Before 2020, the month of February never really bothered me. Although Winter seems to get particularly harsh during this month here in New England- with those treacherous, almost-Spring-but-not-quite-there-yet blizzards and single digit (or often negative) temperatures- I’ve usually just retreated indoors to cook piping hot comfort foods and bundle up in thermal and/or multiple blankets and waited for it to eventually pass.
And I had known- and still know- plenty of people who dread the frenzy surrounding Valentine’s Day, although the holiday rarely irked me much- even during the years I’ve been single during it. It’s easy enough- and rather fun!- to treat yourself to a nice dinner or overpriced candy and celebrate being unattached and free for a day.
But last February changed both my life and my perception of the month. One of my dearest, long-time friends and on/off partners moved across the country for a job opportunity- and then my best friend passed away during a surgery just a couple of weeks later, near the end of February 2020. Both of these losses crushed me in profound, indescribable ways- and the impending anniversaries of both events have me a little on edge and feeling extra emotional.
So I’ve determined to go easy on myself this month and make February a period of self-love and self-care- be it taking “mental health” days when I’m feeling overwhelmed, treating myself to good food, more sleep- definitely more water- and speaking with my therapist as often as needed. It’s not that I don’t do these things regularly already, but I also know myself well enough to know that when I’m feeling down, sad, or unmotivated- I can lapse on doing the things that are ultimately good for me and both my mental/emotional health and my physical health.
And despite the subzero temperatures outside as of late- I understand the benefits of fresh air and exercise on my overall well-being. Although I can’t walk my normal route right now given the ongoing snow accumulation on the sidewalks and roadsides (we’re expecting another Nor’easter later on today!) I’ve been turning to a few various trails to get a couple of miles in when I can. Most recently I took a brief stroll- while wearing ALL the layers- on the Midstate Trail near my family home in Central Massachusetts during a quick visit.
The sun was starting to set on my way back, which made the Winter sky look especially pretty- and I snapped a few photos before I navigated my way back to my car- and my heater. I may not be a fan of Winter- but even I have to admit the sunsets sure are spectacular!
I’m sure once this next blizzard passes I’ll be back out on the trails to take more photos while wondering when Summer will finally get here- but for now I’m just going to enjoy some “indoor” time where it’s warm.