Ah, Winter in the Midwest… we all love it, right? Wrong. I am not a hater of snow by any means, but grey skies, short days, and negative temps definitely don’t make me eager to get out of bed in the morning, let alone get outside at all. If you’re similar and long for Spring/Summer/Fall days almost all Winter long, here are a few ways to help beat those blues.
Step 1: Enjoy the good days. Sometimes we are so busy complaining about the awful Winter days that we let a good 45 degree day pass us right on by without enjoying that decent weather while we have it. The 6 inches of snow will melt, the negative temps probably won’t last more than a few days here in Indiana, and winter really isn’t that bad, if you simply get your mind right. “If your thoughts are negative, the world you see will be the same” (said Leon Brown.)
Step 2: Find another outlet. Do something else outside. We all want to be on the water as often as possible, but if you don’t have the right cold-weather gear or the conditions are simply not enjoyable or safe at all, there is fun to be had elsewhere. Ever tried snowshoeing? Skiing/snowboarding? Or, if you hate the snow & are rolling your eyes at those options, how about a hike or a jog? It doesn’t have to be a new sport altogether or an all-day event, but sitting inside on the couch every day is simply not a logical option for those of us who thrive in the outdoors.
Step 3: Gear up and go out. And I mean, gear up. Layer like crazy. Insulate your core, your arms, legs, hands, feet, neck, head, all of it. Then, protect it from water with a drysuit, booties, and gloves. Maybe you don’t intend to be submerged, but you still need to plan for it. No matter the season, never go out without a PFD. And once you’re all geared up, remember to plan your trip wisely. Days are shorter, rivers are much less maintained, and conditions can be downright dangerous in the winter. Be sure to get on the water in an area you’re familiar with & that you have paddled before. Always carry emergency safety equipment. If you know someone else with all the gear for cold-weather paddling & a need for some outside adventure, by all means ask them to come with you. Let someone know your plans, route & expected timing so that they know if anything goes awry and can ensure you are safe.
If none of these seem like a possibility & you want to admit defeat & curl up under a blanket for a bit until the Winter days pass you by, just remember that this season doesn’t last forever. Seriously… I know it seems like it could, but it will come to an end. Spring is never too far away & Summer days will be here before you know it. It’s never too early to start planning for the next paddling season!