It’s February, the shortest month that lasts forever. Of course, I kind of like it because my birthday is in February, along with my mom’s. Still, it’s a gray month if you don’t count all the pink and red from Valentine’s Day.
Though there are plenty of things that seem to suck the life out of us during the cold months, over at Modern Mrs. Darcy people are talking about how they’re surviving, and even enjoying, winter in a series entitled ‘Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now.’ I’m adding my two cents below.
- Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea and Half-Caf Coffee. This tea is heavy on cinnamon and is caffeine free. It’s sweet, too, without any added sugars. I’ve been drinking it throughout the day, and at night before bed. As for the half-caf, it’s my weak attempt at ever-so-slowly reducing the amount of caffeine I consume because I read that higher levels of caffeine are linked to anxiety in women (something I battle). In the end, I just can’t give up coffee right now because the warmth and ritual of drinking it is so powerful–especially in the winter when it seems I never get truly warm for more than a few minutes. I don’t want to go cold turkey and drink full-on decaf coffee, either, because I’m chicken about the headaches and flulike symptoms of withdrawal. Half-caf is my solution for now.
- Music on Pandora Radio. This is not new for me, but music becomes even more important in the winter when the sun is stingy. I have a couple of favorite stations I play on the laptop (I work from home) while tidying up the house in the morning. The good news is that the right music can set the tone–pun intended–for the entire day. The bad news is certain kinds of music can be depressing earworms that also set the tone, but not one I want. I try to choose carefully.
- Reading Aloud to My Teenagers. I kind of thought we were done with this aspect of our family life since my kids are voracious readers themselves and increasingly seem to have their own agendas for…everything. It turns out, though, that spending a few minutes a day re-reading a favorite series while my teens loll on my bed and stare at the ceiling has made winter more bearable so far. I didn’t plan it, i.e. we fell back into reading aloud from sheer weather induced boredom, but we’re all secretly becoming attached to this ritual again (some of us not so secretly).
- Very Hot Baths with Epsom Salt before Bed. Again, not something I actually planned because I’m not old yet. But it happens that old timers have lots of wisdom. When they say that Epsom salt is the solution for several of life’s little problems, including muscle ache, fatigue, and trouble falling asleep, they’re right. At least in my case. I’m taking hot baths for a few minutes before bed, soaking up the magnesium found in Epsom salt through my skin, and heading under the covers soon after. While I may not fall asleep immediately, at least I’m warm to my bones for a while and feeling relaxed.
Those are a few things that are saving my life this winter. Of course, prayer, off and on all day, everyday, is my actual lifeline. And then there’s poetry reading and writing, which feels increasingly like its own kind of prayer. But these are things I cling to even when the sun is out.
What are some things that are saving your life this winter?