Who likes winter? Those who participate in winter sports, those who plow driveways for a living, those who live in warm climates, or those very few who just like the colder weather. Many of us who live in the areas that are known for cold weather and snow get the winter blues. Many suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that comes around during the change of season, particularly winter. Even if you’re not diagnosed with SAD and you have depression, winter can make your depression worse.
When I was a kid, I loved snow. I’d go sledding with my siblings, we’d build snowmen as big as we could make them, and we’d have snow ball fights and stay outside until we could no longer feel our fingers. We even built ramps out of snow and jumped them with our sleds. We had so much fun. Childhood was fun, but as I got older, I began to hate snow and winter.
When I was a teen, it meant darker days which matched the darkness already lingering in my soul. The cold became a nuisance, boots and hats weren’t cool, and I no longer liked going outside. I sat alone in my room with thoughts racing through my head: mean, ugly and nagging thoughts. My thoughts ripped at me and tormented me. There was no escape from them. The fun of winter became only a memory. I fell deeper into my hole of depression.
Then I started driving. Driving down icy roads, through blizzards and hardly being able to see. Next it was scraping snow off the windshield, getting stuck in snow drifts, and sitting in a cold car waiting for it to heat up. I began to dread the winter more. I’d hold on to my steering wheel until my knuckles turned white. Where-ever I went I worried about the weather and whether or not I’d make it home. The winter blues settled in. My heart grew heavy and the hole seemed darker. My stomach twisted and my worries overwhelmed me.
Now my husband drives the car to work and I have to walk down to the end of our road and wait for the bus. Some sidewalks are shoveled and some are not. It can be very cold and the wind stirs up the snow and throws it in my face. I feel my soul sliding down that hole. I want to lie in bed until spring. I don’t want to face another day of dark skies, cold temperatures, and endless snow, but I push myself to keep going.
To get through the winter blues, I had to find somethings good about it like: I have a warm home to go to. If I look out the window, the snow seems to glisten with an unspoken beauty. No matter how cold it gets there’s a way to get warm and no matter how bad the weather gets, I don’t lose my home and all my possessions. On days that I don’t have to leave the house for work, I keep myself busy with writing, housework, journaling, reading, and so on.
Beat the winter blues. It’s hard, but there is good in winter. Think of the people who are losing everything they have to natural disasters; think of those who have no home to go to and be grateful for what you have. Stare out a window at the snow. See how it hangs from the barren tree branches, see how it glistens when the sun peeks out, and watch how it falls from the sky in perfect flakes. Be a kid again. Make snow angels, make a snowman, and throw a snowball at a friend.
I grumble about the winter and sometimes I find myself sliding towards the hole of depression, but I remind myself that there is beauty in all God has created, even winter. When the winter blues settle in, I chase them away and look for something positive hiding in the dark and cold of winter. Finding something good helps me feel the light shining through the billowing clouds.