A distracted woman of color leaning on her hand in front of a laptop computer looking longingly out of the cold window. In the window is a dull grey scene that includes a bare Christmas tree on the curb.

It's January. . .Now What??

We survived the holidays!! We even had fun, because we planned ahead. Now it’s January. The landscape is barren, white or grey, devoid of life. It’s a new year, but it’s more of the same. Nothing’s changed. "Adulting" is hard. "Adulting" with rheumatoid disease is harder.

Winter and the post-holiday blues

For years I have struggled with the winter blahs. All the excitement of the holiday season comes crashing down. Most of us are recuperating in one way or another. It’s cold outside and we don’t want to venture out. When we do, it requires layers of clothing which weigh us down and make it even harder to move.

I’ve always thought of winter as “dead” time. Recently, a pastor shared with me a new way of thinking. During the winter, plants become dormant and store up energy. They care for themselves knowing that soon they will be blooming and growing. Their roots grow more and become stronger. They prepare for the season ahead.

A new way of thinking

What if we looked at our winter season the same way? What would it look like? How would it help? Perhaps winter is the best time for strengthening and growing our roots. Maybe having long phone calls instead of outings is a way to nurture ourselves and grow our roots. Preparing for the seasons ahead by having downtime to regroup and make plans. Reading books under cozy blankets can provide travel to faraway places and a friend in time of need.

Using winter as a time to plan ahead

Planning for the year to come is best done in quiet rest. Winter is the perfect time for that. Looking back at our calendar from last year reveals much. We can see our patterns emerge. Just like when a root realizes it has to choose a different path, we may realize that three events in one week usually results in a flare or an illness. Seeing through hindsight allows us to adjust for the year ahead. Winter provides that time.

A new outlook

While I can’t say I’m thrilled about winter this year, I am approaching it with a much-improved attitude. I look forward to what I will learn. A positive outlook is so crucial to our battle with rheumatoid disease. I have looked up numerous Crockpot recipes for dinners and hot beverages. Please share your ideas in the comments. As always, be kind and care for yourselves.

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