I knew it couldn’t last forever.
The 70 degree temperatures in Colorado, in November, have been unseasonably warm.
I rode my horse every minute I could and spent hours sitting in the sun while watching the chickens free range in the yard, picking up the last of summer’s grasshoppers and worms.
I was in complete denial that winter was around the corner.
And, just like that, the weather turned. I woke up this morning to 60 degrees and sun, and within an hour it had dropped to 30 degrees with 25mph winds and sleet.
The morning was complete chaos, running around trying to blanket the horses in the blowing cold wind, cleaning out the chicken coop and insulating, picking up a few more bales of hay and struggling to get them under cover. I was caught unprepared and spent a frigid morning paying the price.
I began to think about last winter and how the same chaos and lack of preparation could have been said about my heart.
It wasn’t until February that I realized I was wandering around like a zombie: tired, sad and cold. I had allowed the dark evenings, cold weather and lack of sunshine to pull me into some terrible habits that contributed to a nasty case of seasonal affective disorder. I was spending way too much time in front of the computer, and my holiday food and alcohol “treats” had become daily staples.
In the chaos of winterizing my farm, I began to think about some ways to winterize my soul before the ice and snow hit.
1. Feed your body. Now is the time to make meal plans and stick to them. It’s way too easy to stop in a drive through after work and pick up a hamburger or burrito. Have a plan for healthy, hearty meals. Spend a few hours on Saturday afternoon freezing some crock pot meals or soups. Cut up lots of fruits and veggies and put them individual containers front and center in the fridge. Put a healthy snack (an apple, hunk of cheese and some almonds!) in your bag to tide you over on the drive home.
Exercise is non-negotiable through the winter months. I know—it’s cold and all you want to do is go home and veg out under a blanket and watch Netflix. Moving your body doesn’t take very long, and will do wonders for your attitude! Enlist a friend and get to it.
2. Feed your mind. When it’s dark, cold and windy, I get sucked right into overusing technology to keep me entertained. In most cases, this does not feed my mind. I binge on it, like crack, and it has about the same effect. Use this time to catch up on your favorite books, do some writing or journaling, pick up a hobby and spend time with friends and family.
Turn off that computer, shut down Facebook. Engage with people.
3. Feed your spirit. Meditation (early morning and evening), yoga, church, take hot baths, walk the dog…do whatever it is you do that makes you feel at peace. Don’t wait until you’re out of sync to start. These things are best done as a part of your daily and weekly self-care routine.
Don’t get caught off-guard when the cold months take over.
Be proactive and take seriously the job of winterizing your soul.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Deborah Linne
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: hobvias sudoneighm/Flickr