Hey, Cold Weather Haters, I Can Convert You

winterIt's undeniable: Winter is on the way. New York had snow earlier this week, temps in the Midwest went down to the 20s at night over the weekend, and it's been pretty chilly overall.

Some of us love this, dragging out the fleece and blankets and enjoying the crisp, cold air. Others are, to put it mildly, a bit less than thrilled with this change of seasons. But like it or not, it's happening, and in many places, it's sticking around until next April at least. So the worst thing you can do is whine about it; instead, learn to deal with the downsides of winter and enjoy everything the season has to offer.

Lifehacker wrote about this recently and had some good advice, which boils down to:

  • Replace the natural light you lose in the winter with light therapy of some sort. It sounds weird if you don't mind winter, but if you really suffer from getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark every day, a little bit of simulated sunlight can be just the thing. Getting outside as much as you can makes a huge difference, too.
  • Maintain your social life: If you live in a cold climate, everyone turns into a hermit after the holidays. During the other three seasons, there are plenty of opportunities for casual contact: chatting with neighbors out working in their yards, running into friends at soccer, or a weekly date with your golf buddies, maybe. Once the whirl of the holidays is over, it's a lot harder to connect with people. Setting up a regular way to meet up with your friends helps get you out of your little cave, and they are probably as eager to get out and be around people as you are. Something as simple as a frequent potluck or regular pizza night can do a lot to ease feelings of isolation.
  • Evaluate what winter does to you: Figure out what bothers you the most, and come up with a plan to handle it before the real deep freeze sets in. It's not a bad idea to take fish oil and a vitamin to replace some of the nutrients you lose from having access to less fresh produce in the winter as well as looking after your emotional health.

I take my cue from people who live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where it's nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding: Embracing the awesome parts of winter is the best way to cope. Invest in some cute winter workout gear and try a new winter sport. Ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are all fairly inexpensive to try (look for rentals at local parks). You can actually work up a nice sweat without giving yourself heatstroke, and give yourself a really nice workout while taking in some beautiful winter scenery. If you're really thrill-seeking, you can try a polar bear dip in a frozen lake to raise money for charity.

What's your favorite winter activity?


Image via zoutedrop/Flickr

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