|True hero -|
So the immense brutality of winter is clearly upon us. The blizzard of 2015 is closing roads, schools, the subway and many other institutions. We're somewhat trapped inside and it's hard not end up like Jack Nicholson in the Shining. It's hard not to get worn down and very much defeated by the crushing weight of winter and all of it's wrath. There is hope (I think sometimes) to keep yourself going, stay strong, stay happy and defeat winter's crazy wrathfulness. A couple years ago, I posted some ideas about this. But considering the situation we certainly need a few more tools in our belt.
Exercise, move and get on out for gods sake. Winter's treachery is one in which it makes us think we're stuck inside. If you are physically able to get on out then do so! Exercise improves our physical, cognitive, emotional and mental health.
- Go running outside safely. Take it slow, get some sun. The soft cushion of the snow actually makes it kind of nice. But an even greater secret is that kinetic movement keeps your body warm. Some insects (rather than hibernating) just move their wings to generate heat (the noble winter moth!). Running outside will keep your body nimble, generate heat and maybe give you a bit of sun while you're out.
- Shoveling: Obviously you might have to do this. However, shoveling can be a workout. There is even some research that indicates that your view of an activity informs how many calories your burn. So think of your shoveling as exercise and it's a bit more satisfying and potentially healthier.
- Winter walks and other activities: If you're able to get outside and move around then do so! The woods are really pretty in the snow. Bring a camera, take some pictures. Go sledding! Snowshoeing is just terrific as well and super easy (rent em). Winter can seem like it has something to offer when it's viewed this way. All of this helps you not actually be trapped indoors which is important. Don't be trapped all day.
- Walk, run or bike to work: Now this sounds like absolute bat-shit, but with the MBTA being closed or performing poorly as a result of 30 year old train cars - some of my neighbors broke out the mountain bike and really had some good trips into the office. I tried it and it worked pretty well. Take it slow, stay really visible, be extra vigilant, but especially if you have a bike path, a mountain bike tire can sustain pretty well (and be faster than other forms of transit). If you're within a few miles, walk or run in. Get that exercise while getting where you need to go. Because it's winter it doesn't make you disgustingly sweaty when you get to the office.
- Just dance or something inside: When you are inside (and if you have some space), put on some songza and dance really. It's just a good thing to do. It's valentines day weekend so I think that makes sense. Do some exercise inside. Do your planks, your push ups, your stretches. Again, that physical activity will keep you goin' right now.
Talk to your peoples which sometimes feels harder with the winter. But really, New Englanders love to complain about the weather. You'll have opportunities for this as everyone is outside shoveling. So share a story, commiserate, share a little support. Really, you can talk about how crappy the weather is to anyone right now - it transcends all sorts of interpersonal differences. This actually goes a long way when we're all collectively being attacked by storm after storm after storm. We can remember we're mostly all in this together and that counts for a lot.
Be extra generous this time of year. With heating costs higher, and many folks still sleeping out on the streets, this is extra important to do. It's also harder for ambulances and fire trucks to also get where they might need to go. Just help make things go better and be thoughtful and generous when you can in these situations.
Hobbies can be great to get up on with. Play a little music. Do a little writing. Knitting? Reading, abstract photography, drawing, art. Heck, go on forums and start posting tons of message. See the inside time as an opportunity to get at something while it makes sense to and do a nice hobby that engages you. It goes a long way.