Things That Are Saving My Life This Winter

Over at Modern Mrs. Darcy folks are writing about the things that are saving them this winter–not necessarily in sweeping, existential ways, but in small, everyday ways.  When winter holidays have come and gone, and summer is still months away, many of us struggle to stay motivated in our daily routines, to stay hopeful, even.  This is not because we’re particularly wimpy (though *cough* some of us are).  Usually it’s because it’s dark outside.  Dark and cold, day after day.  What helps to beat back winter gloom is to think about what’s going right in our days, what’s actually working.  To that end, I jotted down my own list of things that are saving me this winter.

Getting up early.  I’ve mentioned this already but I’ll say it again:  I’ve been waking hours before my kids do for a couple of months now, and the effect the quiet is having on my soul is transforming.  This is not only because I’m able to write consistently (and I am, hallelujah), but because I’m able to read my Bible and pray without feeling rushed.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to sleeping in.

A nightly cup of chamomile tea.  I splurged and bought an expensive kind so that I’d see it as a treat and actually want to drink it.  It’s working.  I brew a cup about an hour before bed and drink it slowly.  It’s become a signal to my brain and body that it’s time to wind down.  Since I sometimes have trouble falling asleep, I’m especially thankful this ritual helps me feel drowsy.  Then, of course, better sleep equals better days–even if they’re overcast and cold.

Pandora radio.  I’ve spent time cultivating a few stations (by pressing ‘like’ and ‘skip’ on various songs) so that now I mostly hear artists and albums that make me happy.  It’s amazing what listening to good music does for my mood.  I usually have it on while I get ready in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon when I’m taking a break.  It’s free and better than a cup of coffee for perking me up.

Old-fashioned wall calendars–in the kitchen and in my bedroom.  I may one of the last people in America to write appointments down on actual, paper squares, but I’m fine with that.  It’s soothing for me to be able to see a month at a glance on my walls.  I watch the days fill with activities, and then whizz past me.  Having a visual reminder of the time not only helps me to stay organized, but it also shows me that this season is passing quickly (despite how it feels, sometimes).  While I use calendars all year long, I find them especially helpful in the winter because they offer me perspective during the draggy days.

Those are some things that are saving me this winter.  What about you?  What things are saving your life these days?