I don’t know about you, but winter is my least favorite season. It always has been, and it probably always will be. I hate the cold, well, the cold winds. Snow and ice don’t help either. This combination sends my productivity out the window.
In high school, I started to develop an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My body started attacking its own healthy cells in my thyroid, and that caused my thyroid to stop doing its job of controlling my metabolism.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s include fatigue, weight gain, and *increased sensitivity to the cold.* That is probably the main reason why the winter sucks the life (and productivity) out of me.
Productivity as a Musician
Since I currently work full time, I have to work my music stuff around a day job. That means that I don’t have much time to practice anyway. Throw in a super cold bedroom and the fact that it gets dark before I even leave work, and you have a recipe for disaster.
I do practice before work, but cold mornings have made it hard to do so for longer than half an hour. Thirty minutes may seem long for some, but since I’m about to start my masters, I need to practice for more than 30 minutes a day!
One way I try to stay productive throughout the year is to follow my own body. If I’m feeling tired, then I won’t practice. My best times to practice are usually right after waking up and shortly after eating.
Sleep gives me energy, and food gives me energy. So it makes sense that I would be most productive when I have more energy.
Practicing in the Cold?
My bedroom gets super cold during the winter, and sometimes I don’t want to deal with that cold just to practice. Not only am I cold, but so is my flute!
Whenever I need to just practice, I try to have a plan of action. What am I practicing, and for how long? If it’s really cold, I’ll make it a shorter practice session. Usually, the room will warm up before the session is over, and I can practice more.
Playing your instrument in the cold is never fun. Any musician knows that tuning is a lost cause in extreme temperatures. If I have to practice and my flute is cold, I will blow warm air through it to warm it up. Doing so warms my flute so that it will stay in tune. Oddly enough, it warms me up, too.
Unless you live in Southern California or in Florida, you might need to adjust your practicing to suit colder weather. If you love the cold, you might be able to keep your same practice routine.
For people like me who don’t do well in the winter, you have to listen to your body. There will be times when you have extra energy, and you can practice more. Then there will be times where you will feel tired, so practicing won’t always be the best thing.
If you’re in school, you might have condense your practice sessions. Early mornings and late nights in a practice room sound fine, but what about getting there. You’ll have to walk in the cold before or after, and you have to decide if that’s worth it.
Instead, you can spend those hours in your room working on other things. Score study and homework are also important parts of being a music major. You can find ways to practice without your instrument.
How Hypothyroidism Affects Me
While my condition is under control, the cold does bring out some of my worst symptoms. Lately, I’ve been as tired as I was before I even started my thyroid medication. My hands have been cold, and my toes are frigid. Even my nose gets cold.
These symptoms make it hard for me to practice as much as I’d like. I’m not asking for your sympathy, but I want to share my experience with anyone else who gets really stinkin’ cold.
Whether you have hypothyroidism or not, the cold is definitely a drastic change. In a matter of weeks, you can go from wearing shorts and a tee shirt to needing three layers just to leave the house.
The cold sucks. I know many people love winter, but shorter days and more layers just don’t sit well with me. My productivity just isn’t the same during the winter. I decided to create a worksheet you can use to figure out how you work best in the winter. Subscribe below to get access!