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Five Reasons to Appreciate Winter

Five Reasons to Appreciate Winter
Image by Yogi (license).

Note: This is a guest post by Maria Gajewski of Never the Same River Twice.

If you live in the snowy part of the Northern Hemisphere, you might be very tired of winter by now. The white, fluffy snow that started out as a novelty in December has become crunchy and dirty. You haven’t seen the sun in what seems like weeks. The first day of spring sits like a beacon of light on your calendar.

I’m definitely not a winter person myself, but lately I’ve been thinking that it’s not very healthy or productive to dread 25% of the year. In an effort to think more positively about this season, I’ve come up with a list of five reasons to appreciate winter followed by action steps you can take to change your mindset about this season.

1. Playing in the snow.

When I was a kid, I LOVED sledding. I remember staying outside until my fingers were frozen and my lungs were burning.

Over the years, my enthusiasm for dragging a sled up a big hill has waned, but I still try to get outside at least one day every winter and relive those moments from my childhood.

Action step: Grab your sled, snowboard or ice skates and get outside the next chance you get. After you’re done, drink some hot tea or chocolate and appreciate the moment.

2. Inhaling cold, crisp air.

If it’s below 0F where you live right now, you may not appreciate this idea, but if you’re in a place that’s a little frosty you can probably identify. There’s something invigorating about walking outside in the morning and taking that first breath of cold air. The world seems to smell cleaner and feel fresher.

Action step: Tomorrow morning before you start to scrape off your car, take a moment to just breathe. Notice how your nose and lungs feel and the contrast between your warm breath and the cold air.

3. It’s okay to have low energy.

During the darkest months of winter you might just want to lounge around in your pajamas all day. That’s a completely natural reaction to the cold and dark. Many animals either limit their activity during the winter or hibernate. Our 24/7 world doesn’t like to allow for downtime, but it is a part of life.

Action step: Allow yourself an evening or two every week to stay in and read or watch movies. If you’re inclined, limit your social activities for the next few weeks to things that you know you will enjoy. Don’t isolate yourself, but don’t feel obligated to socialize with people that don’t lift you up.

4. It’s okay to gain some weight.

Let’s be honest. Most of us put on a few pounds during the winter months and then scramble like crazy to lose the weight (or not) in the spring before it’s time to put on a bathing suit. The good news is, this isn’t all that different from what top athletes do during their off seasons. At the end of their competitive seasons, most athletes take some time off to let their bodies rest and recover.

Action step: Keep eating your veggies and getting some exercise, especially if you are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, but don’t stress out about putting on a little weight. Just know that it’s your job to work if off again when your energy picks up in the spring – just as an athlete does during pre-season training.

5. If all else fails, know that summer will be here soon.

Where I live, summer days are quite long and it’s possible to play golf or sail in June until 9 or 10pm. People love summer with all their beings and they manage to squeeze in an extraordinary number of experiences in four or five months.

Action step: If you can’t find anything to enjoy during the winter months, surround yourself with images of summer. Visualize yourself swimming or enjoying the warm sun. Keep your outlook positive and summer will be here before you know it!

Maria Gajewski writes Never the Same River Twice, a blog that helps you change your life and your organization. If you would like more tips like the ones above, subscribe to her RSS feed.

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  • Debi February 13, 2008, 7:38 pm

    As an asthmatic, #2 could be a problem :)

    I love the list though. I’m a gardener, so it’s hard to remember to appreciate the winter, but it has it’s own beauty and peace.

  • Kacper Wrzesniewski February 14, 2008, 11:16 am

    Nice post from Maria.
    I’m jealous of snow. I remember my childhood and in Poland there was always a lot of snow in winter. This year, there is no snow at all in my city.

  • Never the Same River Twice February 14, 2008, 3:49 pm

    Thanks for publishing my guest post, Henrik. I’m actually in Phoenix, AZ right now, which has a complete lack of anything winter going on, but it’s a nice break!

    @Debi – I can see that asthma might be a problem! I personally can’t run outside in cold air, it’s just too hard to breathe.

    My mom is an avid gardener and one of her favorite things about winter is seed catalogs :)

    @Kacper – I live in basically the same place I did as a child and we had a lot more snow then as well! My neighbors complain a lot about the snow that does fall, but I do appreciate how it gives some beauty to the gray and brown landscape.

  • Peter February 14, 2008, 9:36 pm

    Your tips inspire, Maria, and I thank you for sharing them. I’m a gardener of sorts, but I never sweep up the autumn leaves, just let them stay where they fall. Over winter all manner of friendly bugs and little tiny-jawed critturs munch them away, as there are never any lying around come spring. And winter is a fabulous time for rotting things down to a sweet mulch, killing off harmful germs. So that’s a list of reasons for gardeners to be grateful, I reckon.

    For many years we lived in Africa: our winter came in June (although there was seldom a frost). Just occasionally a chilly evening persuaded us to heat one bar of the small electric fire we kept handy through June and July. How cosily nostalgic we felt for the Northern hemisphere winter! And how easy to take the majestically turning seasons for granted.

  • Linden A. Mueller February 15, 2008, 1:26 am

    I love winter! And I felt so strongly about that after reading this post that I just had to respond with a post of my own: http://xgravity23.blogspot.com/2008/02/5-more-reasons-to-appreciate-winter.html

    I hope you all can find more reasons to enjoy this special time of the year. Best, Linden