I'm suffering from a horrible case of winter blahs at the moment. Until a few weeks ago, we were having a very mild winter (0 to -10 C on most days), and it seemed completely bearable. Then the weather dropped into the -20 to -40 C range, and everything started to feel unpleasant. Our apartment never quite warms up, despite the heaters running continuously. My skin freezes in an instant if I go outside without it fully covered. And nothing feels quite worth going outside, no matter how fun or smothered in cheese it might be.
My instinct at this time of year is to cocoon myself in bed with cats, hot chocolate, and a pile of library books. I have zero desire to work or to do any of the things necessary for maintaining my existence. Laundry? Groceries? Dishes? All of these things seem like too much effort when the outside world is frigid and the daylight disappears before I leave the hospital. Every year I long to bypass these months, even though I recognize the finite nature of life and theoretically want to enjoy every precious moment of it. For me, there is nothing precious about -40 C before the windchill*.
This year is about being present though, which includes being present during the loathsome months between Christmas and the Spring melt. So I'm trying to come up with ways of not being miserable until March. Some of the things I've come up with?
Long johns**: My girlfriend made me buy a pair of long johns last year, and they may be the only thing that keeps us from killing each other when the weather is cold. (She is a crazy person who thinks that people should go outside despite the cold. She is very wrong.) Winter is slightly more bearable when I have long johns and an undershirt and a down jacket and a toque to keep the warmth inside.
The Conservatory: Our local zoo has a plant conservatory, which is a rather unimpressive greenhouse filled with the type of tropical plants that you can buy at Walmart. But! It is ridiculously hot inside, and it has a glass ceiling, so visiting it in the Winter can feel just the tiniest bit like being outside in a warm place.
Winter foods: Soups, stews, and casseroles smothered with cheese. Warm and hearty things from my kitchen are all that keep me going on some days.
Hot tub: I'm spoiled and live in a building with an indoor hot tub. I really must spend more time warming my frozen bones in it.
Skating: I haven't yet mustered up the strength to do this, but it seems like it would be good for me to get outside and participate in something Wintery. Maybe I would hate Winter less if I actually enjoyed something about it. Cross-country skiing is also a thought, and it would take advantage of the flatness of the region in which I live.
Sigh. I don't think this list is helping. I want to go to street festivals and run along the river and sit on a patio drinking overpriced cocktails. Nothing about winter seems pleasant right now. Maybe I should just blow my budget and go to Mexico.
If you have the misfortune of living somewhere that is frigidly cold right now, how do you manage to be happy despite the weather? Or do you give up on being happy and just treat Winter like a horribly bad call shift and wait for it to pass?
*If you live someplace warm and don't know what a windchill is, I kind of hate you.
**Are there people who aren't familiar with long johns? And toques? I hate all of you.