Winter in Canada is always interesting. In addition to the normal pressures of daily life, there is the ever-present possibility of weather-related complications.
We deal with school closures, illnesses, endless shoveling, weeks of rain - whatever your Canadian climate, you have likely experienced some winter-related frustration.
While the weather may be out of our control, what we do have control over is our experience of it. Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay mindful and appreciative when faced with the "winter blahs".
Prepare your mind
- Much like you prepare a winter emergency kit for your vehicle, taking some time to explore your thoughts and feelings around possible winter challenges can powerfully change how you react to the actual event. When you touch base with your thought and feeling patterns, you are able to identify discrepancies between how you are likely to react and how you desire to react. Much like visualization helps athletes prepare for competition, imagining the way you would like to respond to a challenge is one of the surest ways to prepare for success.
Re-frame your perspective
- Simply acknowledging a situation when it arises and giving compassion to yourself for the feelings that come up can leave you feeling better. This process satisfies your need to be "heard" for the difficulties the situation creates. Once you feel cared for and understood it becomes much easier to re-frame your response.
- For example, those with school-aged children often contend with unpredictable snow day closures. When this happens, you could react with frustration-based thoughts such as: "Not again! How will I ever finish this paper with the kids around? I am swamped at the office and the last thing I need is another delay!" Or you can acknowledge your frustration and choose to respond with: "It's really hard to get my work done with all of these school closures. I feel pretty frustrated about not having control over my schedule (pause, breathe, self-soothe). I guess that paper I'm writing will wait a day while I enjoy extra time with the kids. Maybe the mental break and family time will help re-energize me for tomorrow." These two examples lead to very different results, both emotionally and physically.
Celebrate and enjoy your reality
- Once you have acknowledged the difficulty of the situation and re-framed your response, why not take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy something you hadn't planned on? Take the kids sledding (and get a good workout at the same time), treat yourself to a family spa day (complete with bubble bath and assorted fruit plate), or tackle family-friendly items on that to-do list to help take some of the pressure off.
Author: Simone Olinek