Choosing a healthy mindset for a happier winter
Happiness is always a matter of mindset. This year, I’m choosing to knock out the winter blues with a good attitude.
I’ve lived in Seattle for just over 3 years now. When we came, we had been warned about the notoriously bad weather. What we learned quite quickly is that the weather isn’t as bad as its reputation implies. In fact, it seems to be a big ruse perpetuated by Seattleites to keep people out of their own slice of paradise. Nonetheless, the winters are dark.
Situated 47º north of the equator and about 150 miles south of Canada you notice the change of the seasons mostly by the height of the sun. Even now, the day before December, the sun is only about halfway up the sky at noon. If it’s cloudy, it can feel dark all day. This lack of Vitamin D and the feeling of glorious sunshine hitting you the face can lead to some serious winter blues. This year they started to hit me for the first time.
Prior winters haven’t been such a big deal. We came to Seattle via Boulder, Colorado and Lake Tahoe, California. We’re used to driving through piles of snow and bundling in 4 layers just to leave the house. Maybe it’s because this is the furthest north I’ve ever lived or the novelty of moving here has warn off. Maybe it’s because we went from 6 months of sunshine and warmth to literally freezing temperatures without a fair transition. Maybe I’m just getting over living in a place that has a winter. But by October I was dreading heading into the darkness of winter.
I found an article from Fast Company that was circulating around called The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter. The gist of it is that the people of Tromsø look at winter and summer with the same level of excitement. Sitting at 70º above the equator, both seasons bring very different social and physical activities that live exclusively in their proper months. For instance, the same trail that lends itself to wildflower picking in summer may serve as the ideal snowshoeing spot in winter. In summer, big outdoor parties take place, while in winter, small, cozy gatherings around the fire fill the evening time. The people of Tromsø approach winter with the same mindset as they do summer.
[Tweet “This year I have opted to look forward to the offerings of a dark, cold winter.”]
Noticing my own disappointment that winter is here has lead me to adopt this mindset. This year I have opted to look forward to the offerings of a dark, cold winter. When it’s a dry, freezing day I look forward wearing my favorite rabbit fur (vintage) coat. I’ve been hiking the last 2 weekends, enjoying having the trail almost exclusively to myself. At night I get to curl up next to my man, buried deep in covers. These are all things I love that only these dark months provide.
Yes, I still look forward to wearing flip flops around or getting so hot I have to plunge in the lake at the end of my hike. But for now, I’m making the most of winter because well, I really don’t have a choice. The cycles of the earth are out of my control but the way that I respond to them are not.