• Dawn Hosmer

The Dreary Days of Winter

Winter is a hard time of year for many people. I've asked the Gestalt team members to share their thoughts on how to cope with the dreary days of winter.

Winter Desolation by the Witch

I’ve woken to heavy thunder.

And the depressing hiss of the drain.

I’m a child of the sun.

But a prisoner of the rain.

I need warmth of the light.

To free my mind from these chains.

I’m a child of the sun.

But a prisoner of the rain.

Cold Weather, Gray Skies and...Snow?

By Dawn Hosmer

I'm one of those weird people that enjoys winter, as long as I don't have to leave the house. The gray skies and cold days are perfect for enjoying a cup of hot coffee and curling up with a good book. Or for spending in front of my laptop, crafting new stories. When it's sunny and warm, I often feel guilty for staying inside and doing the things I love - like writing and reading. So, winter is the perfect excuse for me to take care of myself and nurture my soul with things I enjoy.

I also love snow - again, as long as I don't have to drive in it. I love how quiet the world becomes when it's covered in a blanket of snow. I live in Ohio and typically we get quite a bit of snow. But, this year, we've hardly had any and I miss it. If it's going to be cold, it needs to snow.

I actually think I'm better at self-care in the winter than in the warmer months. If I need a nap, I take one. If my muse is whispering in my ear, I write. If I want to get lost in a good book, I do. Because, after all, who wants to go outside in the cold, dreary weather?

Those Winter Blues by David Voyles

"Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December…"

December? Really, Mr. Poe? December?

If I were asked to pick the bleakest month of the year I think it would have to be February. But I get it. It's hard to get a good rhyme for the second month of the year.

"It was in the estuary towards the end of February

When I questioned, sad and weary, why I lived on evermore."

Nah, "The Raven" would never have gotten anywhere with a line that rhymed with February. Setting that grand poem in a swamp instead of a gloomy parlor just wouldn't have been the same either.

But in December winter has barely gotten a good start. Everyone's excited about the Yuletide season and those of us near or above the Mason Dixon line in the US scan every cloudy sky actually hoping to see the first flurries of the season.

But by February even the merriest of winter enthusiasts have generally had enough of shoveling sidewalks and sliding home to work with muscles sore from the tenseness of being on edge with the surprise black ice that coated the streets the night before and, suddenly finding religion, praying you don't slide into anybody else on your bumper car ride home.

We think nostalgically of warm walks in the woods and parks while cabin fever has reduced us to the point where a simple family infraction that involves you finding the morning bagels in a plastic bag tied up with a knot so tight that an Eagle Scout couldn't untie it (instead of just using a twist tie as any sane person would do) BEFORE you've even had that first cup of coffee is cause for a meltdown. But I speak hypothetically, of course.

Definitely NOT the scene of this author's breakfast one recent wintry morn.

So how to cope? Well, those with money can jet off to warmer climes, I suppose. I know Mardi Gras exists primarily as a means of celebrating all the excesses of human indulgences one can think of before Lent sets in, but I can't help but think that it's also a way of breaking loose from the weariness of winter. I suspect that most people travel to New Orleans simply as an escape from their winter blues.

But like many others, I suppose, I don't have the financial means to do that, tempting as it is. And that's probably a good thing. With my luck I would die in some horribly embarrassing situation, not necessarily because of what I was doing but because with my luck I would be in the just the wrong place at just the right time. And wouldn't that be a terrible way to go? I know, I know, that's a morbid thought. But every year there are fatalities.

As a horror writer, though, I can't help but imagine that those horrible situations would make for some interesting ghosts, though. Those drunken spirits would haunt Bourbon Street rattling beads instead of chains moaning, "Show us your BOOOOOObs!"

So how DO I deal with the winter blues?

To be honest, in spite of everything I've said, it isn't really that big a problem. I'm not a summer person—that's just too hot. And spring is a blur of just one long sneezing fit gollowed by another.

Autumn is my season. With my favorite holiday, Halloween!

So my family and I spend a good bit of the post-Christmas winter months planning for our Halloween celebrations.

Yep, that's right. Halloween. We really do. And when we finally do have a snow that will pack well enough to sculpt some good figures, our snowmen definitely do have a Halloween-inspired theme.

And speaking of themes, as of this writing, we do, in fact, have a theme already picked out for next year's Halloween party which is…

No, I'm gonna hold onto that. That will have to be the subject of another blog. So put your sleds away and get out those plastic skulls and funkins 'cause there are only 248 days until Halloween!

When life gives you lemons, i.e. snow in March when you're ready for spring,

make…a Snow Krampus!

Winter Blues by Anna Stokes

This year my internal clock seems to be off kilter. The sudden urge to spring clean came early and has actually been a blessing. Cold dreary winter days in the mountains can really get you down.

I normally use cold weather as an excuse to park it on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, hot chocolate and 1-4 cats snuggled up. But this year I'm trying a new approach and doing some home improvements now so hopefully I can slack off a bit and enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nicer.

Keeping busy with constant projects is a form of therapy for me. It keeps me focused and doesn't allow seasonal depression to creep in. It's a good time to reflect and appreciate the beauty of the season and anticipate the new life that's about to blossom. Wishing everyone happiness and warmth as we approach Spring.

Cold Days, Long Nights by Jason Stokes

The cold days of winter are a real test to people who enjoy being outside, who recharge from nature and are easily affected by the seasons. I find that keeping yourself busy, working on projects that started in the summer or fall and planning ahead help while the seasons cycle into a new beginning. Winter is a time to recharge and prepare for the times to come. It's also a moment to appreciate for what it is....a necessary and beautiful part of the world's natural order. So appreciating the moment is important to getting the full experience.

A little winter love by D.M. Simmons

I love the crisp days of Autumn; the colorful leaves and smell of spice in the air. But I also love winter. Burrowing under a down comforter in the morning or curling up in a blanket by the fire to write, are some of my most favorite ways to enjoy a cold day. And when I can stretch out in my chair by the fire, wiggle my feet in its warmth, and sip my coffee slowly throughout the day while writing...well, that’s just perfection. It’s why I live here —the place where Mark Twain famously said: “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” (Or something like that.) It’s cold year-round and it suits me just fine. And where I live it’s one of the foggiest parts of the Bay Area, and yet it doesn’t get to me either. I have always found this comical because I was born in the summer but hate the heat. I was meant to live in the cold and dreary. ;) I do find, however, the weeks after the holidays are depressing and very hard to muddle through. That is the darkest part of winter for me. And to be honest, I just make it through. Begrudgingly. No secret coping mechanisms. No vices. Well, ok, maybe with some chocolate. But self-care to me, in general, is important beyond those post-holiday weeks and late winter lulls. Some of my favorites self-care activities: - a venti skinny vanilla latte w/ extra foam and extra shot every Friday - playing music in my car loudly and seat dancing - mani/pedis (I get them religiously every three weeks) - massage (try for once a month) - binge-watching shows on the weekend or even sneaking in a movie on Netflix or Amazon during a day I WFH and my schedule is clear They may seem like small things, but they mean a lot. I’m not as good as I used to be with taking care of myself- with two kids (ages 11 and 3), running a business, and writing - I have a full, full plate. But I’m trying to find balance again and this includes time for self-care. Baby steps. Is it Friday yet?

How do you take care of yourself during the long days of winter? Let us know.

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