Spring is on its way. I can feel it. I can hear it. I can see it. Only just, but it’s there. Little hints and whispers that life will begin to burst open once more.
As I drive to work the fields around me are becoming a more intense shade of green, blossom is peeping through in the garden and, on the rare occasion it makes an appearance, there’s a little more heat in the sun.
As I write this I’m sat in my conservatory listening to the birds. It’s still bloody freezing in here, I’m wearing a coat & a blanket to make it bearable, but in here I can hear them, I can see them flitting between bare branches in the garden, occasionally ducking in for some seed or a peck on a fat ball. Some of them will soon be thinking about nesting, their current chatter the start of the process of pairing up with a mate and starting the arduous task of nest building and rearing this year’s broods.
Our early morning swims are slowly showing signs of daylight. Slightly lighter, a little better visibility, the beginnings of a new day clearly visible behind the hills by the time we head home. Soon it will be the season of sunrise swims. Still cold but oh so beautiful.
January’s a tough month. As much as I’m not a big Christmas fan, it does give me something to think about, a distraction for my mind, from the dull, dark and cold of winter. After that, January becomes a month to just get through. I plan for the rest of the year, holidays are booked, key dates in the calendar get blocked out, I start to work out what I’m going to do with my life for the rest of the year.
It’s frustrating too though. I want to just get on with the things I plan to do. Some I have to wait for, others I struggle to find the motivation for in the dark depths of a cold, damp January day. I always have good intentions but the dark seems to draw me in and sap my motivation. That in turn leaves me frustrated that I don’t just get on with it. What is wrong with me? Why am I being so useless?
I’m not being useless, it’s the inner talk that my counsellor got me to understand, accept and try and overcome. The dark of January makes that so much harder though.
That dark of January that makes it harder to action the biggest tool in my box. A swim!
Don’t get me wrong I have swum outside in January. There have been wetsuit swims, skins swims, ice swims, choppy swims, starlit swims, foggy swims, even a triple dip day in the ice. Many more than this time last year. All of them doing their magic to shock me back to motivation and put a big grin on my face but there haven’t been enough. Two or three times a week at this time of year doesn’t seem to be sufficient.
Opportunity and motivation are all a part in this. I know a cold dip, even if only for two minutes, will make me feel better but sometimes I struggle to find that time or motivation when I’m warm in my house or I’ve already spent hours that day teaching in the pool.
So why am I inflicting my depressing January on the internet? Honestly, I think I need to get it off my chest so I can put it behind me and look forward. I also know I’m not the only one. So many people struggle over winter.
I don’t have a solution or a fix. I’m not sure there is a complete, easy one. Winter in the UK can be depressing. Today I’m trying to put that behind me (perhaps a little prematurely given that it’s still early February) but still, I need to do something to dig myself out of the winter rut.
So, I shall carry on savouring those little hints of spring in the hopes it will keep my mood lighter and positive for the remaining cold months ahead. I do love my cold dips but I have to admit I’m looking forward to a little bit of warmth returning to our beautiful British waters.