I love this time of year

The leaves change colors to reflect a beautiful rainbow. Then light disappears, it gets cold, we get covered in freezing water, and everything dies. The end. Okay, okay…a little morbid.

Basically, I struggle around this time of year. It is hard losing the sun most days to the perpetual grey skies. There is less daylight. It is hard having everything look barren and dead.

I miss walking the trails in the summer sun. I miss enjoying the outdoors without the weight of extra layers or a snowsuit. I think I need a new coat cause my puffy coat makes me feel like the little brother in A Christmas Story who barely can move his arms. The reality is this is just another form of adjustment.

I’ve realized over the years that if I were to continue to live in the Frozen Tundra I had to figure out a way to make this work. I took up snowboarding. I remembering thinking, “This can’t be that difficult…just like skateboarding.” I was a little off. My wife bought me a snowboard and the rest of the gear for Christmas. No turning back.

The first day out my brother-in-law and I ended up trying the bunny hill. I forgot to mention I had a partner in this hellish experience. We would move a few inches and fall on our asses. We kept trying to cheer each other on. Or maybe we kept cursing in unison – I can’t remember. The last thing I remember in addition to all the pain was falling in front of the beautiful, blonde Swedish Volleyball Team (or so they looked) as they laughed and pointed while we wiped snow from our faces as little kids flew past us chuckling. That was the last straw. Off the hill we went.

That evening we iced our butts and soaked our hurt pride with a cold beer. My wife convinced me to go out for another round of abuse the following day. She took me for a run on a couple hills only slightly more inclined than the treacherous and dreaded bunny hill.

On the third run, I noticed a black diamond on a sign as we continued to go higher towards the clouds and asked what that meant. I found out soon enough. “That’s the only way down.” This was her response to me when I asked how the hell to get out of this mess. I faced the edge of the mountain, took a deep breath, and went for it. As I let go, I started to love the thrill of moving. It was actually beautiful and thrilling.


We have to find new ways to deal with what life hands us. I have found that snowboarding is one option to help cope with winter. Another is sledding with my kids. We found great joy at Winter Park in Kewaunee (there’s a tow rope for those of you less exercise-inclined folk with a walking path right next to it for the athletically ambitious). You can gather by a fire. Make snowmen and snow angels. Take up hockey. Watch the Packers win one in the Frozen Tundra. Simply find something to do outside. (here’s a great list of winter activities to get stuck into, both inside and outside!)

Fighting the Winter Blues:

Stay active. Try to get outside. Light is a big deal. I use a phototherapy light every morning for around 30 minutes to help keep me alert. If you are unfamiliar with this treatment there is plenty of research to support its effectiveness and benefit. It helps regulate the release of melatonin and can help with mood. If you are looking to purchase one make sure you look for a 10,000 LUX (like wattage).

Another way that I stay in the positive mindset is with vitamin D. You can have your doctor check your levels with a simple blood test (25-hydroxy or D3 test). Remember to connect with nature. I love sitting in the quiet that occurs with a freshly fallen snow. Just like snowboarding, you never know the benefit of anything new unless you try it! Give some of these suggestions a try and see what they do for you.