I live in Midwestern Michigan, where the weather can be extreme. In the winter, temperatures can reach the balmy 40s or plummet to -20°. But mostly we get temperatures ranging between 0° and the mid-30s. Our average yearly snow accumulation is around 50 to 70 inches. We can also get freezing rain—like today. And we can go whole weeks without seeing any sunshine.
If the lack of sunshine and cold weather bothers you, our region can be a depressing place to live. But all of us have our days when winter gets us down. The driving can be frightful, and we can feel cooped up in our home or office. We feel chilled to the bone. Thankfully, I’m pretty even-keeled, mood-wise. But I know others for whom winter is a downer, literally. And I know that by mid-February, if not before, I long for the warmth of spring.
In the meantime, there are some things we can do to get through the winter. Get some fresh air, such as taking a walk or cross-country skiing in the woods, but that’s not always possible—such as on days like today when walking is treacherous. That’s when hopping on a treadmill or taking a walk in the mall could be helpful since exercise elevates our mood. Others have found that light from lamps designed to mimic the sun’s healthy light rays can provides the additional vitamin D our bodies crave during the winter time.
It’s also good to engage in activities that cheer us. For me, that includes: Visiting friends whose company is energizing. Watching an upbeat or funny movie. Sitting by a warm fire and listening to cheery music. Reading a fun or inspirational book. Playing a board game with family. Seeing and hugging my grandchildren! Doing something for someone else. Laughter. “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
Those are some of the things I’ve found helpful. So what lifts your spirits?