Barbara Fish Counselling Services ... helping your life work

The Winter of Our Discontent

Helping Your Life Work

Volume 10, Issue 3

March 2014

The most frequent topic of conversation this past winter has been, in fact, about the winter. We spoke with disbelief about record-breaking, bitterly cold temperatures. We regaled each other with tales of surviving one of Toronto’s worst ice storms, leaving hundreds of thousands of us without power in our homes and thousands of us abandoned in airline terminals for days on end. We whined about how we had to brave icy winds, roads and sidewalks whenever we ventured out. We carped about the endless series of dark, grey, cold days. And we grumbled about how early the winter started and how long it continues to linger.

One of the things that we may not have shared with others, however, is how sad or lonely we may have felt during this winter. Outside of work, many of us may have chosen not to stray too far from home, feeling warmer and safer within its confines. Waking in the dark and coming home in the dark, it may have taken all of our energy to push ourselves out the door to see people at the end of the day.

For those of us who live with families or friends, this might not have felt so bad. Provided that we get along with those we live with, we likely benefited from the readily available companionship. But for those who don’t get along with family members or roommates, who live alone, or who are amongst the large number of unemployed or underemployed, the lack of human companionship may have taken its toll. Television, video games, books, music may have offered some distraction, amusement and companionship, but feelings of boredom, isolation and sadness might have felt great.

Now after five long months of hibernation, it is time to leave the nest. But lack of motivation and an ennui that set in over the winter months may be harder to shake off than we anticipated. We may have formed a habit of doing nothing and seeing no one that is hard to break despite the fact that rationally, we know it’s good for us and that spring will eventually arrive.

So let’s consider some gradual transitions back to the land of the living. If we know and care more about reality TV contestants than about our own family and friends, then we know it’s time to reconnect with them. Let’s make it a point to phone, email or text to make a date with at least one person that we would like to see this week. If we haven’t gone for a walk, a run or a bike ride all winter, let’s join a walking, running or biking group. If our friends don’t share our same interests, let’s check out the many meet-up groups that exist in our neighbourhoods and meet some new people while enjoying the hobbies or pastimes we enjoy doing. Let’s find out what’s going on in our communities and choose to participate.

And if you’d like to talk about managing this transition, please give me a call.

Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”

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For more information, or to book an appointment at her Toronto office,
please contact Barbara by telephone at 416-498-1352 or by email at