Thursday, February 1, 2018

Beating The Winter Grumps

by Karen Rose Smith

I live in an area of Pennsylvania that receives snow every year.  Sometimes it's a light covering.  Two years ago we received 30 inches of snow in blizzard proportions. You'd think we could just hunker down under a quilt, read and enjoy the down time. But...  We take care of stray and feral cats and worried about them.  The service that was supposed to plow our walk and long driveway arrived late. With dealing with the weather changes in winter, especially ice that can cause power outages, worked backed up. The stress of winter can cause "the grumps."

Here are ten of my strategies to cope:

Chocolate--any kind.  Hot, cold or in between.

Baking and cooking from remembered childhood dishes.  There's a measure of comfort in that and I feel as if I'm fighting the elements. My mom always made bread on snow days.

Audiobooks--I find if I'm listening to an audiobook, I'm less distracted by what is going on around me. I can close my eyes and be swept away as if I'm listening to a play.

Adult coloring books are great for my creative spirit and focus.  I also do watercolor paintings. 

Especially when caring for feral cats, I spend time outside just breathing in the bracing cold air.  I try to remember there can be beauty in chaos.  The moon on the snow is gorgeous.  It feels as if our whole backyard is lit up in moonlight.  I don't even need a flashlight on those nights.

We connect with neighbors who have the same plight. Conversation helps and it can even generate more coping ideas.  Banding together helps isolation.  We're lucky that our nextdoor neighbor's son often helps my husband with shoveling snow.

It's important to call elderly acquaintances to see how they are coping. They feel even more alone and helpless in situations like this. 

I cuddle up with a throw and a fur baby or two. 

Sometimes I watch an old movie (like Roman Holiday) or a series on DVD like Heartland that I've saved just for this occasion. 

Cleaning closets makes me feel as if I have some measure of control.

What are YOUR coping strategies to dispel the winter grumps?

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