It’s that time of year.
When winter settles heavy upon us…cold mornings, cold afternoons, cold nights.
The giddy excitement of holidays and fresh snow has gradually been replaced by the dread of scraping frosted windshields (again) and the monotony of wiping up wet, brown footprints. We have grown bored with our cute sweaters, and our fur-lined boots are scuffed and crusted with salt.
We yearn to step out into the sunshine and actually feel warmth. We gaze longingly at our flip-flops abandoned in the back of the closet and dream of days spend skipping through the green grass with a popsicle. Our families and significant others have been staring vacantly at us from across the couch for weeks, eyes glazed over from too much Netflix and Zoom. They all want to be entertained, but there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go… even the park is frigid and forlorn.
Yep, that time of year again. Fucking February.
I think that our Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is magnified this year because, let’s face it, we have all essentially been isolated and agitated since last March. (And before that it was last Fucking February.)
(If only we knew last February what we would be in for over the coming year. I don’t know about you, but I would have spent every day of that godforsaken month hanging out in any public place I could think of and socializing with all the friends I had. I would have had a Super Bowl party, a Mardi-Gras parade and a Luau in my living room, visited every museum within a 4 hour radius, and sat elbow to elbow in a crowded movie theater shoving popcorn into my unmasked mouth.)
But alas, here I am today, staring out my window at perpetually gray skies, sipping warmed-up coffee, wearing yoga pants (because that’s all that will fit over my quarantine-size ass), and dreaming of sunscreen and mosquito bites.
You know, I do a lot of personal inner work on being present. I am fully aware that my mind’s tendency to hang out in the hazy memories of the past or the tantalizing visions of the future are what leads to my suffering in the present. I know this fact, yet still I struggle.
They say Seasonal Affective Disorder is likely caused by reduced exposure to sunlight during winter months, and can therefore be mitigated by getting outside more, opening your blinds, even using artificial “light therapy” boxes. Oh, and “socializing more” (thanks, Mayo Clinic…this must have been written pre-pandemic).
That may be so, but I get outside as much as I possibly can, I take my vitamin D daily, and I have a great network of friends. I intentionally work on cultivating joy in my life.
Yet I still feel sluggish and agitated. And bored. And ready for spring.
*Sigh* I guess this is just where we are right now. It’s February, that damn groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, and we are just going to have to accept that it’s going to be cold and gray for a little while longer.
This too shall pass.
Acceptance and non-attachment, right? Seems simple enough, to just be with what is, stop trying to resist the present moment, and know that eventually it will transform and become something different.
Hm. What if we just allowed ourselves to feel sluggish and agitated? What if we just quieted our anxious, annoying minds for a minute and leaned in to what it really feels like to be sluggish and agitated right now? (Ok, hang on. I’m gonna try it…)
…You know what? I don’t feel that sluggish and agitated anymore. In fact I kind of feel like laughing! How ridiculous to think I can sit with the feelings of SLUG and AGITATE!
As soon as I tuned inwards and really tried to feel those feelings, they slipped through my grasp. How odd… it’s like my inner self doesn’t have the patience to placate my entitled mind as it tries to hang on to such self-flagellating emotions.
Well at least I feel better now. It’s still gray and freakin frigid out there. And my coffee is now barely lukewarm. But I feel like I could probably go ahead and start my day with a smile.
©Skye Nicholson 2021