Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winter Advice

Double dose of snowmageddon and snowpocalypse got you down? Or is it the snowacane? Or maybe it's just AccuWeather trying to scare the bejeebes out of us all! Whatever, I'm pretty sick of it. I'm not sick of winter or even snow, I'm sick of one doomsday snowstorm report after another. There's an old saying, "We'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not."
I mean, yeah, there's snow and, yeah, it's deep, but compared to the REAL catastrophes that have taken place recently (like earthquakes, for instance), we're pretty fortunate.

Since it is winter here in the Northern Hemisphere (Pennsylvania) and every winter we people of the more northern latitudes do have things like cold, snow, ice, wind, etc., the best thing to do is accept that fact graciously and take responsibility for maintaining your own happiness.

There are several things that I know of that are very effective in dealing with cabin fever and the winter blues:

Get as much daylight as you can, especially in the morning. This is known to regulate your body's production of chemicals and hormones that contribute to a positive state of mind, as well as helping you sleep well at night. Even if it's overcast outside, the light is still going to help you. Also, I think that feeling trapped inside your house gives you a feeling of powerlessness, which is sucky. Take back the outdoors and tell the weather report to stick it where the sun don't shine (Ha ha! That was a good one).

Exercise. You've heard it a thousand times before, I'm sure, and it's still true! It really does work, even if it's just a little exercise.

Listen to music that grabs you by the butt and makes you move. You know best what music you like. I'd say that the middle of winter (as in NOW) is the perfect time to invest in a few new CD's or downloads. It's waaay cheaper than antidepressants and doesn't have the nasty side effects.

Eat clean. Too much sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup, also known as "evil itself"), refined carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients will make your body sad and confused. Come on, the holidays are over and it's time to clean up your system. Drink lots of clean water and green tea, and eat whole foods that nourish you.

Minimize your exposure to outrageous weather reports. It's good to know what's going on (if you're planning to drive somewhere and a snowstorm is on its way, for instance), but dwelling on doomsday scenarios and the kind of emotionally charged language that weather and news reporters are now using is just contributing to people's anxiety, sadness and a feeling of helplessness. Don't fall for it!

Don't forget that you really are the one who's in charge of how you feel and how you experience each day. Take good care of yourself!


  1. Hey Julie,

    I feel Sooo fortunate to live in sunny Florida this time of year! But I was wondering; what do you think of those natural daylight lamps for those extra gray days? Have you ever tried them around the house? I just remember those episodes of "Northern Exposure" where everyone was wearing a lighted visor during the Winter months.I was thinking of something like that for a housebound family member in Ohio (though luckily the house has lots of big windows)!

    Yep, I've got to stop looking at those crazy weather headlines. "Snow hurricane"? I think what they were really predicting was a good ol' fashioned Nor-easter. Ay-yup! The backyard looks beautiful, BTW. All that snow would be perfect for building a snow Chewbacca! ;-)

  2. Jen--A snow Chewbacca is such a great idea!

    By the way, thanks for warning us that a storm was on its way. The problem with the weather headlines is that they make it impossible to know when to take it seriously. I realize they can't REALLY predict the weather, but they don't need to go that extra mile in pumping up the rhetoric to such extremes!

    As for the natural daylight lamps, I've never tried them, but I would think they'd be helpful. I'm sure your friend in Ohio would benefit from it and appreciate that you're thinking of them!

  3. My sister and I built a life sized snow Chewbacca during the Great Blizzard of '77. Good times, and a really good workout to boot!

    I can't vouch for this tune's butt grabbing properties, but it's peppy and it does answer the burning question "why did Captain Kirk climb the mountain"?


  4. A nice article-- and some good reminders to get out and about even when it's cold! Winter has been very dry this year here in Salt Lake City, but I have still realized that I should invest in a few more warm clothes if I want to be outside much in the winter. It's almost worse when you see the sun shining and rush outside thinking "Hooray"-- only to come back in shivering a few minutes later. However a simple increase in planning and larger stock of thermal underwear should fix the problem. :) (I'm officially a Southerner which is why I've had to learn the hard way that "it's really not as warm outside as it might appear.") Of course, judging by your photos, the Northeast does not have that particular problem... it certainly looks cold enough!

  5. A.L.--I do know what you mean. I grew up in Beaumont, Texas as well as the Atlanta, Georgia area and, although I've really come to love the four seasons we get up here, I can't say it comes naturally to me. Yay for thermal underwear!

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