Then head inside for some cocoa or your favorite hot beverage.
Wear your favorite winter clothes.
Every year I go through my closet and find seasonal clothing I love but didn’t wear because I forgot about it. Now’s the time to wear that chunky sweater, blanket scarf, or comfy flannel. Place your favorite winter pieces somewhere you can easily find them—the front of your closet or an often-used drawer—and enjoy sporting some comfy seasonal attire.
Enjoy the snow and ice.
There are plenty of fun outdoor activities to enjoy in the winter—ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, building snow forts, and many others. Doing your favorite outdoor winter activity can get you out of the house, into the fresh air, and exercising in a way that’s fun for you. The snow won’t be here in the summer, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Let winter inspire your creative side.
Winter is a beautiful season. Snow blankets the ground, ice glistens in the sun, animals and birds venture out to find food. Stay inside and do winter-inspired crafts, paint a winter scene, or cook a favorite comfort food. Or, head outside and take photos of nature.
Take advantage of the slower pace of the winter months.
Life tends to slow down in the winter. We stay inside more, go out less. It’s a good time to catch up on household organizing, enjoy indoor activities, or take some well-deserved naps. I recently heard someone say that it’s okay if your energy level is not the same in the winter as it is in the summer. Enjoy the season for what it is.
Let’s drive away the winter ‘blahs’ by getting excited about the unique opportunities winter has to offer. Winter may be long and cold in the Midwest, but it also brings beauty and fun activities. What are some ways you live in the present moment during this season? Watch for upcoming posts with more tips on how to Relax. Refresh. Renew. during the winter.
Hannah Rau is a Michigan-based writer and writing tutor. Her favorite self-care activities include reading classic literature, burning lovely-smelling candles, creating watercolor paintings with instant coffee, and taking rambling strolls outdoors.