Stay Warm

Stay Warm

Stay Warm

Most of my interactions with both friends and strangers this week here in the frozen Upper Midwest have ended with the same two words. Whether checking out at the grocery store or coffee shop, talking on the phone, or exchanging emails, the most commonly shared words of the week have been, "Stay warm."  For fun, I started counting how many times I have either said or heard these words, and as I write this it's been eleven times already just today, and it's only mid-afternoon.  Given that the temperature the past few days has reached 25 below zero here several days in a row, exchanging a reminder to "Stay warm" seems only appropriate. 

For the record, I really don't like bitter cold weather. I get really cranky when it's too cold to spend time outside. I get cranky when I have to constantly shovel and spread salt on our sidewalk. I get cranky when my furnace acts up, as it has this week. I get cranky when the fitness center we belong to is closed for most of the week (it is connected to our local high school and closes when school is canceled, as it has been the last three days). I get cranky when meetings get canceled due to cold or snow, and when the mail is cancelled, too. And, yes, I understand that's a lot of crankiness!

So in the midst of my episodes of crankiness this week, I suddenly realized I was receiving a regular message throughout the day of how to manage my moodiness. This message was hidden in plain sight, but when I realized it, it truly made a difference.  It happened a few days ago when someone once again uttered the words, "Stay warm" to me. For some reason, this time I heard those words in a whole new way. Rather than hearing them as reminding me to make good choices related to my physical well-being, I instead started hearing the words, "Stay warm" as a reminder for me to make good choices related to my emotional well-being.  

I have learned that staying warm emotionally is the perfect antidote for crankiness. I realized that just because its cold and stormy outside doesn't mean I have to be cold and stormy inside. Not that I don't still suffer short bouts of crankiness, but the very fact that I have set the intention to try and "Stay warm" is making a big difference. 

I am grateful that the forecast in our area for the next few days is for much warmer weather.  And while I may not be grateful for the extreme cold we have recently endured, I am thankful for the simple two-word lesson that so many people shared with me this week. 

You have probably already anticipated how this column is going to end..... "Stay warm" everyone.

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