If you are hitting the ‘cold ‘n wet’ wall of winter, you are not alone. By
this time of year, many of us Northwesterners begin to crack under the
pressure of the cascade of short, cold, gray days.
By all accounts, our vitamin D measures in the negative digits; due to
layering we haven’t seen our limbs in months and fear we may not
recognize them; and our research into buying that fantasy beachfront
property in Costa Rica inches towards completion. If not mindful of
wise seasonal self care, our physical health and emotional mood start
to crumble under the gray skies, still-damp shoes from yesterday, and
moss taking root on anything sitting idle, including ourselves. We’ve
watched the shows, read the books, and are ready to shake the moss
Thankfully, those of us living in Vancouver have a plethora of
opportunities to engage in, to aid our bodies and minds in embracing
the pending spring with seeds of hope and vitality.
Do chat with your doctor, as a northwesterner with sufficient vitamin D
is sasquatch-sighting rare. Do pry the remote control from your
clenched hand and take a few minutes to research goings-on beyond
your front door. That door is the portal which, of late, has mainly
served to receive food ordered in by car delivery.
Just outside our doors, there are green spaces to explore as early spring
buds and mushrooms press up through the soil. Meetup.org groups
gather to sip coffee, play games, delve into book club conversation,
hike, ski, and explore any other forms of play we can conjure. From
local live theater to science talks at the Kiggins, to finding out what
really goes on at City Council meetings, numerous ways to branch out
await us here, in our very own town.
Community centers, including Marshall and Luepke Senior Center and
community colleges offer us classes for our bodies and minds. Our
fabulous downtown library offers programs for adults and children.
Mandala making, learning to sew, and practicing a new language await,
and all we need simply say is, “Yes,” to a new opportunity. Our brains
will thank us when we engage in new learning. This stimulates growth
and enhances mood, as we have something and someone to look
forward to connecting with each week.
2020 ushers in the 50 th anniversary of Earth Day. Look for ways to care
for our natural environment by planting trees with neighbors, clearing
invasive ivy from thankful wooded areas, and gathering to support
Mayor McErny-Ogle and Vancouver City Council in initiating plans to
pursue net zero carbon emissions in the coming years.
When I first moved to the northwest, sage advice I received regarding
the soggy season was, “Don’t wait.” Don’t wait to get outside. Purchase
a rain-resistant jacket and hat and go for that stroll. If there is a break in
the rain, dash quickly outside to absorb moments of natural sunlight
and take a few deep breaths, as you meander your block. This is an
opportunity to say hello to a neighbor we haven’t seen since the onset
of the monsoon season, spot budding trees and flowers, and visit with a
passing puppy out on her daily walk. Our ability to connect with others
goes a long way towards enhancing our mood and our stiff muscles will
appreciate the movement.
As you can see, we have countless ways we can care for ourselves
during this time of year. Our minds and bodies will thank us when we
simply choose to say “yes” to one small piece of soggy season self care.
And, while you’re at it, invite a friend. They too are feeling the heavy
weight of this wintery time of year.
Debbie Tomasovic, LMFT is the co-owner of A Better Way Counseling,
here in Vancouver. Doing her best to walk her talk, you may spot her
out on a forest bathing hike, taking in local art or music, and generally
doing her best to shake the moss off! www.abwcs.com