This evening, October 7th, 2016, our city received its first official snow fall of Winter. I’m not surprised, dark clouds have hovered over the city for a few days, and the mornings were becoming chillier with each passing day.
I don’t have a lot of Halloween decorations in the front yard, but what little there was is now a mixture of orange and white; the colours of winter weather in October.
During the Winter I tend to not want to venture outdoors once I get home from work. It’s dark outside by 4:30pm and it’s freezing, oh and one more reason to complain, there’s snow everywhere. Our long, cold, dark winters tend to throw off my ADHD management plan every year. It’s almost as if I have to have a different method for dealing with my disorder; one for Winter and early Spring, and another one for late Spring and Summer.
The absence of warm weather and long hours of sunlight mean no more meditative and relaxing walks. It’s hard for me to meditate outdoors while trekking through ankle deep snow and ice while fighting the wind. I’m more focused on getting home to my warm place where I can defrost and wrap myself in a blanket and spend my evening doing nothing more than remaining warm until I am forced to leave the house the next day.
For the longest time I couldn’t understand why the transition from Fall to Winter was so difficult for me emotionally and physically. I find Fall to be a beautiful time of year; the burst of yellow, green, and red leaves; a temperature I can handle now that it’s not too cold and not too hot; and the anticipation of a new “year” of activities in September. It eventually dawned on me that Fall is hard for me because of the rapid decline of happiness to sadness; Fall is the death of all the things I loved the most about nature. The evenings begin to get darker earlier and earlier. Those mutlicoloured leaves are actually dying. They turn to beautiful colours then fall off the tree and die all over the ground. The sun is mostly gone, the beautiful green grass is turning colour, the once cool air is now cold, and the rain that made everything grow is replaced by snow that withers and kills most of what it touches.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I want to give thanks to God for everything, but I’m not going to pretend (especially since God knows all our thoughts) that I’m thankful for winter. I’m not thankful for the sadness it brings to my life, but I still know that there is a reason for everything that occurs in nature. My like or dislike of something in nature doesn’t determine the value of it’s purpose; it’s simply a reflection of my attitude and outlook on life.
Winter is a great way for me to procrastinate about getting necessary things finished. Once I enter the front door to my home, I feel as if I’ve won a battle against the elements and my reward is to curl up on the couch and watch my favourite shows; neglecting things like housework, assignments, and fun things that I had intended to do but changed my mind about after deciding that I really don’t want to go outdoors again.
It takes a lot more effort during the colder months for me to get things done so I had to change my ADHD management methods. I intentionally limit the amount of time I allow myself to be on Facebook. I rarely watch t.v. (helps that I don’t own a television) and I set a time limit on how many shows I can watch on Netflix during the weekdays. It isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary plan that has worked for me and seems to be the only way I can accomplish tasks during the winter.
I highly recommend taking some time to think about what your life with ADHD looks like during the colder months and during the winter. Do you find that there is a difference based on the seasons throughout the year? What about your eating and sleeping patterns? Are they worse, better, or do they remain the same? Do you find yourself more distracted due to the temperatures in your home, workplace, or school? Do you find it more difficult to be on time and be organized when the weather is bad? What changes might you need to make to be ready for winter as a person with ADHD?
We’re so used to our ADHD symptoms, I think this sometimes prevents us from checking in with how we are feeling, and how things are working for us. We’re diligent in winterizing our homes and vehicles; maybe it’s time we started doing the same for our ADHD symptoms. Being prepared for the season ahead is an excellent way to help manage our symptoms and our lives.