Love in the Mountains: Battling that mid-season feeling of isolation
February 6, 2018
It's the first week of February and it's safe to say we're half way through the ski season. You survived the holiday rush and the new years bang. Things have likely quieted down these past few weeks before the next Presidents Day onslaught of guests and tourists.
With a calmer work schedule comes a realization common to this time of year. With a pause you might wonder, "When did I last talk to my best friend? Let alone see them — and have I even gone on a date with my partner in 2018?"
The midseason isolation has struck and you may notice a depressing feeling begin to sink in. Maybe you shrug it off as typical of this time of year, thinking it's just a bit of the winter blues. A friend of mine, who is a longtime local, told me, "It's just that time of year when you realize you won't see some people until April."
Refuse to surrender
“This biggest mistake you could make is to neglect your relationships just because life gets busy.”
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Without the usual Monday through Friday, 9-5, routines common in the city, your work schedule likely differs from each of your friends and loved ones. Matching up time to connect becomes a significant battle. Feelings of rejection strike a chord as you experience texts and calls not being returned. Weeks may pass by without hearing from close friends while you and your partner become more like ships passing in the night.
For someone who prioritizes connection and face-to-face time, I don't handle disconnection like this well. It's one of the hardest aspects of living in the Vail Valley that I personally struggle with. I struggle because I know how important nurturing relationships is to our overall well-being.
So, I refuse to surrender to the midseason isolation or accept that I won't see people I care about until spring. I'd rather work harder and be more creative in finding ways to connect.
When the season drags on your schedule, you don't need to succumb to feeling rejected or depressed.
Begin to reach out by sending texts that let a few key people know you miss them. I then suggest getting all old fashioned and actually make a call to catch up. Go the extra mile to make a statement that connecting is really important to you.
Then work to schedule regular time to be face-to-face. Midweek breakfasts are a gold mine of an idea. Yes, you may need to get up earlier, but when you're chatting with a friend or your partner before you head to work, it is so worth it. Another favorite is meeting up at the dog park. Our pups can run while we walk and talk.
This biggest mistake you could make is to neglect your relationships just because life gets busy.
Make it a priority because we just can't predict when we'll need to lean on these important people.
Only showing up when you need someone isn't reliable and it's hurtful.
If you realize you've gone MIA, then simply own it. We've all been there and likely your closest people will understand. But you do need to own it — you can't just ignore it.
Then commit to doing something different. Be more available, stay in contact and try being the one to reach out to make plans.
Jessica Heaney is a licensed clinical social worker who knows the relationship struggles of living in the Vail Valley. If you're a Vail Resorts employee, then your EAP benefits give you and your partner six sessions with Heaney. For more information, visit http://www.jessicaheaney.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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