It’s snowing. Again. It’s cold. Still.
This past winter has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters I have ever experienced. It hasn’t been just one big blizzard by which the year is remembered. It’s been wave after wave of snow followed by bitter cold. My sister, who lives in Arizona, tells me we sound like the Laura Ingalls family from Little House On The Prairie during the Long Winter. She reminds me that they resorted to eating the seed wheat intended for spring planting.
We aren’t there yet by any stretch of the imagination. Since I don’t drive and my husband has been recovering from nose surgery and the cold air hurts his tender nose, I’ve had to grab shopping moments, be creative in how I cook and learn to do without one or two items. Starving isn’t the problem. The issue is getting used to a different lifestyle – one of staying in the house out of the cold day after day.
How are you surviving this long winter? Tweet this. Even one snow day may feel like an eternity to a mom with small school children home for a day or two. The novelty of the snow can be a refreshing break in the routine. But when snow days stretch into snow weeks and an entire winter season, how do you endure?
Here’s how I’m learning to cope with the cold weather.
1. Restoration – A snow day is a great time to catch that afternoon nap, slow the pace with a good book and a cup of cocoa, or relax over a game or a jigsaw puzzle, It’s a time to sharpen your ax for busy days ahead. On a personal note, I have a big trip planned at the end of the month. This period of confinement has been a good time to get some solid sleep after my husband’s recent surgery and before my trip.
After awhile, the body can only take so much rest and restoration. When you begin to feel antsy and the need to return to real life, what do you do next?
2. Intention – Intend to be intentional. Twee this. On the most bitter of days, I found myself staying in bed longer. Why not? There’s nothing to do. Oh yeah? I pushed myself to make a to-do list and took my daughter’s advice to compose a fun list as well. Use your snow day to get little stuff done that you have put off – like exchange and fill salt shakers, store vases, organize your sock drawer and jewelry box. Do your normal routines such as washing dishes, journal writing and clutter pickup. Warm the house by cooking ahead for the week. My friend Audrey, who is a teacher, uses snow days to clean closets. She told our knitting group last night all the closets in her house are now clean! At the end of the day, you will feel better that you accomplished something and that the day was not a waste.
3. Motivation – It’s easy to spend the day wishing the day would get over. My body starts moving at half speed. I get sluggish from lack of exercise and lack of purpose. I remember reading in Chuck Colson’s first book, Born Again, that he had that same problem while he served his time in prison after his Watergate conviction. Since prisoners sat around doing a lot of nothing, it was all too easy to sink into apathy, to become numb. He learned to walk quickly and intentionally, to stride rather than stroll.
Being housebound for the winter may feel like prison at times but it doesn’t have to be. If you feel yourself slowing down, quicken your pace. Move purposefully from task to task. Take laps around your house. Put doggie treats in your pocket and entice your dog to follow you around the house. Our pets need to get their blood circulating during the cold months too! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Our furnaces strip fluids from our system – that will leave you feeling sluggish as well so merely drinking several glasses of water can restore your energy.
4. Creation – Do something different. Use your snow week to start a new hobby, to be productive. Instead of watching movies or seeing the latest post on Facebook, create something. One friend uses the winter months to catch up on her scrapbooks. Another friend is a prolific knitter. I love to make homemade bread during the winter – I think my husband likes me to do that too because it makes the house smell so good!
5. Devotion – Several posts ago, I shared how my friend Grammy Jean used the long lonely nights of pain to pray for others. During one of our recent snow days, while I was intentional, motivated, and creative, my husband’s and my patience was wearing thin. I realized I had not even taken time for my quiet time. Of all days, when I had plenty of time, I had neglected my Lord.
Use one of your snow days as a day of spiritual retreat. Try praying for a half hour at one time. Read through the entire gospel of Mark. Look at your calendar for the next six months and set and pray over life goals. Use the extra time to pray, really pray fervently over a thorny issue in your life or the life of your family, church or country.
Commit the snow day to the Lord. Ask God to help your family endure the confinement, to be patient and loving with each other. If a family member does get grouchy, shoot up an arrow prayer asking the Lord to help you respond with love. (It works! It really does!) Ask God make the day a truly special time with your family.
If you live alone, ask the Lord to show you who you could call, write, skype, Facebook message, or text. My minister/husband often makes use of the house bound time to call church members to see if they are safe and warm. We’re always surprised at how many are so grateful he called, that someone showed they cared.
After all, I’m not the only one who is housebound during the Long Winter.