Why do we need winter life savers? I think at the root is the lack of sunshine. And the cold. Both are hard to handle. Snow is beautiful, but sometimes treacherous on the road. Getting that vitamin D is just harder in the winter.
Articulating what helps me cope is the first step of gratitude.
6 Minutes + 4 Seconds
I love the idea of micro habits even though I’m not good at implementing them. The idea is starting so small and easy that virtually no will power is needed.
I love the research that shows that reading can reduce stress in as little as six minutes. Reading has been my lifetime favorite strategy to deal with stress, so I’m happy to learn about the research.
Now there’s a study that suggests four seconds of exercise is long enough to make a difference. Granted, they’re saying four seconds five times an hour for eight hours using a high intensity stationary bike, but apparently that’s enough to counteract sedentary living.
Since I don’t have a high intensity stationary bike, I’ve tried four seconds of jumping jacks on days I don’t go to the gym. I can’t say definitively that it’s made a difference physically, but it’s encouraging mentally. Plus, it’s so tiny, how can you not do it?
Even though I can’t chalk this up as a major success, the very idea gives me hope.
It’s the old coffee dilemma. Trying to find that hot morning drink that will be good for your health.
I have the extra challenge of feeling best when I stay away from dairy and sugar.
But trying to find a creamer with no dairy and no sugar? Not easy. Enter nut pods.
Now I can have coffee with creamer that actually tastes good.
Some days I drink real coffee. Right now we’re drinking hand delivered Honduran coffee beans from our friends who teach at a tiny school in the mountains of Honduras.
I add stevia and a little pink salt. Yum.
Some days I drink a coffee substitute made of dandelion root and chicory thanks to this recipe.
Never underestimate the power of finding a good tasting hot drink.
I can’t tell you how many times my mind has wandered back to the Venn Diagram in the past few months. That overlap is important in a multitude of situations.
Take reading to kids.
Books have to please the adult and the child.
That sweet spot in the middle is where all the pleasure of reading together is going to happen. That’s not to say you can’t stretch the boundaries sometimes when an adult sacrifices to “read it again” or the child broadens their horizons to try a new book.
It’s also true for date night.
To stay in that sweet spot we won’t be watching football. Nor will we be watching House or Call the Midwife.
There’s actually quite a few movies we both like. It just takes some digging and mutual veto power.
The key component here is believing that it’s worth the extra effort to find what fits smack dab in the middle of the overlap. That probably means more research to find books and more research to find activities. It means not stopping until you find what pleases all parties involved. It’s worth it.
Why is it so important? Because without it, someone is giving in and sacrificing needlessly.
6 Week White Board
One of the big problems I have with normal calendars is the view of one month at a time.
This especially hits home in May because my birthday falls on the second.
Turn the page to May and — boom!— there’s the birthday, while we’ve been looking at April for the last 30 days.
I love calendars but what I love most is looking ahead.
Living in the present is hard for me, but that’s another story.
My paper planner shows one month at a time but I like the idea of visually seeing 6 weeks at a time, including the beginning of the next month.
Because you fill in your own spaces with this board, you can be wherever you want during the 6 week cycle. Best of all, you can see more than the month you’re in.
In practical terms, if I have a busy week or weekend coming up, it’ll show up in black and white and I can plan some coping strategies. A couple that have worked are grocery shopping for two weeks instead of one or making a big pot of soup to cover my lunches for the week.
Finding and sharing winter life savers with Anne Bogel and the Modern Mrs Darcy community is one more thing that’s saving my life this winter. Join the club!
Yikes! This the fifth time I’ve written about mid-winter life savers. I missed the boat in 2020, but it’s kind of fun to look back at other years.