Ways to make winter better

I get hit pretty hard by the winter blues. The desaturated bleakness of the snow-laden landscape triggers an almost-physical reaction in me. While I may not be able to get rid of winter entirely (or escape to the Philippines as soon as the first snow falls), there are probably lots of little ways I can make winter a bit more bearable or even fun.

Here’s what makes winter better for me so far:

  • W-, who makes awesome home-made chicken noodle soup for when I’m dealing with a sore throat, and whose occasional cravings for baked goods results in the creation of yummy yummy muffins
  • The two cats, whose antics keep us laughing – who needs a TV?
  • The ability to do my work from home, particularly appreciated when the weather turns downright flurrisome
  • Two winter hats from Tilley’s, with convenient ear-flaps
  • Two pairs of winter boots
  • Enough pairs of tights to keep me warm
  • A fuzzy bathrobe
  • Fuzzy pajamas
  • Sock slippers and fuzzy socks
  • A microwaveable neck wrap filled with buckwheat
  • Scarves that add a little color to my day
  • Funny cat pictures as my screensaver
  • Giving myself permission to feel wintery instead of expecting the entire year to feel like summer
  • Tons of books from the library
  • Lots of green tea at home
  • A box of tea in my cabinet at work, plus hot chocolate mix for emergencies
  • A radiator in the basement
  • Large batches of comfort foods such as chili or curry

What could make this even better? Let me see if I can come up with any ideas…

  • More colors: I can put our favorite pictures on my iPod Touch and flip through them when the dreary landscape’s getting me down
  • More awesome music: Listening to the thrilling swells of opera makes it easier to get through the commute
  • An electric blanket or neck wrap, lighter than my microwaveable neck wrap and consistently warm instead of cooling off after five minutes or so
  • More winter hats; maybe a red one
  • Maybe a red coat! (You can tell I grew up chasing Carmen Sandiego)
  • Crafts: sewing might be good, although trying to fit items and fix seams is not fun when it’s cold. Maybe a home-made dress model will make things so much easier and more fun.
  • Monthly massages

While chatting with W- over the freshly-baked muffins he made, I realized that there isn’t really a lot I can buy in order to make winter life more awesome. Instead of buying another hat or another coat when I’ve got perfectly serviceable ones, I’d rather spend on extra ingredients and experiment with baking.

And who knows, I may even end up dusting off that book and working on it again… =)

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  • Raymond Zeitler

    Try to exercise for at least 15 minutes each day. Do you live near that big mall? You could join a mall-walking club. There are some neat exercises you can do at home with a fitness ball. Make sweat, not excuses!

    You might also look into taking vitamin D3 supplements.

    Good luck!

  • Paul Bernard

    I go to a garden centre with lots of plants or a green house. Lots of sunlight is good but it’s really the plants and the warmth that are important. Artificial light is ok as long as there are lots of plants.

    I find a visit doesn’t have to be all that long and can hold me for days.

    – paul

  • Scott

    Book please!

  • Mom

    Go for the red coat! and charge it to me (I mean, I will reimburse you). Colors cheer you up and there is only so much cookies that you can bake and eat without feeling remorseful.

    Do you still have that sun-mobile I sent you? Would you like to hang it?

    Just adding a couple of things that might help.


  • mom

    I also heard that there’s a special lamp that simulates the rays of the sun, so you can get Vitamin D even in the winter. Please inquire about that. Winter blues are not just emotional, they’re physical manifestations of lack of Vitamin D.

  • Take up winter sports! If you have hi-quality clothing (like polypro or SmartWool long underwear, tops and bottoms, glove liners, a good, lightweight, breathable shell, etc.), it’s a JOY to be outside in the winter! Find a friend who REALLY knows outdoor clothing (hint: they probably do crosscountry/backcountry skiing…) and pick their brains.

    I’m a fan of backcountry skiing, winter hiking/camping, ice skating and (by necessity…) snow shoveling…

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