…and everyone’s freaking out–and by everyone, of course I mean the people on the local news–and rightfully so. COVID numbers are rising while the temperature and amount of daylight are dropping. The outdoor activities that have been keeping people sane are about to become a lot more difficult.
So what in the fuck are we all gonna do? Frankly, I don’t think this is a hard problem to solve. It just requires a little planning. This is mine.
- Keep going outside. So what if it’s cold and windy and wet? I’m a grown ass man with a bad ass beard, god damn it, and with the internet as my witness I hereby pledge that Jack Frost isn’t going to get the better of me, that frigid bastard! I need my walks, my runs, and my bike rides. That last one’s probably not going to happen once it’s slick, but I’m stocking up on warm gear so I can continue the first two. The shopping list: waterproof boots, snowpants, a non-peacoat winter coat, a warm base layer for my runs, and a sled so I can take advantage of the nearby park. That dude sitting amid the family of fucked up snowmen at the top of the hill? That’s me, and you better believe there’s at least one nip of Jack Daniels in that Dunkins coffee I’m sipping.
- Solidify the coping mechanisms. I’ve written previously about mindfulness and how it’s helped me through a rough few months. I want to expand those practices so they’re even more useful. Since adding a fish oil capsule to my morning vitamin intake I’ve felt mentally sharper and less likely to slide into the doldrums. And I’ve purchased a SAD lamp; I’ve long suspected I get the seasonal affective disorder given how pissy I get in late January, so if 10,000 lumens of UV-filtered light can help me out, great. If not, welp, I needed more lighting in my new place anyway and twenty-five smackers for a lamp ain’t so bad.
- Plan things to look forward to. In past years it’s felt like the only thing getting me through the JanFeb Hellscape is this simple refrain: “Wrestlemania’s coming!” In a situation that feels like we’re hanging in perpetual suspense, waiting for the next shit-covered shoe to drop, identifying and looking forward to fun things, however simple, is very important. This might be as simple as keeping a calendar of video game and movie release dates, or maybe as complex as planning some sort of COVID-safe trip.
Winter’s gonna suck. But you know what? You can do this.