Have you ever noticed how you feel after driving for a few hours?
Tired! Isn’t that right?
Why is that? You have literally done nothing but sat there while operating a motor vehicle, maybe socialized and/or carried a conversation in the car. Yet, for example after finally getting home from a long road trip you feel very spent. Mentally you have actually been doing a whole lot. Driving involves a constant watch and monitoring; if you’re a skilled driver you are practicing defensive driving, and are always thinking ahead to avoid accidents. Well, over a few hours this adds up! Your brain has had to basically remain in constant hover mode. Your brain was not quite relaxing; yet neither was it engaged in quite the same way as it would be during a cross word puzzle, trying to remember the name of your best friend’s new girlfriend, or any form of problem solving. At least that is the case with mine. You have been ‘hovering’ for a few hours! You have naturally grown tired over that time; not to mention the stress and tension that has accumulated during those hours as you have been watching carefully, thinking ahead and staying alert and prepared. If there were any close calls such as having to slam on your brakes or swerve to avoid a pedestrian on a skateboard that didn’t see you and suddenly darted out in front of you, your stress is all the more. This adds up. Combine this with winter weather of short days and long nights and you understand one dimension of chronic tiredness during the winter time.
One thing I have learned that helps with this is to simply accept winter’s dark chill; that is to slow down my general mode and consolidate and simplify my routine during the winter. For example, I may combine trips and do a few things at once while I’m out so that I don’t have to go out again, or shop for groceries only once a week, arrange things so that I can go out only during day light etc. There is something to be said for preparation and getting things dialed and zipped up before the snow flies. While I wrote about this more extensively in my second book Life-Is-Conscious it is a worthwhile pursuit to play around with ideas and your own schedule to see the ways you can come up with to be more home-based cozy and at a slower pace during the winter. You may notice as I did that all the chasing adds up. The chasing is especially tiring during the winter when we are supposed to be winding down with more rest and relaxation, harmonizing with the reduced natural light; but instead we tend to maintain the same pace, or even rev it up for winter during the holidays. You may find it helpful to make this change at a gradual pace that is comfortable for you, such as adding to it each year making and finding your own preferred rhythms. As always, it is helpful to keep a diary about your progress. You’ll be amazed at the things you discover. Part of well-being is attuning somewhat to the seasons, noticing changes in weather and understanding the impact these have on your mood and general health, and adapting somewhat-making any helpful seasonal adjustments.
Consider the animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Not only is this educational and informative but amusing too. You may enjoy some binoculars and a camera to see what you can find:
Muskrat at the bird refuge
And it’s close relative, here is a photo someone shared with me of a nutria from Oregon:
What is a nutria? That of course. Always food for thought.
If you’re new to this blog, welcome! I write largely from experience and observation, but I’ve studied a lot on my own too. Some posts are random and fun and others are of the utmost importance and seriousness such as this one, APA and everything. Here’s to the studies that one day confirm what I write from observation: (That one journal, 2017). 42 1244-1253
(“That still isn’t right.” 1989). (Which one?)
(That one, get it right, damnit! 2004)
Just kidding only one professor said that to me.
Just kidding again. None of them did, of course not.