I don’t know about you, but I struggle to keep my spirits up in November. The cold, damp, dreary weather reflects my foul mood. I am surrounded by germs a go-go at the school where I teach. The bacterial infection that I seem to breed within my bone marrow attacks every November leaving my body inflamed with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, tight chest, achy joints and pounding head.
From my attic window, my bird’s eye view of the countryside reminds me to celebrate each season. In the foreground, spindly naked, tree branches bend low in the north wind. Barren fields line the auburn earth, and white caps dotting silver-colored Lake Geneva send chills down my spine. In the distance, the snow-patched Alps loom like a figment of my imagination. Layers of billowy clouds in various shades of grey roll overhead like waves on a churning sea.
With gratitude on my lips, I focus on the positive to help endure the November blues.
- Birthdays. My beloved son was born 23 years ago. My treasured niece also shares a November birthday.
- Basketball. Hoop season begins! I can follow my favorite teams again.
- Harvest. Though I would have trouble growing dandelions, I grew up in a farm rich community and now live beside vineyards, orchards and fields. Every year, I marvel at the harvest and admire the men and women who work the fields to fill our tables.
- Thanksgiving. A table laden with turkey and all its trimmings is always a reminder to be grateful for family, friends, and mother nature’s bounty
- Walk. I lean into the wind on my way to school feeling blessed for the ability to move my limbs. Each step I take I remember to be grateful to have a job.
- Family. My husband lovingly shows his support by creating a program to keep track of my schedule when I start a regime of antibiotics and anti-viral again.
- Voices. Once so rare due to cost, long distance phone calls, now offer a lifesaving link. Occasionally, old friends surprise me, my sisters ring regularly, my Big Kids Skype-in and as reliable as a church service, my parents call every Sunday. Support seeps through the lines in the voices that sustain me.
- People. The best way to avoid a self-pity party is to focus on someone else. I help edit my senior student’s essay, reassure a distraught parent via email, and mail a sympathy card to a friend to acknowledge the pain of her loss.
When your health falters, bad weather hits and the sad, dark days of late autumn bring you down – go for a walk, reach out, connect, engage, and share gratitude.
What keeps you going in November?