The excitement of the holiday season has passed, and we are all settling into our regular routines. One would think that with the dawn of a new year, we’d be energized and enthusiastic. Not so much. ‘Tis the season for lack of energy.
It’s not that the holidays wore us out – at least we can’t still use that as an excuse. It’s not that we have become lethargic due to lack of interest. It’s not that we have suddenly all developed narcolepsy. It is because we Real Women, at least those of us in the colder regions of the country, are fighting our natural instincts to hibernate. Those mama bears have it right.
Let’s review, shall we? We awaken while the day is still dark and cold. We stumble around, wrapped in fleece and fuzzy slippers, and check the thermometer as if it really matters whether it is 8 degrees or 22 degrees out. We listen to the weather forecast as if it really matters whether we’ll get 2 inches of snow, or 12 inches, or just 6 inches of “mixed precipitation”, ie: slush. We see our children off to school while it is still so dark that the school buses have their headlights on. Then we gather what energy we have and start our days, be it work, or school, or volunteering, or home management… Whatever our activities are, with a hot enough shower and enough caffeine, we begin to feel human enough to tackle whatever comes our way.
We bundle up to head outside, looking like colorful penguins in our long coats, scarves and boots. We walk like penguins too. Any of you who live in a cold clime are familiar with the clenched-and-hutched-shoulder posture we adopt until May.
For a few hours we forget it is hibernation season. If the sun is out, we get a bit of pep in our step. We may even take part in winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing or building snow sculptures. For a moment or two we convince ourselves that this is lovely and fun. Look at me, it is cold out but I’m being active! A productive member of the human race!
Then, a few short hours later, darkness descends again. 4pm feels and looks like 9pm. Once again the bundling process begins, and we try to gather the strength to head home from our work or our activities. Six months ago, 6:00 at night felt like just the beginning of the afternoon. We had hours ahead of us of daylight and warmth, and we had energy pouring out of our tanned selves. We did evening activities, mostly outside. BBQing, bike riding, gardening, long walks, or just hanging out visiting with neighbors. Now the only time we see our neighbors is when we are both out snowblowing at the same time. We wave a heavily mittened hand which translates to “see you in the spring”.
The evenings are when our deep desire to slumber kicks in. In place of those summer time outdoor adventurous, active athletes are now sofa sloths binging on Netflix. If we manage to get one productive activity accomplished before bedtime, we are proud of ourselves. “I got the dishes washed! Damn, I’m good. “ Then eventually we give in, and go where we’ve wanted to be all day…. Snuggled in to bed like the bear’s lair, having eaten enough comfort food to keep a Grizzly full.
The good news is that the winter solstice has passed. Which means, whether we notice it or not, our days are getting longer. Heck, today we actually had 9 hours and 19 minutes of daylight! Hope you used them wisely!
There is literally a light at the end of the tunnel. In a few months, we will start to crawl out from under our blankets, put down the mac ‘n cheese, put on our sneakers, and emerge from our fuzziness. Unlike the mama bears, we won’t have lost weight, and we won’t feel especially rested. But bit by bit, our energy levels will return. And that first warm sunny day will feel like heaven.
In the meantime, we can entertain ourselves with the many ways we can wear flannel.