The internet abounds in winter survival posts, with strategies from the small (enjoy a new tea!) to the large (take a vacation somewhere warm!). I know, because I’ve read many of them. But the thing is – for me, anyway – surviving winter isn’t really a problem. I like winter. I could do without the dry skin and driveway ice, but beyond that, winter and I are good. I love a crisp, bright winter sunrise – the warmth of a pile of in-progress knitting in my lap – hiking a crunchy frozen trail – roasting a tray full of winter veg. And now that Nugget has gotten into skiing, snowy mountain days are back on the menu and I couldn’t be happier about that.
So winter survival isn’t really an issue. But spring survival – that’s a whole other thing. As Kelly Gordon (of the Love Well Blog and Sorta Awesome podcast) says, “Spring is my fourth favorite season.” I just don’t feel the raptures that Anne Shirley feels when contemplating the advent of flowering trees and meadows. Buds and blooms look like a giant sneeze-fest to me. No, thank you, I hate it. Wake me up when it’s paddleboarding season.
But like it or not, we all have a few months of spring to endure before summer dawns. So I made a list of survival strategies.
- Get ahead of spring allergies, and stay ahead. A few years ago, I replaced my Claritin with Allegra and found that it was a huge improvement for me (possibly I’d just used Claritin for so many years that my body got used to it and needed the shakeup, or maybe Allegra is just a better formula for me – either way, it was an upgrade). But I still have to be on top of allergies; I have to start the Allegra regimen before I think I need to, and I have to remember to take it every damn day until the oak trees are really and truly done pollinating. (Oak trees are my personal hell.) This year I’m considering doing one better and talking to my PCP about getting allergy shots. Maybe. Can’t hurt to ask her about it.
- Switch up my exercise routine. I like running outdoors (and I can’t run indoors right now anyway – I wore out the tread on my treadmill and it tore) but on high pollen days it’s just not going to be an option for me. So I’m planning to think ahead by compiling a queue of Barre3 online and Peloton classes I want to try on those days when the air quality is just too poor for me to go outdoors.
- Plan spring activities so that I have something to look forward to doing on the weekends. Another Mount Vernon day is in order; I love to ogle the baby animals and stroll through the riotous blooming flower gardens at the height of spring.
- Resume Saturday morning farmers’ market visits, and page through cookbooks to find new recipes to try with all those spring veg.
- Play around in my garden – in inexpensive and/or impermanent ways. I’ve mentioned on here before that as our current place is a rental, I don’t want to pour a lot of money into the garden or make permanent improvements. But nothing is stopping me from scattering a packet of inexpensive wildflower seed around the yard, or from stocking up on nice planters that I can take with me when we buy the forever house (hopefully next year).
- Read springy books! I do love reading seasonally – even in the spring – and I have a stack awaiting me for April already, including Green Shades, an anthology of garden writing collected by Elizabeth Jane Howard; The Morville Year; Illyrian Spring; Onward and Upward in the Garden; and Monty Don’s latest. I might revisit The Enchanted April, too, and pull out some Beverly Nichols if I have time. There’s nothing like a good book to revive the spirits.
- Spring clean on a theme. My house is pretty clean already, thanks to regular deep-cleansing sessions, but the garage needs help. Steve and I have our eye on a special project this spring: emptying the shelving that was already in place when we moved in (tossing the gummy paint cans and broken appliances) and repurposing it to store all of our outdoor gear in an organized fashion. I’m already looking forward to not rushing around looking for life jackets on the first kayaking morning of the season.
- Remind myself regularly – and as frequently as necessary – that this is just a season, I will breathe through my nose again, and my beloved summer is right around the corner.
What do you do to get through sneeze season?