I found myself wide awake, ready for the day this morning, yet it was 4:30 am. The dark sky peaked in through my windows but I was able to tell that it was still snowing, alas that's just the general thing happening on the daily. Rather than frown or spend time complaining about the cold weather and instances snow storms, I have found myself embracing each winter more so than the last one. With ample amounts of darkness in the day, it feels like a perfect time to be productive, start and work on new projects, learn new trades or crafts, and lots of cuddles.
However, this sneaky little thing called "cabin fever" has it's way of creeping into our lives. Just when I'm having a day feeling so productive, cheery, and creative, this slinky darkness comes in and takes over my happy cloud. That's when I know it's time to GET OUTSIDE!
Getting outside at this time of year, even if alone, feels like a production. There's so many articles of clothing needed to make even 10 minutes outside feel comfortable. Tights, leggings, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots. Depending on the outside temp and depth of snow, I have various boots to choose from. And coats too, with the weather sometimes calling for more rugged coats, etc, etc. Factor in a little one to the equation and the preparation more than doubles.
And let me tell you, it's worth it! I can remember many a day in the wintertime where I joked that I never made it outside even if to just go down the driveway and check the mailbox. This winter, I've made it an absolute priority - to get outside and go for a walk.
Yesterday, I tried all day to get myself and Wilder ready for a walk outside. There was a lot of snow coming down, but we're Mainers, so we're prepared for that. Life sometimes allows us to break free of making plans and intentions, and reminds us how important it is to be in the flow. So after some much needed food, naps, and snuggles, we made it outside for a walk at 8:30pm. Well after the last daylight, and yet somehow more magical than ever.
Being outside in the dark and marching through nearly 3 feet of snow, is such a great workout. Seriously, who needs a core workout in the gym when we've got this much natural workout material right outside!
With just my wee little light it was easy to see right in front of me, but I was still much more aware of my surroundings and the elements around us.
So how else do we make it through Maine winters? Well I do think we're getting better at it with every passing year. With the temps in the negatives the past few days and more than 3 feet of snow on the ground, our winter techniques are being put to the test.
Like I talked about above, as cold as it's been, we're prepared to dress for it. This means special winter boots that come out when there's 2+ feet of snow and negative temperatures. It means not just one scarf around the neck, but a neck gator plus wool scarf on top. It means 2 pairs of wool socks, and at least double pants for all. We're not always looking like cute snow bunnies going out on an adventure, but we won't be wimps out in the cold. Get on snowshoes, get out the sled, put on the yaktraks, or cross country skis. Whatever you do, make it fun and exciting, and go interact with the elements out there.
Don't Let Lack of Daylight Get You Down
This one is still a challenge for me, but I'm working on it! I have been embracing the darkness more and more in winter, and loving the productivity and inspiration that flows out of it. My girl Ali shared her thoughts on Embracing the Darkness on her blog, and it brought some major inspiration for me! The other thing that I get hung up on is "making sure I get outside before daylight is done". Light does make it a bit easier to see all the winter beauty that is around, but there's plenty of it in the dark as well. I'm not suggesting everyone go walking around the neighborhoods in the dark, but I feel like it's a great idea not to be afraid of it. A little light or just the moonlight is plenty enough to enjoy the outside time.
Get our bodies moving. Some days I feel like dancing, so I put on a playlist and dance around the house. Sometimes it becomes an actual movement practice, and sometimes it's a way to move through some energy that might be stuck. I love yoga, and I like to change it up depending on how I feel that day. I also have a 3.5 year old who becomes.. how shall I say... a rascal when he's needing some movement in his body. Since it's not always the most convenient to throw all of our gear on and head outside, we've gotten creative with indoor movement. Sometimes I'll run around with him and we chase each other, and that gets some energy out. But I'm also a bigger person than him and the chasing can get old quick. Newly discovered, is the kid sized obstacle course indoors. This includes a starting point, Mommy yelling out the countdown, and Wilder runs under tables, over benches, get a special cheer on top of the kids table, climbs onto another piece of furniture, and lands on a bean bag, etc. The other night we did another version of this with Wilder and he did it over and over until he was completely wiped.
Use the Whole House
I have a habit of staying put in the main communal area of our house. Even while working, I'll just hang out with my laptop. This is also where the source of warmth happens to be in our house. Other colder rooms aren't the most exciting places to be. Rooms that are messy or cluttered also tend to be less enticing as well. In our house, I have my own studio/office space that is my own - it's not our bedroom and not anyone else's room. It is my own space where I can go and close the door and have my own time. I highly recommend having a space in your house where you can empty your head and clear your thoughts!! The outdoors is also a space to do this, and again not always the most convenient in the winter months. Moms, if you don't have this space existing in your house, now is the time to make one. If the men get to have their "man cave", then we most certainly can have our goddess den. And if you aren't creating the time and space in your life to have alone time, no better time than the present to start this honoring for yourself!
Learn Something New
Whether it be a craft, a new software, or an instrument, this ample dark time gives us the opportunity for growth. For me, most of my crafting (the non-herbal kind) takes place in the fall and winter months. Anything from making recycled materials into new toys, knitting, sewing, candle-making, collages, re-decorating, making goddess art, etc. Lately I've been immersing myself in music and my new band, as well as playing around with jewelry making. Learning something new doesn't need to be intimidating, we have youtube!! I mean seriously, I am amazed at the vastness of tutorials on there, what an awesome resource.
In closing, these are just my reflections, not advice! Just like everyone, I am learning to find rhythm in my days and joy in everything I do. It's an ever-evolving on-going process.