Snow Shoeing and SUPing, two great seasonal activities for women!
Go Away Old Man Winter!
A few years ago I posted on FB that I was having withdrawals from paddling, partially as a joke, partially the truth. It was February in Michigan and we had a series of cloudy, cold, snowy days. That night I received an email from my friend and waterman, Bob. I’ve known Bob for about 10 years. We met when I worked at Surftech in Santa Cruz and he worked called looking to purchase rescue boards for the East Lansing Fire Department. We immediately had the Michigan connection and both respected water.
He wrote,“Don’t get down and give up. Know that one day soon the lakes will be open and you will be SUPing everyday again. You’re a tough women, just remember that if you lived where it was sunny and warm everyday your life would be easy, but you also would take your passion for granted. It’s tough in many ways being a water woman in cold climates. Be proud of yourself”.
That email changed my life in a way. Since that winter, I looked at the weather as being a time to come within, sleep, get recharged, take care of myself and others. For the past 2 years, I hadn’t complained knowing that the winter season is a quarter of our lives….and since I am choosing to live here, why waste time bitching?
This philosophy was perfect for me. Being that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, the cold weather makes me slow down a bit, but I embrace it by teaching hot yoga classes and soaking in a hot bath. Winters provide me time to catch up with my Mother who is terminally ill with cancer and it’s also given me time to really reflect on life. It’s a welcomed time of year, I look forward to slowing my roll or paddle in my case.
That was then, and here we are in March 2014. The calendar tells me we are more than a week into Spring. The tilt of the Earth and the rising sun also tells me that we are past the Spring Equinox. But, apparently these scientific milestones are trumped this year by Old Man Winter! Just this morning before I even could sip my first coffee, I overheard someone say, “It’s a chilly 8 degrees outside”. And to drive that point home, last night another inch of snow covered my deck, making it 89 inches of snow since November.
Playing King of the Mountain, Suttons Bay, Michigan
Woo-hoo, I think we’ve officially made the record book in this area and I now know what it is like to live in the Arctic! Whoopie…I didn’t even get an “I survived the Polar Vortex 2014” t-shirt.
Tactics to Survive
All joking aside, surviving cold winter months can be hard for many people. In order to keep positive, I’ve given up looking at the calendar. Yes, I do have deadlines for business and appointments to attend, but overall I’m not comparing this year to last year.
I keep my daily rituals in order to keep myself balanced. This year I did not travel over the winter and so my routine is fairly refined. Unfortunately, that includes several cookies with my coffee in the morning. I call it living, but my waistline may not say the same thing. As I blend up a healthy mid-morning smoothie, I write my “To-done list” for the day and mentally check my schedule. Time management is crucial for being in business and running a household in the winter. Being that the days become shorter and then longer, having the right lighting and motivation to get things done is important.
Staying strong physically and keeping the ell bees off as a middle-aged woman can be a bit challenging any time of year, but especially now. It’s natural for everyone to seek comfort when it’s cold outside. Whether it’s food that reminds people of their childhood or cuddling up on the couch with your favorite blanket to watch movies, we all have our comfort solutions. I fall victim to both of these things, I am a foodie, who has never had to “diet”. But, now I follow the guidelines of a healthy whole food lifestyle (including cookies) that helps me feel good from winter to summer. And since my RA diagnosis, boy do I like to cuddle up with my heating pad and watch a Sex in the City marathon! Yes, I admit it – why not?! Getting some good rest and sleep will keep you young and I’ve been told that your body heals when you sleep.
It was just yesterday that I caught myself going for a walk. I crossed over to the cliffs from my house in the Jewel Box of Capitola and headed down to the Village. Walking along the ocean, I grabbed a coffee, met some friends and continued to walk out onto the beach. The tide was out and we were able to tide pool a bit. The starfish were bright and urchins intriguing. Then, I looked up and I saw that it was snowing. I had only walked 3 miles on the treadmill at the point and I realized that I was daydreaming about my past when I was my happiest and care-free.
Walking the treadmill, snowshoeing, and using my Indo Gigante cushions with a new Riviera board has helped get me through the winter fitness blahs. I also own a couple Indo Yoga Boards that are easy to take to my yoga studio or a friend’s house for a little yoga practice. Without having these activities, physically and mentally I’m not sure how fit I really would be. I’ve made friends with all of these activities and I look forward to them these days – even if I expect to ditch them as soon as it’s sunny outside and there is open water! Shhh, don’t tell them!
And so, for many of you this is all a foreign concept. But, for others this is reality. Even some of our more “Southern” states, like Tennessee and Georgia have had their fair share of crazy weather in the past few months. It can get frustrating when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, but let’s just all remember that we are so lucky to have the ability to get outside and do whatever it is we love. Whether it’s gardening, yoga, stand up paddling or backpacking, any activity is better than no activity.
So, as I end this story I hope that you can all appreciate where your place is on this Earth. And for those of you who are cold climate water women, please give yourself a warm hug and some credit for making it through one wicked winter and know, it will make stepping onto your paddle board just that much more sweet!
Aloha to All, Lindy