Thursday, November 24, 2016

Christmas Joy and Winter Blues

I don't think this is super uncommon, but I find winter wonderful- until January.

I really love certain aspects of the beginning of winter. The snow covering everything is so beautiful, and the changing seasons is exciting. Mainly, though, I love the Christmas spirit that is everywhere, and I'm not completely sick of the cold yet.

Christmas music is one of my favourite parts of winter leading up to Christmas. I find it really fills me with joy, whether its in a mall or it's the Michael Buble cd playing for the 25th time in my house (last year I was also obsessed with Pentatonix's Christmas music, and this year I've added Bing Cosby to my christmas cd collection). The Christmas lights on people's houses and decorating the streets are so festive, as are all the Christmas decorations. I love looking around at the Christmas decorations for sale in stores as well, even though I almost never buy anything. Oh also Christmas trees, another thing that makes me happy.

I kind of enjoy Christmas shopping. I like when I think of a great gift to buy or make, that I'm sure the person will like. I don't like when it gets last minute, or when I can't think of what to get someone.

I love the movie It's a Wonderful Life, and watch it every year around Christmastime. The other Christmas movies are take them or leave them for me, I'm not much of a movie person.

Christmas, of course, is wonderful. The busyness, the time with family, the giving and receiving of presents, the traditions, mass, celebrating Christ's birth. I do really want to find ways to make Christmas more focussed on Christ, and I am going to be really thinking about this and putting in effort this Christmas season. I really want that to be a big part of what Christmas is for my kids. That's for another post though.

At some point in my teenagehood, I made a distinction in my head. The wintertime before January was happy, because of a combination of the Christmassy feel and the newness of winter. Then, winter got depressing.

I have always been someone who really struggled with the months of January to about April, or whenever the weather decided to start warming up. I have always felt substantially happier in the summers, with the sunshine and vitamin D, being more active, and all the fun things summer brings. I find I don't get much exercise in the winter months, don't go outside all that much, and just generally feel more down. I don't think that me expecting this to happen every year has helped my situation much, but I don't think that's the only reason behind it.

I strategically placed both my trips to Peru and Colombia in these months as a sort of escape, from the cold and the sadness. It might sound like I was avoiding my problems, but it actually worked really well. Not exactly something that could continue, though.

My plan is to try really hard (as I do every year) to stay generally happy through the winter months, even without an escape to South America (ah I wish!!). Last year I was pregnant during that time. I wasn't working so I had to work really hard to keep busy otherwise I would start to feel really lonely and down, being home alone all day until Matt came home (usually very tired from work and not up to go on an exciting adventure or talking his head off with me hahaha). Something I was really curious about is whether my coming baby would feel like "company." That sounds bad, but I just wasn't sure if I would feel less lonely than I did while being pregnant, because I knew the baby would be someone with me, but she wouldn't be someone who could hold a conversation with me.

My experience has been that it is a lot better. I do still try to keep busy, but days home with Rose are nothing like days home alone. For one thing, taking care of a baby is not a chore like housework is. Housework is something I procrastinate on, or often don't feel like doing, and doesn't really cheer me up (okay the finished product definitely does, but the actual act doesn't really). Taking care of Rose keeps me busy, and I never dread it (this will probably soon change when her poopy diapers start being the stinky kind), I can't really procrastinate on it (when she's hungry she's hungry), and it brings me so much joy and gives me so much purpose. Not only that, but Rose really is "company." Yes, sometimes I need an adult human who can actually respond to me with words, but I find having Rose with me throughout the day to be awesome. She makes me laugh with her hilarious face expressions, my heart is constantly welling up with love for her, she smiles up at me all throughout the day, and she really is a joy to be around. I think she is at a really easy stage right now with her not being able to crawl yet and just being at a super content stage in life, but even if it was harder, Rose would still be a great friend to have with me all day.

So with all that being said, I am hopeful for this winter. I'm hoping to find ways to keep the happiness and cheer up even after Christmas!

Who could be unhappy with this smiley face around all day!

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