Happy Friday, and Happy Special Weather Statement day…again!
We are once again expecting quite the mass of snow here in the #HamOnt area, which is good news for all you winter sports types, but potentially bad news for anyone having to drive anywhere later today.
The snow just keeps piling up, and the citizens of Hamilton and the surrounding areas just keep having to deal with it.
The more snow that piles on us, the faster we seem to want to get rid of it, and by this time of year, a lot of us are SO fed up with shoveling and clearing snow, that we aren’t exactly safe about it. And what do we mean by safe? Well, most of us start the snow shoveling season with proper form and technique. No twisting, taking manageable amounts of snow on our shovels, taking it slow and steady…
Later in winter – aka NOW – we might be really, really tired of this, and we might try to speed things up. Shoveling too much heavy snow, going out there cold and frustrated, and just throwing caution – and safe shoveling technique – to the wind.
Where the first few snowfalls make us feel all warm and fuzzy and “hooray winter!” the mid-February, March, and it must be said even April snowfalls just start to get on our nerves.
So today, we’re providing a few guides to snow shoveling for anyone who might need a little reminder that it’s ok to be cranky while you’re shoveling, but since cranky often leads to “let’s get this over with as fast as possible” we’d rather you attempt your shoveling with a slightly better frame of mind. For your health, of course!
Preparation is Key:
Every year we hear about someone who was hurt or injured – or worse – shoveling snow. The stories are always tragic, and often preventable (but not 100% of course, stuff happens) and in order to make sure you’re going to be ok to hit the driveway with your shovel, try a few warm-up exercises to get the blood flowing, to get the joints and muscles loosened up. This video from Health.com offers a few exercises that can help you prepare. Snow shoveling is hard work, and it’s worth taking a few moments to warm up your body before heading out. The video also looks at shoveling technique, which is also really important. There’s no Olympic judge looking at your form and technique, and docking you points for flaws, but there is your back to think of, so technique is really key.
The Spruce also has a nice little guide with tips including dressing in layers – crucial so you don’t overheat – and the importance of taking breaks while shoveling. Music to our ears! Again, it’s that whole “get’er done” attitude that can really hurt us. Take the proper amount of time to do the job and it’s much, much safer.
You might not think of shoveling snow as the time for meditation, but why not? This guide from The New York Times talks about using shoveling time as mindful time, and it’s honestly a great idea. You’ve got that time, that solitary time that many of us crave, so put it to good use! If you have chatty neighbours or passers-by that you might want to block out, consider headphones with a guided meditation or calming music loaded on your phone or iPod to help you focus. There’s a good chance the time will melt away…much like the snow…and, you’ll be finished before you know it. Like with any kind of meditation, the goal is to not focus too much on the problems at hand (in this case all that snow) but to help the mind to be quieter and more at peace, and what could be more peaceful than a thick layer of snow?
Recover and Reward:
Snow shoveling is hard work, and once you’re done, as with any exercise, you are going to want to recover and recharge. If there’s time, a nice hot shower would be perfect to warm you up after all that time in the cold and to soothe those aching muscles. A warm beverage of your choice might also suffice if there’s no time for a shower. It’s always best, if possible, to get out of your shoveling clothes and into something fresh and dry. No matter how hard you try to keep your cuffs dry, there’s a good chance some snow will sneak its way onto you, and the resulting damp, snowy pants can be annoying and uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with a little bribery! If you decide to promise yourself you’ll order in dinner after spending hours shoveling, so be it! Maybe your reward is an evening out, a bottle of wine, a few hours of Netflix. Whatever works for you, make sure you spend time rewarding yourself for a job well done!
Now as we watch the snow come down this morning, maybe we can see it less as an enemy, something that needs to be cleared away as quickly as possible, and look at it more as an opportunity to take some time for ourselves, to be in nature, to enjoy the possibility of some mindfulness. And, if you have any tips for shoveling, please pass them along in the comments!
Have a great weekend everyone – stay safe! Chat with you again on Tuesday.