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Is there a Rx for the Winter/Covid Blues?

"Halloween 2020," circa 1977

I must have been nine or ten years old when I came home from school one day to find my mom crying. I remember feeling startled, wondering what was wrong. I asked her and her response was bewildering. She said, “I’m just feeling a little blue today.” “Blue?” I was puzzled. “What in the world does it mean to feel blue?!”

Well, I can assure you that five decades later, I know. And I bet you do, as well. In the last couple of weeks, the winter/Covid blues have returned to me. I don’t share that to worry you. I’m not undone by them, only aware of that tinge of melancholy that colors my days. Here in the Midwest, the winters are long, cold, and gray, day after day. And then there’s Covid. While it seems reasonable to hope that we’re seeing a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, the threat is still quite real, requiring lots of modifications to life.

So, what do we do about these winter/Covid blues? Is there a prescription that could chase the blues away? Or is the invitation of this season one of *“wintering” in this monotonous and monochromatic landscape? How about the answer, “Yes!” and “Yes!”?

Time to Dream about Starting Something New?

One of the most apparent impacts of Covid on our country is the reality that it has disrupted our work lives and invited lots of people to consider making a change—either out of necessity or because they’ve suddenly discovered how much they enjoy working from home!

The pandemic has helped many of us step back from our vocations and ask, “Is this really what I want to do with my life?” If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to dream! Dreaming infuses life with possibilities and a sense of anticipation! If this idea resonates with you, let me introduce you to a little dream incubator called Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-given Dream.

I wrote this book in 2015 soon after we started Fall Creek Abbey (formerly Sustainable Faith Indy). It walks the reader through the gestational process of discerning, shaping, and birthing a God-given dream. Because of the unique season we’re in, we’d like to make Starting Something New available to you for $8 per book!

Check our website for additional bundle deals, as well!

Time to Play!

Though most of us feel worn out from the winter and the pandemic, if we can press through the resistance and find ways to play, it will add much light and levity to this blue period! How do you play? Or maybe more precisely, what do you play?

Here’s what we’ve been doing to add a good dose of play to our gloomy days:

  • We try to take at least one walk every day, even in the cold. Getting outside, breathing the cold air, and feeling it on our faces is exhilarating! Winter walks in the woods, playing in the snow, watching the birds all add color to often colorless days. (Dressing up for Halloween is also play—or at least play-ful!)

  • We’ve found some fun games to play! In addition to Scrabble (of which I have a love/hate relationship, certainly not at all because I’m competitive), Cover Your Assets, and Bananagrams, our new favorite is Azul. The instructions will give you a headache, but once you catch on, it is SO much fun! (Did I mention that I beat David the other night?)

Keep Time!

Winter and Covid afford us the space for more consistent daily and weekly spiritual rhythms, as well as an invitation to “keep time” with the Christian calendar. Spiritual rhythms and practicing our faith during the seasons of Epiphany and Lent can transform days of doldrum into meaningful, purposeful, spiritually rich times. Here’s a very practical resource I’d like to recommend: Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross.

In the spirit of keeping time, February 17 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. If you’re new to Lenten practices, then let us recommend scheduling a Fall Creek Abbey Lent Retreat (Feb. 17-April 2). We follow careful Covid practices for your safety. You will have your own private room for your retreat and masks are required when on the main floor. We will provide a written retreat guide to help give direction for your retreat. Lunch is served between noon and 1 pm and retreatants will be asked to eat in their own rooms. To engage purposefully in this season of the liturgical year, click here to register.

So, is there a Rx for the winter/Covid blues? Well, there might not be a cure, but there are things we can do to make “wintering” a more replenishing season. And perhaps the best Rx of all is to remember that this season won’t last forever! Spring is coming! Days are getting longer! And the Covid vaccine, along with continued social distancing, is helping this pandemic head in the right direction!

David and I wish each and every one of you the best. Take good care.

Warmly, Beth and David Booram Fall Creek Abbey

*I learned of the term “wintering” from a delightful interview on the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett and author, Katherine May, on how “wintering” replenishes. Give a listen!


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