Self-Care Challenge (Day 32): Relaxing By the Fire

On day 32 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I kicked back and relaxed by the fire.

One of the things I love most about Seattle is the weather. That may be surprising, given that most of the chatter about the city revolves around the amount of rain we get here. True, it rains a lot. (They don’t call it the Emerald City for nothing.) But we also have the most amazing summers that I’ve ever experienced. In this part of the country there’s a season for everything, and it matches my frenetic lifestyle and interests perfectly.

I’ve lived in hot, sunny states like Texas and Florida, yet I always found myself missing the change of seasons. I even missed the overcast days that I remember growing up in Ohio. The truth is, I’ll take this drizzly rain any day over the obnoxious thunderstorms of the south. (No rain jacket in the world can keep you dry in those conditions.)

While Seattle may be rainy, we get less annual rainfall than most states in the South. Atlanta, for instance, comes it at just under 50 inches per year, which is still 10 inches more than Seattle. And, ironically, Hawaii is the rainiest state in the US, but I’ve never heard anyone complain about the weather there.

In the Pacific Northwest, summers are filled with sunshine, moderate temperatures, and more outdoor activities than there is time to do them. The days are longer, which means between May and September, very little time is spent indoors. Hiking, fishing, camping, and outdoor projects soak up every ounce of daylight, and we enjoy most of our meals outside.

And the winter months offer respite and relaxation. By the time fall rolls around, I’m always ready to hunker down and work on indoor projects. I look forward to reading, sewing, crocheting, writing, cooking, cleaning and organizing. The dark days were made for enjoying a glass of wine and a great book by a warm fire.

These periods of rest — whether it’s a season or a rainy day — are important components of self-care, yet much of the time we only stop when we have to. In other parts of the country, snow storms and other extreme weather conditions force people indoors unexpectedly. At least out here, it’s more of a subtle nudge.

I simply decided to stop complaining about the weather. After all, complaining wouldn’t change the weather, would it? Instead, I’ve learned to schedule the things I love to do around the weather.

Yesterday, I enjoyed watching the bright orange flames dance inside our wood burner while listening to some records and preparing for the return of Monday. My brain and body needed a break from the prior week’s demands, and wrapping myself in an afghan by the fire seemed like the perfect way to recharge.

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