It’s been bitterly cold for the past week or so, with air temps hovering around 0-10° F and windchills of -5 to -12° F. I consider myself determined when it comes to getting outdoors and braving the cold, even though I’m clearly a summer-loving girl, but with these conditions, even my formidable spirit gets deterred. Not only is it unmotivating to face such uncomfortable conditions, but it physically pains my body because of my inflammatory joint disease and arthritis. I can feel seizing of my muscles and tendons and stiffening of my ligaments and joints as soon as I step outside, which is surprising, given all of the layers of tundra-grade clothing I don. Since it’s not like it’s all that enjoyable when I’m out there for a walk or just an outing, it seems unwise to stubbornly do so just because I feel I “should” get outside.
Under normal (or at least fairer) weather conditions, I love to be outside and find it wholly rejuvenating and enjoyable. Because my work is very cognitively-demanding, I take frequent short breaks, many of which involve a quick pop outside to breathe in some fresh air and drink up some sunshine, if it’s out. I find outdoor time to be my most trusted natural anti-anxiety treatment, and it quiets the depressive fire that tries to burn inside my brain, spiraling me into a low and lonely mood.
Fortunately, Ben has the week off from work, one of the nice benefits of his job. Because we see each other so little during a normal work week, any extra “free” time together is a truly wonderful treat. Given the frigid environmental conditions this past week and the fact that my mood is normally severely negatively affected by this sort of endlessly painfully cold weather, it’s even more of a boon that he’s been off and home. I’m still working most of my normal hours, but it’s great to have his company, even if much of it consists of us silently engaging in parallel, but separate, activities. When I do take breaks, we get to laugh, watch funny movies, work on a big puzzle I got for Christmas, play games, and talk. It’s quite a feat to keep my spirits up and a smile on my face when I’m cooped up inside for days on end, but Ben has a way of doing that just with his presence, which calms my inner mental demons and turns ordinary days into joyous ones. It may sound cheesy, but it’s a beautiful truth. Since my life is full of challenges and pains, which are naturally easier to see and gripe about, it’s ever more important to acknowledge the good stuff, the blessings, and the mountains that became but a molehill with a nice view!
We have the puzzle to work on and stories to read together, so I am not dreading what would otherwise be an unappealing day. So, later this afternoon, when the wind whips the snow up into a blustery sun-zero squall, instead of getting cranky and feeling stir-crazy, I’ll be lavishing in the treasured company of my best friend, hiding out from the cold and feeling warmed with happiness and gratitude inside and out. The sappiness of this sentiment might make some people cringe (myself included at times!), but it’s the reality and I’m super lucky for that.