Sisyphus by Titian

Sisyphus by Titian, and how I feel about this winter

Snow, snow, and more snow. I am about to head out to my nanny job and it is 8 degrees out, -16 with the wind. For the past week I have had a refrain running through my head, almost subconsciously: “I can’t handle this, it’s too much, it’s too much.” This winter is hitting me hard all of a sudden.

But while it’s true that I feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the winter and all it entails (see my last post, Boston in January), I want to be aware of that inner dialogue and take control of it. That *is* how I feel, but it’s not helpful to let it become my narrative. So I am trying, every time I notice myself thinking, “I can’t take it,” to replace it with a truth that strengthens rather than weakens.

“I am strong.” “I have made it through worse than this.” “I can’t handle the whole winter, but I can handle the work right in front of me today, and that is all I have to do right now.” Those are the inner truths that strengthen me, and what it’s helpful to focus on.

And, also, these: “We are closer to April than November.” “Sunset tonight is 5:01 pm,” (after two months of 4-something sunsets) “The average historical temperature in Boston is one degree warmer than it was two weeks ago.” “Spring is coming, it really is.” “Hang in there.”

Do you have “negative self-talk” swirling through your mind? What is it? What are some truths you can replace it with today?


5 comments on “Self-talk

  1. Meredith W. says:

    Thanks for these words; I needed the reminder. My husband is going to be having knee replacement surgery late spring/early summer, after which he will be laid up for a while. We are starting only now to talk about the details, but for some reason, he has yet to tell the rest of the family (besides our daughter). I will attempt to hang onto these thoughts to keep from getting myself into a “how am I going to handle this?” brain swirl.


    • Sorry to hear about your husband’s knee, Meredith. Yeah, it will be a challenge, but you can do hard things. One day at a time. I’m not doing great at switching the message in my own head, but doing yoga this evening helped me to feel stronger.


  2. Our thoughts are running on the same track (and our shovels)! Last week I wrote a post about the danger of negative self-talk, so I’ll share the link here in case you are interested:
    I’m teaching a class on Nehemiah, so I’m trying to do a post every week to connect with my class mid-week, and the idea of “rubble from chapter 4 keeps getting in my way as I move snow around, looking for a place to put it. (I have no business complaining as my sons and husband do most of the REAL snow removal.)


  3. I used to go to the “I can’t” place all the time. Now I just add the word “yet.” Might seem silly, but it works for me.


  4. taracope says:

    We’re strapped down paying off debt and I try to pay attention when I often simply say, “we’re broke.” Instead, I try to say, “we can’t afford that now, but someday we will.” Or tell my kids, rather than, “I can’t afford to buy you this,” (good for kids to hear sometimes) I try to say, “maybe we can save up for it, or talk about it later in the year after we pay off some bills.” I get stuck in the depressing/stressful mindset that “broke” is how it will always be. When I sit down with pen and paper, I see that in a year, it will be much, much better. I have to keep that “vision” in my mind rather than getting trapped in the falsity that we are just broke and that’s the way it is.


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