For a long time, I would utter these three words all the time …
I hate winter.
And, to be fair, it was completely accurate.
For me, it began as a child with a February birthday watching out the glass windows of my grandmothers house at piles upon piles of snow each February — and yet another birthday party ruined.
I was an only child, too, so playing in the snow alone … not. much. fun.
And then fast forward a couple decades and I gave birth to twin girls in the middle of January.
Really not the best idea but who can really plan these things?
Being a new mom in the middle of a freezing cold, blustery winter clinched my feelings that I truly hated winter.
There’s lots of reasons to do so. First, we feel stuck inside. Everything is so grey and colorless. It’s too cold to enjoy being outside. We get bored. Our children get restless.
And then, worst of all, the loneliness sets in.
I talk a lot about my own loneliness in motherhood story … but I don’t often share the story of the fact that my girls were born in winter and how that really impacted my new mom story of feeling isolated and alone.
I remember the first time we were able to finally get outside — after my own pain wore off and the babies were big enough to fit into their snow suits. There was snow everywhere and I’d never loved a walk more in my life. But it was a lot of work to get outside and make that walk happen.
I struggled with the winter blues as a mom for far too long before I realized I had coping strategies and tools to use that go beyond just getting some sunlight, which is impossible to accept when you are depressed from lack of sunlight.
Fast forward another decade and I finally get it. I get it!
I can appreciate winter. I can accept that it is a part of our lives each year here in the mid-atlantic of the East Coast.
And while winter for us has been beautiful and mild … I know there are other moms facing a brutal winter and who are feeling quite stuck and lonely. So I offer these …
4 Coping Strategies for Moms Dealing with the Winter Blues
THE NEW STORY RULE
The real shift for me began when I started a rule that I wasn’t allowed to say I hate winter. I’m not even allowed to complain about winter or the cold. (I break this rule sometimes.) Instead, I focus on what I love about winter. And there are good things about being stuck at home. We get to get a lot of inside projects done. We get to go quiet and move slower. Telling ourselves a new story is a big part of creating a plan that works.
THE FRESH AIR RULE
Despite ALL the ways my body rejects the idea of cold weather, I have found delight in challenging myself to get outside and seek out the sunshine, if there is any, or the colors of a red Cardinal hiding in a tree. THE SECRET — Invest in seriously good winter gear for everyone. Over-dress if you must. You can always remove layers. Get a wind resistant coat if you can as well and have fun with picking up accessories that feel fun and bright.
THE BE PLAYFUL RULE
Being Playful is one of the main focuses of my family wellness coaching work with moms who tend to take life too seriously. And winter is no exception. In order to keep the doldrums of being stuck inside at bay, this is a great time to be more playful as a family. Making an intention to just be more playful inside -- and out -- is a great way to break up the winter blues. My favorite memory of being playful was when we turned our front door -- on the inside -- into a giant snowman. It made me smile every time I passed it.
THE REACH OUT RULE
Around here, we get real honest, real fast about how motherhood can be an isolating season in our lives. Add the confines of extreme weather patterns and, well, we can say … we get it. But the truth is that there are so many ways to reach out to people and just BE YOU. Being lonely isn’t easy, but taking a deep breath and reaching out can be.
- Text a new friend.
- Reach out and share your heart in a supportive group online.
- Ask for help if you are feeling low.
Winter is a test for how strong we can be and how resilient we can be in times of hardship.
And it’s also a chance to slow down and focus on our inner selves a bit more as well. Keeping warm inside and out is a big part of the journey for my clients inside The Abundant Mama Project.