Never ending winter

This is the third morning in a row when the windchill has been flirting with minus-30 degrees.  While it's not usually nice enough to wear shorts at the end of March, the average temperature is definitely above zero and thoughts of river break have at least begun to form in our minds.  That is not the case this year.  The temperatures, combined with the snow on the ground and the colour of the sky, and you just might think we're in the middle of January.

I'm tired of winter.  There, I've said it.  I want to see the edges of the lawn start to appear.  I want Heather's tulips to reach up through the sun-drenched soil and kiss the sky.  I want to go for walks in my neighbourhood and pick up garbage and recyclables.

None of my protestations and wishes are going to do a bit of good, as Mother Nature has a mind of her own, and she is saying that winter is not yet done.  In fact, looking at the long range forecast, we don't have spring-like conditions in sight. There is a high of plus-1 projected for Friday, but that's it.

I believe the long winters take a toll, especially ones like this.  We need to do everything we can to bolster our energy and spirits.  Take time to reflect on how you're feeling and how it might be somewhat influenced by the lateness of the spring, cold days that normally are mild, and a front lawn still covered in white.  Awareness is everything as it gives you the opportunity to strategically inject some sunshine in your life, in that of your family and your co-workers.


A great trick to shake up the energy is to surprise the gang at home or the gang at work with something completely unexpected.  Whether it is a big bouquet of bright flowers, or a super-deluxe box of decadent donuts, a treat can and does shift the energy of the day immediately.


Go out of your way to find a reason to give a complement.  A kind word of encouragement or praise, authentically given, can make a world of difference in someone's day.  And while it still might be cold outside, you will have warmed up someone's day on the inside.


Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to feel joy, to laugh.  Give yourself that nod of approval and find some unexpected things that bring a smile to your face: a newborn baby, a raven in the bird feeder, or an amusing cartoon on Facebook.  Of course, the greatest thing about smiling or laughing is that either of them often inspire others to do the same.


Take 5 minutes a day to express gratitude to someone in your life.  Write an email. Send a thank you card.  Pick up the phone and call someone.  You would be amazed at how energizing and uplifting it is to bring sunshine into someone else's day.


Oftentimes, we get too caught up in the complexity of life: busy work life, shuttling the kids back and forth, paying bills, getting the income taxes done, and trying to keep the home fires burning  The truth is that we don't take enough time for ourselves.  That is going to mean something slightly different for everyone, but for me simplicity is a quiet stroll around the neighbourhood, a few stolen moments watching the birds in the backyard, or taking in the beauty of a sunset.


When I wake up on these cold mornings and wrap myself up in my favourite cardigan sweater to keep warm, I remind myself that in a flash we'll be into the hot days and nights of summer.  On those mornings, waking up to a 26-degree house is a blessing.  There are times when we push 30-degrees.  Sleep gets to be rather elusive for me with the combination of heat and long days of light.  Sleep is absolutely idyllic right now, though I have to remind myself of that fact by writing a blog about it.

You see what I've done here?  I woke up feeling cold, tired and blah.  Rather than stewing about it, I came up with a few things that I could do to shift my thinking, which had in turn shifted my feeling.  I feel re-charged, re-focused and ready to tackle the day.  I hope you do, too.


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