Editor’s Desk: Why it’s so easy to fall into the mode of winter hibernation

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
I think most people would agree that even though life doesn’t stop during the colder months, it’s harder to get going.
Camera IconI think most people would agree that even though life doesn’t stop during the colder months, it’s harder to get going. Credit: Unknown/Getty Images

Last opinion piece I wrote — about my anger over the Roe v Wade abortion rights decision in the US — made one reader so irate he wrote in to say my op-ed “endangered the existence of our local paper”.

Agree to disagree on that point. But I don’t think this piece will be quite so divisive and controversial. In fact, I think it’s an opinion most people would agree with.

We are now in the middle of winter. And although the sun is still making an appearance to warm up the days, the mornings and nights are definitely getting chillier — which brings me to the topic of winter hibernation.

Of course, physiologically we’re not like the bears and bats who go into actual hibernation in the colder months, but sometimes it feels that way.

You’d give anything just to remain under the doona as you hit the snooze button on your alarm for the umpteenth time (the sure sign it’s getting cold — besides the tip of my nose feeling icy before I get out of bed — is if my dog has found his way under the covers or up against me for body warmth as he’s usually more than happy down the end of the bed). Getting yourself going takes more effort, it feels like you’re in go-slow mode which even multiple cups of coffee can’t override. You can’t warm up your hands and feet. The idea of going out in the cold or rain at night feels like a form of punishment, rather than entertainment (unless it involves a quiet catch-up by a fire with some mulled wine).

In Geraldton we are lucky that we don’t have to deal with sub-zero temperatures, but when you’re used to temperatures in the 20s, anything below 10C gets into your bones.

It’s not just to do with getting older. I know many people of all ages much prefer to stay at home during winter. It’s our own form of hibernation. A night in, under the blankets, watching the latest on TV, with a bowl of pasta and some wine. Or if it’s raining outside on the weekend curling up with a good book is bliss.

In summer that’s being called a hermit. In winter, it’s allowed.

Some people are chasing the sun on holidays during winter (and presently it seems those sunseekers are spending most of their time off stuck in an airport) but I love the “lazy” aspect of winter. But when you have to step outside, at least it’s an excuse to bring out your fashionable winter coat and scarves.

So whether you’re a summer person or a winter person, I think most people would agree that even though life doesn’t stop during the colder months, it’s harder to get going. Getting up and walking out the door, to make it to work or to that social function at night, is half the battle. As Adele would say “go easy on me.”

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