Small-but-Mighty Lifesavers for Winter Months
In her book Leaving Church, Barbara Brown Taylor writes about being asked: Tell us what’s saving your life right now.
What’s saving your life—because we all know immediately what’s killing us, right? And everyone has a mental list of what’s driving them bananas.
(Last week we even asked our kids to list everything that was driving THEM bananas, and then we had a family meeting to try to solve as many of their problems as we could. I can assure you, EVERY ONE OF THEM HAD A LIST.)
So yes, I know what’s draining me. But what’s saving my life? That takes a little more thought. Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy revisits the question every so often, and today I thought I’d follow her lead.
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When I sat down to think about it, I came up with a handful of small-but-mighty things that are bringing me life. Which at this moment means bringing me WARMTH.
New Rules for Winter Clothes
For some reason I’ve always thought I wasn’t supposed to need cold-weather things, because there isn’t really cold weather where I live. So I shopped according to the weather report, instead of according to my own internal thermostat. THIS IS ACTUAL NONSENSE.
If I’m cold, I’m cold, and I might as well wear a puffer jacket. This has been a revelation to me. (I wasn’t kidding about the warmth = life thing.)
For example? I picked up a pair of these fleece-lined tights for a winter trip, and now I never want to take them off. I’ve been wearing them under everything—they even work under skinny jeans.
Three Cheers for Warm Toes
At home, these wooly slippers have been keeping my feet warm, and you know what? When I’m warm, I get more done in a day, and I’m happier doing it. I’m more likely to want to do things if I’m not looking for a blanket to wrap myself up in all the time. Go figure.
When I have to leave the house (which I try to do basically never), these Nordic boots have been my outdoor-wooly-slipper-equivalent. And as a bonus, they go with everything! (No, they really don’t, but if I PRETEND they do, who’s going to question me?)
All the Tea
You knew I was going to get to tea at some point, didn’t you? You did.
I can do pretty much anything once there’s a cup of tea in my hand: kick-start the morning, or sit down to write, or settle in at the end of the night, or sit across a table from a friend and have an actual conversation.
Lately I’ve been alternating between this white peony loose-leaf tea, and this antioxidant green tea.
When I want zero caffeine, I’ve been reaching for this three-mint blend—though I think it’s really time to pick up more ginger-turmeric tea for extra warming action.
P.S. on tea, because I get this question all the time: To brew loose-leaf, I have a bunch of these—I put the strainer over the teacup, add leaves to the strainer, pour boiling water over, and then steep until I’m ready to drink.
My strainers are almost ready to replace, though, and I’m thinking this kind would be prettier and more functional. Pretty sure it comes with a plate to hold the strainer after you take it out of your cup.
Something to Read
Books are life packed in between covers. There is no point in arguing with me on this, it’s just true. Currently on my nightstand: Dani Shapiro’s Inheritance, and Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits.
(Fun fact: I gave Dane High Performance Habits AS A GIFT and am now trying to borrow it. And by “borrow” we mean “steal.” Luckily he is really good at sharing.)
When I need something for my hands to do while my mind wanders, I think: puzzles.
This one (We Go High!) and this one (Jane Austen!) are making me happy right now.
Wisdom On Air (Yes, That Means Podcasts)
I listen to podcasts all the time, and lately I’ve been replaying interviews with my favorite people to fill me back up, because wisdom does not get old. On repeat in my ears right now:
- Liz Gilbert on the Robcast, parts one and two. (Quote I wrote down in the middle of part one: “Everyone is a mystic on some level.”)
- Brené Brown on How to Human with Sam Lamott.
- Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach on On Being. (The definition of courage in this one is GOOD.)
- Martha Beck on anything—Don’t Keep Your Day Job, and Why Not Now, and on the Beautiful Writers podcast (twice! once with Glennon, and once solo).
What’s saving your life?
“Saving your life” is such a big phrase that I almost feel like it needs a bigger answer than books and puzzles and words and warmth. (You know, like: friends who text me through hard decisions, a husband who leaves me handwritten notes for no reason and all the reasons, healthy boundaries, saying no, kids who light up the world with their curiosity and willingness to sing Wicked The Musical at full volume in the car, etc., etc.)
Almost. But only almost.
Because there’s life in the little things, too, and it’s worth noticing where you’re finding joy, no matter how big or small. And anyway, the little things aren’t really little.
A revelation about shoes could be about the shoes, choosing a podcast could be about choosing a podcast—or it could be about giving yourself permission to need what you need. And that is no small thing.
Grab onto the small-but-mighty lifesavers when you see them. Let them fill you back up. That life is meant for you, in the big things and in the small ones.