Last week, as New York City (and much of the Eastern U.S.) was facing yet another big snowstorm, I told myself that it was going to be the last big storm of the season. And the next day, when the temperature was forecasted to be in the teens yet again, well, that was also going to be the last super-cold day this winter. It was my way of maintaining hope that this winter is drawing to a close — or that it will end … eventually.
I know I’m not the only one who is practically begging for mercy from this relentlessly cold, snowy winter. Some, of course, are not just begging for a break. I’ve even heard the term “snow rage” bandied about. Emotions run high — and low — as people lose hope for warmer days and begin to feel trapped in the Eternal Winter of the Polar Vortex. But what can we do? I haven’t had much luck with my “think happy thoughts and it will all go away” strategy — yet. (And I’m guessing those who are shaking their fists at the sky aren’t making any headway, either.)
So, what are our options? How can we keep an even keel — neither too far into either despondency or anger — when spring is still more than a month away? (And who knows if the snow-gods will respect that deadline?)
There’s a big part of me that would love to curl up under a blanket and hunker down until I can no longer see any snow from my windows. Is it really so wrong to want to catch up on all my shows and pay no attention to what’s happening on the other side of the window panes? Maybe with a bottomless mug of hot chocolate in my hands?
Actually, that plan is likely to backfire — at least if happiness, sanity, and keeping calm and carrying on are the goal.
But Time.com has some thoughts about fighting snow rage: Stay engaged. See the sun. Find a purpose. Maintain motivation.
Checking out and retreating into a cocoon is tempting. After all, it’s everyone for herself in this soul-crushing weather, right? Well, only if you want to deepen your sense of isolation — and drop further into the depths of despair. Staying socially engaged by scheduling girls’ nights, workout dates, or play dates for the kids can help keep the winter blues at bay.
Another tempting tactic: shut the blinds, block out the snow, and live vicariously through the actors on the TV show you are currently binge-watching. But, unfortunately, the light from the TV is not nearly as good as the the light from the sun at lighting a fire within. Getting out into the winter sun will do your spirits some good.
A big challenge at this point in the winter is figuring out what in the world we should be doing with our lives. Or maybe I should speak for myself: I’ve had a really hard time this winter figuring out what I should be doing with my life. It’s like I lost my life’s mission and personal goals in one of the blizzards we’ve had, and now I’m staring blankly into the vast whiteness, unsure of what to do next. While I try to remember what it is that I’m doing with my life, now is a good time to pick up a project: starting on one of those crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest, organizing the photo files on my computer, planning the summer vacation we have scheduled for later this year.
But perhaps the most challenging issue in beating snow rage — and snow despair — is to outlast the snow. I thought I had pretty good endurance for these kinds of things, but I’m feeling like I’m being pushed to my limits to try to hang onto the motivation to get up and going as the storms keep on coming. While I don’t know exactly how to maintain that motivation, I’m going to try to keep a positive attitude: maybe the next storm won’t be the last one, but it’ll pass, and I’ll still be here. In fact, I’ll still be here through the next one, and the next one, too. All the way through till the winter storms give way and the storms start bringing spring flowers instead.
Photo credit: Lizzie Heiselt