Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Finding Joy in the Season Change

It snowed today. Winter is hard for me. I've never enjoyed the cold and wet weather. But it is December and it's time. I've told myself over and over to suck it up because snow is overdue here in Utah.  So today I'm talking about how finding joy in the season change, even though this is the hardest season for me.

One of the things I look forward to the most during the season changes is decorating. I love pulling out different decorations and putting them all up in our house to make it feel cozy and exciting and fun.  Growing up my mom started collecting these little villages to put up around Christmas time and I've always wanted to collect them too. This year I finally started my collection. I put them in my interior window.  I also like to cut out shapes (for fall I did leaves, valentines I did hearts...) and sew them together to make a little seasonal banner. And then, of course, we have our tree and our nativity up in our front window.

For me, the hardest thing about this season is the dark and cold weather. So one of my favorite things to do to help myself feel warm and comfortable is to eat soup and drink hot chocolate. The other day I tried Kneader's creamy wild rice soup. I haven't ever had it before but I was really happy with how it went. And I really don't know if there's anything better than hot chocolate when it's cold outside.

Stress at this time of year can sometimes spike. There are a lot of things going on. You have a huge list of people that you are shopping for, you have lots and lots of parties, the kids get out of school for Christmas break, and all of that on top of your regular daily things to do. It can be hard not to turn into the Burgermeister Miesterburger. So when I feel myself starting to get grumpy or overstressed, I like to find something fun for me and the kids to do. Turn on the Christmas music and have a dance party. Find a fun, easy-to-clean-up craft. Watch a Christmas movie. Be the fun mom for a change instead of worrying about what you need to get done.
Speaking of stress, it's best to try to accept that this a busy time of year and try to do what you can to keep the stress at bay.  Get your shopping done early (but not too early because that's what helps get you into the Christmas spirit), make sure you're doing something productive every day. And don't forget to get your workout in! Working out, running or otherwise, helps keep your stress levels down. It also helps you take whatever anxious energy you might have and direct it somewhere good.

The kids helping me make snowflakes and pine tree garland

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the chance to serve others more than usual.  There's always a chance for you to serve someone, but this time of year the opportunities seem much more frequent. We like to bake treats for our neighbors or write someone a nice Christmas letter. You can donate clothes and toys to a local donation center. You could do a sub for Santa. The chances to serve are all over, and it's a great way to teach your kids to care about others and to help someone in need. It also helps you feel good and happy. 

These are the things that help me get excited about the season change, even though winter can be a hard time for me (and for many other people).  I find myself actually getting excited about winter when I think of these things.

What are your favorite things about winter?

How do you make the most out of the season changes?

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