Winter Mental Fortitude
Be still. Listen.
The wind blows through the city steadily, whispering from the north, only deterred/rerouted by tall, urban walls. Flakes of snow ride on the wind. They are thin, wispy, hardly of substance, but their persistent falling accumulates flake by flake on the frozen ground.
My boots crunch on thick ice as they sink beneath the freshly powdered surface. Like walking through thick desert sand, snow walking is an endurance sport where each step is just as much an inch backward as it is an inch forward. “Trudge” is the word I think.
This is winter, the way I used to know it.
On the front range, the dry, dusty winters have trained me to look out the window at snow and check the forecast for a dry day to plan an outing. But this year’s winter is a blessing with its gift of long unseen precipitation we all need to live. Each time I shrug at the idea of donning all the layers, I’ve reminded myself of wildfire season, the season when my body hates me (allergies), the season that burns my lungs and chases, with flying embers and rushing flames, both humans and animals alike off mismanaged, parched lands.
"Winter’s not so bad," I think. I will trudge through this season’s abundant snow. I will pause and listen to the calm and hush of the city under the thick blankets of winter.
If you’re worried about the climate. I can relate. My efforts to reduce my waste and footprint, incorporated into my daily life feel too small and are met with hopeless thoughts and fears of “is it too late?” "This snowpack, it's not enough to sustain us."
If you feel immobilized by this cold, bleak season, I hear you. If it’s hard to do the things you usually enjoy doing, I hear that too. So as you rest and practice sitting still, what are you looking forward to with Spring’s longer days and green growth?
Winter has a way of stripping away the unnecessary and bringing clarity of what is needed.
Shelter. Warmth. Nutrients. Rest. Friendship. Love. Snowpack. Hot chocolate. Steady, persistent preparations for the longer days ahead.
TLDR: Resilience through tough seasons like winter takes mental fortitude. Practices of gratitude, meditation/prayer, intentional rest, and time spent with the ones we love can help through the hard days of winter.
What practices help you through your hard seasons? What are you grateful for today?
Remember, we all need support at different times of our lives. If you would like some support this season, send me a message to find out if therapy might be right for you.
Lindsay Cade, LPC (she/her) is a licensed mental health therapist serving the LGBTQ+ community with 8 years experience. She uses affirming, client-centered methods to help folks find freedom from their past and healing in their life. Message her today to get started on your journey to healing.
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