February is a short but brutal month, at least for those of us not in tropical climes. My first realization that February packed a depressing punch was my freshman year in college when my first boyfriend broke up with me in February, coloring my mood for pretty much the rest of the month. In a school context, when February rolls around, the rest that was winter break is gone; the excitement and anticipation of a new semester has faded; the weather fluctuates between cold and gray and more cold and less gray; and spring break seems eons away. It’s tough.
I write this as I’ve watched it rain the last few days and I’m staring at bare branches against a patchy, gray, cloudy sky. We try to provide respite from the drear by providing fun activities for the students and some breaks for the adults. Last year, we took everyone to see Hidden Figures. We had the great fortune of being part of Super Bowl celebrations and so there were treats in the dining hall. We have an inservice coming up where the committee has planned some engaging and light-hearted activities. And there will likely be a few more before we’re done.
I tend to lean into the ick and let myself just mope a little. There’s a little more couch time than usual. I take baths. I engage in more distracting activities like binge-watching Netflix. I find these take my mind off the often bleak atmosphere outside enough to be able to engage fully with work and not feel like I’m just slogging through. I also take moments to recognize joy when it happens. I will celebrate small things that go well during the day. And I try my best to spend time with people, going out with friends, or spending time with my family. And, I look forward to what’s coming, constantly reminding myself that in just a few short weeks, the weather will start to clear and we’ll get a break from school and work and soon after, summer will truly be just around the corner.
How do you get through February?