Thursday, March 5, 2015

So Long Winter Blues...

Last Wednesday Mackenzie woke up in a fit of tears.  While wailing (literally) at the breakfast table we discovered that the tears were because it was "only Wednesday" and "not Friday yet".  It was during this effort to diffuse her tears and quiet her little soul that I discovered the meaning of the term "Hump Day".  Now you might laugh-- but in all of my time on social media, I've never quite understood the meaning of Wednesday as "Hump Day". I have always assumed it was another internet attempt at some sort dirty innuendo.  Well, you learn something new every day. 

According to my husband, Wednesday is called "Hump Day" because it's that mid point in the week that serves as the "hump" that just seems to stop people dead in their weekly tracks.  The freshness of Monday has come and gone but the freedom of Friday seems still so far out of reach.  Well, there you have it.  Wednesday is Hump Day.  Today is Hump Day.  Are you feeling it? Whoo, I sure am. 

But I'm going to be completely honest.  I've been feeling it a lot lately.  And not just on Wednesdays.  I'm going to just put it out there and share that Winter is my Hump Day. 

Oh, Winter.  Seemingly endless, cold, snowy winter. 

Do you struggle with depression or feelings of depression in winter?  If you are a momma, I'm more than willing to bet that you probably do.  Heck, if you are a human, I'm willing to bet you probably do.  It's gotten so bad for me that I struggle to really look forward to the magic and the sentiments of the holidays.  Long about November 1st I start to dread the upcoming season and all of the cold bugs and stir craziness that I know is in store for the future coming months.  And right about now as we're nearing mid March, I'm on the verge of having a Lorelai Gilmore "break up"  melt down with snow.

Well, just take a look for yourself...

Yeah, snow.  We. Are. Through.  This momma is DONE.  Too bad I don't get much of a say in my version of this breakup.  I'm pretty sure that our final big snow fall last year came on Mother's Day which as I recall, ruined my plans for a sunny day of planting flowers. 

But in all seriousness, lets be practical!  How do you combat the winter blues?  How do you find joy when the snow has had you stuck inside for days, the kids are crabby and are actually refusing to watch tv (what!?), you've wiped your hundredth runny nose for the day and you've maxed out your play doh patience capacity for the entire season? What's a momma to do?

Here are some ways that I myself am learning to combat my winter blues...

Plan ahead.  I have got to go into my week with a plan.  Lately when I'm facing a new week that I know is going to be long and hard, the best thing I can do for myself is combat my feelings of depression and hopelessness by having activities and outings that I can look forward to on the calendar.  Whether it's coffee on Tuesday morning with a friends, baking cookies Thursday with Mackenzie or just having a plan of when I'm going to get my house work done.  I just need to know what I'm facing.  I need to know where I'm meeting that friend for coffee and I need to have the ingredients for cookies in my pantry and ready to go.  In case of a snow storm I don't want to be without those vital cookie ingredients. Come on mommas, you know how that happens... all it takes is to be missing the baking soda mid snow storm for your day to just unravel sometimes.  Am I right?

Coupled with planning ahead is to make sure that I'm in community with friends and family during my week.  I recently read in a book that Satan's greatest tactic for discouragement is to make us feel alone and isolated.  I could not agree more.  Some weeks all it takes is to know that I have a playdate on the calendar where I know I'll be filled up and encouraged by other momma friends to get me through that final push of my week.  Every other Thursday I know that I have MOPS to look forward to and some weeks that's just what I need to keep going.  Being in community is HUGE and I can not stress it enough.

Just as equally important as being in community is to make sure I've set aside alone time for myself.  I'm a fairly extroverted person but I will say that when I have overloaded my schedule and I find myself with no break to myself in sight...those are ironically the weeks I struggle the most.  Those are the weeks that I neglect spending time with the Lord, my dishes in the sink pile up faster than I can get to them and I'm usually fishing through a laundry pile of socks just praying to find a clean match because I haven't actually made time to throw a load in the washer yet.  Sometimes you just need to carve out some "down time" in your week so that you aren't getting so behind that it leads to depression.

Play lots of music. And dance.  Putting on some Frozen is all my kids need for a little afternoon pick me up. And just when I think I might go insane if I hear Let It Go one more time, I find myself singing along and smiling at the sweet little dance moves that Levi loves to break out. 

Long baths are my very best friend.  Not for me...for the kids.  Long baths for the kids are the best thing that have happened to me all winter. Throw in some bubbles and my kids could play for an hour in the tub.  This has proven to be a time when I can sit and relax with a cup of tea and whether they are healthy or sick this is a "go to" activity that my kids love.

Bake.  Did I mention we love cookies and we love the way they make the house smell?

Light some candles. Make the home feel cozy and a place you actually want to be. 

Come up with "theme" days. A few weeks back in an effort to spice up a cold day inside we planned a "Pirate & Princess Day".  The kids were absolutely thrilled!  We dressed up, planned a treasure hunt and ended our day with pirate booty and a pirate & princess family movie night.  When the winter days are seeming longer and longer you just have to really get creative in how you make things "fun".

And, when all else fails momma... end your day with chocolate & wine.  A few nights back I put the kids to bed and began to survey the damage around our house.  Everything was in shambles and I was really struggling for the motivation to do anything.  I was feeling incredibly discouraged and well, downright depressed. 

I ended up on the kitchen floor with a bag of chocolate and a glass of white wine.  The dishes eventually got done.  The toys were eventually picked up off the floor and the stepped on Chex Mix did eventually make it's way into the vacuum shoot.  But for a half hour I sat in peace on the kitchen floor and indulged as I day dreamed about the days of warmth that are coming....

I thought of planting flowers in the front yard and of the shrieks of laughter that accompany the joy of summer sprinklers as the kids run through them in their bright colored bathing suits. 

I thought of picnics on the lake and of those sun kissed tan babies spending hours outside in the sand box.

I could almost taste those sticky pop sickles that run down their chubby cheeks and arms.

Spring is coming. 

Summer is coming. 

Warmth and open windows and birds chirping. Green grass and new life.  It's all coming. 

It won't be long until we can all start to hum that sweet Beatles song...
"Little Darlin', it's been a long, cold, lonely winter...Here comes the sun, doo do doo do..."

Lorelai Gilmore, I'm right there with you. 

But it's only fifteen more days momma until the calendar reads Spring. Glorious, wonderful spring. 

And then it's just a sprint to the finish line. I can make it.  We can make it. We are going to make it!

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