I would never malign my good fortune in being retired. And winter indeed has its blessings. Not the least if which is the extended holiday season with activities ranging from crashing my former department’s cookie swap to decorating my mother’s tree. Our season culminated delightfully with a New Years Eve family reunion in Vermont: 20 or so family members with craft beer, sledding, gumbo, single malt scotch and poker. And, the long awaited meeting of the newest family members:
Alas, the fun and games are over and despite my affection for shoveling, the broad expanse of cold and grey can be daunting. When one’s instinct is to hunker down in sweat pants and slowly descend into a carb-aided funk, the savvy retiree must power through!
Here are my top tips for enduring the next several months:
1. Get out of the house. Every day. I know it is cold. I know it is icy. But cabin fever is real, so find some excuse to warm up the car and get out. Any errand counts. Groceries. Library. Visiting your Mom. You can kill two birds with one stone by using your daily outing to
2. Get some exercise. It’s hard to get off the couch. And I’ll admit it is nearly impossible to contemplate swimming laps. But, except for that time I fell off the bosu ball or the time I broke my foot – I have never regretted a workout. Even when it is cold. And, since you made the effort, you should proceed to
3. Make soup. Of all the things you could cook, nothing is easier, more forgiving or more economical. Plus, an hour’s effort will give you at least two meals. While it is simmering,
4. Tackle a long overdue chore. I understand that these chores are overdue because they are unpleasant. But today I spent a fruitful 45 minutes with a razor blade scraping several years’ worth of baked-on crud off the oven window. It was oddly satisfying and probably worthy of a “before” photo. I then spent the rest of the day flicking the oven light on so I could admire the visibility. I was so inspired by this effort that I dusted the blades of the ceiling fan! At this point I feel the need to point out that I recently held a job where I was responsible for a department of over 20 people and a multimillion dollar budget. But my oven was dirty.
I don’t remember having cabin fever while employed but I do remember that I still needed a break from winter. Thus, my final survival tip is
5. Get away. My daughter and I are Jamaica bound. Although it is a few weeks away, it does keep me focused on item #2 and allows a little diversion when I check the weather in Montego Bay with the same frequency I check the oven window.