If like me, you live in the Northern hemisphere, it’s winter where you are. That means different things whether you live near the ocean, in altitude or whether you live closer to the pole or the equator. It could mean rain or it could mean snow. But all in all, winter’s got a bad reputation.
I live in Canada, in a valley and our winters are humid and cold (have you ever experienced -40 C? or Threats of frost bite?) and very snowy. My ancestors rocked snowshoeing and I still own a pair.
As a child, I didn’t love the cold, but I did enjoy playing outside. Winter wasn’t something to be feared or resented, it was just another season. As an adult, winter became my bane; a season of cold and darkness that I had to just “get through”.
I’ve been noticing sources of stress, worry and other obstacles to my happiness. When I realized I was resisting winter, I asked myself if I wanted to move to a warmer climate or stay here. For now, I’m happy being Canadian and living here. My next thought was a simple but transformational “AHA”.
I realized that if I was going to live in Canada, I was going to have to either move to BC or start making peace with winter. (Even if I did decide to move, I still had to deal with the here and now.)
The next thing I did was ask myself how I could accept winter as a season, and for that, I needed to remind myself of its beauty.
Snow and ice in the sunlight are incredibly beautiful, as they reflect its rays into rainbows and bright beams of golden and white light. Snow can look like a cozy blanket wrapping Mother Earth or it can look like frosting on a giant cake. Snow can be made into a snow figure or can be built into a Fort. Ice can be carved into jewels of ephemeral beauty. Winter scenes can remind us of fun outdoor activities and precious family memories, or they can reinforce hygge (the Scandinavian culture of “homey-ness”).
Winter is a necessary part of the cycle, it’s about rest and review. When I started to transpose this to my life, I felt a sense of peace; it’s ok for me to rest and review too. I don’t have to be “productive” in the same ways I might be in Spring, Summer or Fall. As human beings, we need to allow ourselves periods of rejuvenation, regeneration, reinvention. Any great improvement we wish (or need) to make in our lives requires preparation and adjustment. I feel Mother Nature has built this into our environments as reminders for us.
3 Tips for Making Peace with Winter
1-Notice its beauty
Have you ever admired a snow flake or the way the sun reflects the light from tree branches after an ice storm? No? Well, you’re in for a treat. Even if you’re living in the city, you can find beauty in a winter scene or even, in the rhythm of the season.
2-Take your time
Trying to rush around town like you would in the other three seasons can be frustrating and darn-near impossible. It’s best to slow down, accept the pace and take your time to go places, to make your purchases, to walk to the bus or shovel your lane way.
3-Have fun with it!
If you like photography, then go out and snap shots of the beautiful winter scenes. If you’re sporty, then find an activity you can do outdoors. If you’re curious, try a new winter sport (or make one up!) or attend a winter festival. In Ottawa, we have Winterlude. If all else fails, try to go for a walk when it’s mild, and sunny or when the snow falls like in a snow-globe.
How do you make peace with winter? What have you made peace with that has made you happier?