Monday, January 9, 2012

The "Winter Blahs"

The holidays are over. The carols have been sung, the gatherings taken place, gifts exchanged. We rejoiced. We "oooed." We "aahhed." We possibly shed some tears of delight. But the season of wonder starts to fade a bit and what we're left with is ...Winter. Lots and lots of Winter. And here in New England lots and lots of winter can be very cold and verrrrrry long. And each year I succumb a bit to what I call the "winter blahs."

The New Year is a time of renewal and excitement. We review the previous year, perhaps establish new goals for the year ahead. But despite all of this I still find myself yearning for the warmth of sunlight on a hot summer day, the carefree days of flip flops and ocean breezes. The days where kids stay outside 'til bedtime finding a new adventures 'round every corner. But the reality of a homeschooler in winter is more like one long lonely stint of rambunctious kids sick of staying inside, weary of routine and well, just plain sick! To say the least the months of January through March are not my favorite.

I'd like to say I'm able to combat these negative thoughts and feelings with heaps of wisdom and fortitude, but to be perfectly honest, I struggle. I have my ups and downs, my good days and bad. This is not to say that every winter I'm a depressed mess who holes up in bed hibernating 'til Spring, but some days that idea doesn't sound too bad! :p (kidding, kidding.)

But I do actually have a point to this rambling post on winter blahs (though I've taken my time getting to it!). My point is this: Happiness isn't about attaining what it is we think we desire, but is about finding joy in life just as it is. We can give ourselves over to dreams of the future, grandiose vacation plans and thoughts of goals brought to fruition, but the way to really embrace life, is to do just that: embrace it. Don't wish it were different, don't wish it away, don't stagnate in wishing. Instead, find ways to relish each moment. Thank God for the gifts of each day--the little delights as well as the big. Even on the greyest most dreary of days when the dishes are piled high in the sink and everyone is cranky and sniffly, there are still moments of joy. There are hugs, good smells, friends just a phone call away. Beautiful everyday moments. If you change your attitude about the present, grace pours in, delighting you in surprising ways.

I recently came across this passage from Homilies for Weekdays by Don Talafous (a great daily resource for those of you who follow the daily Mass readings throughout the year!). It says:

Much of our lives is spent waking up to realizations, learning after the event what its significance was, seeing the value of a moment only when it is past, recognizing the blessing of a human life only when it is over. Again, what all this suggests is that we need more of that wakefulness, alertness, attention to what it is before us of which we've heard so often in Christ's teaching. Think of the many examples there are in our lives of our non-recognition of something or someone very important that was actually a grace. And we kicked against it or experienced only irritation. So many {life circumstances} can bring us God's grace.

So then, might a bad case of the "winter blahs"actually help us grow? Might those doldrums be a blessing in disguise? I believe this to be true be so long as we're intentional about what we do when the blahs strike. Rather than giving in and giving up, try to use them. Try to figure out how you can harness those blahs to seek joy. Seek something new. Dig deeper. Ask for God's grace. Because sometimes in the seasons of seeming stagnation, we're actually growing. Like bulbs we plant in late Fall that seem lost and forgotten beneath layers of snow, lie thick fertile heads just waiting to sprout.


  1. Beautiful photos. I have often felt that January let down but this year I feel all jazzed up for a new year of blogging. I guess that's what creativity can do! Blessings!

    1. Thank you! I'm happy to report that I've since pulled out of my slump! I agree 100% that creativity can really lift the spirits! Looking forward to reading what the new year has inspired for your blog! :)

  2. You have a great blog. Sorry you are up in the cold part of the country. You're right about how we can choose to embrace wherever we are at in life. Blessings to you and your family.

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