Friday 27 November 2015

Joyful through Winter

Winter isn't a time that I anticipate with pleasure.  The house is warm and we have plenty of food but the days are dark, hibernation seems appealing and being cheerful for the next four months looks challenging. 

Despite me wishing to hibernate, my family still want to be fed; their clothes still need to be washed and the children have to be educated. This all works much better if I am joyful.

This year, I have been giving the next few months a fair amount of thought. The last couple of Christmases have been challenging with bereavement and illness. It is easy to include Christmas in the general "not looking forward to the next few months" feeling.

These thoughts are things that have helped in the past that I have pulled together for my own benefit, and hopefully, those of you who have the same issue. Please note, I do not now hold a licence to practice. This is not medical advice. Please go to see your doctor if you have more than an annual mild dislike of the gloomy months and a longing for Spring. 

  • As a Christian, I know that I can pray and that there are commandments to rejoice and praise. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again, I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4 verse 4). They are there for dull days in February.  The Psalms are particularly helpful.

  • The Winter doesn't go on for ever. There are signs of Spring in February and things definitely look up in March. 

  • Going outside, in the daylight, as much as possible really helps. With proper clothing, it is only necessary to stay inside if there is a severe weather warning. Children behave much better if they have had adequate outside time too. 

  • Bulbs and inside plants help. 

  • See other people. Conversation and encouragement from friends helps.

  • Plan trips. As home educators, we go on a fair few trips. It is easy to do this in the Summer but having a day trip or even something longer, in the Winter or Spring gives something to plan and anticipate.  This year, the children and I went on a trip to Wales, at the beginning of March. Having this to look forward to, really helped through some grey January and February days. 

  • I'm enjoying Instagram. It is making me look for colour and light in a grey November world and bringing me other people's pictures of colour and light from around the world when I can't find any.

  • An encouraging book to read. In February and March, I read some of Patricia St John's lovely children's books. Twice Freed and Treasures of the Snow were books that I particularly enjoyed. 

  • Make something. For many years, I made pots and pots of marmalade in January. I loved the look of those amber pots. 

Doubtless, there will be difficult grey days in January and February but God doesn't change and Spring will come.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. 
Psalm 146 v5

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  1. A few more things to help you through the gloomy days: exercise every day, get a SAD light if necessary, eat lots of fresh veggies, work towards one of your top personal goals. I think we have a lot more sunny days than you do and our house has many, many windows but I, too, need to be mindful of my energy levels and mood, and these things help me.

    Or you can take my father's approach and move to the prairies where the sun shines almost everyday and you can get snow tans in February!

    1. Thank you, Annie Kate. This is thought provoking-I like the idea of working towards a goal. I've wondered about a lamp although am hoping that going outside enough will help!

    2. I use a lamp every winter now and it has been such a wonderful blessing! The first year or so I didn't use it long enough each morning, but I've found that for me I need a longer sit in front of it particularly when we have cloudy weather. :-) I have SAD and we live in Texas! This didn't surprise my doctor, so it must be fairly common.

  2. I don't like winter, either. I am afraid we have no choice but to go out in all weathers making it a challenge at times, but it is appreciated in the spring when we see the lambs. Also, my children like outside more making daytrips nigh on impossible in winter. They dislike museums, so hard to come up with ideas, plus I don't drive.

    1. Lambs in Spring are exciting. Museums can vary so much. Very active children can feel cooped up.

    2. I can relate to this- we had a power cut for three hours on Thursday morning, and even with lots of candles on, it was *dark*! I think your point about getting outside is important, and probably the one I find hardest, as it is easier to be cosy indoors. I like the indoor plants one too- a bit of colour and beauty. Thank you for sharing this :-)

  3. Very good advice for dealing with the winter blues. We have pretty short winters and seldom have long periods of bad weather here in Texas, but I still do struggle with SAD. Thankfully, the Lord has led us to a number of things which, when combined, really help. :-)