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Friday, October 24, 2014

It's getting cold and gloomy: prepare your survival kit!

After some wonderful fall weather, we have been experiencing cold, damp (or plain wet) weather. Everyone had to resign themselves to turn on the heat in the house. The leaves are putting an end to their colorful show. It's dark when we wake up. It's dark right after supper. And it won't get any better.

How to fight back? Especially when - depressing - memories of last year's winter creep in and arouse PTSD-like symptoms? Here are some possible strategies to make the most of the next six months.

Keep going outside. It can be intimidating, the cold, the dark, the windy, the damp. Still get out there. Spending some time under the fall-winter-spring sun can do wonders. If you stay long enough, maybe you will notice the unique beauties of the cold season: the last days of the fall, the birds that stay all year-round, the white powder that covers everything, the silence.

Try a winter sport: skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, hockey, or simply playing in the snow. The idea is 1) to replenish your vitamin D - notably to prevent seasonal depression - you might even want to invest in light therapy; 2) to find ways to enjoy that unforgiving season.

Practice summer sports... indoors: swimming, tennis, badminton, basketball, soccer, etc. Work out in the gym. Sweat! It will make you forget how cold it actually is out there.

Walk and run. If you've been brisk walking or running regularly... keep at it. If you haven't, why not start now? Keeping fit and breathing some fresh air is sure to keep bad moods at bay.

Sleep. You might want to sleep more than you do in the summer. Human beings might need to "part time hibernate".

Engage in a creative activity such as drawing, painting, writing, making music, taking pictures (all photos on this post were taken after the last leaf has fallen and before the first tulip has appeared).

Indulge in cold weather pleasures such as bubble baths, warming up by a fireplace, wearing sweaters and scarfs or fleece PJs and slippers, reading tons of books, eating soup or fondue. Fuel up with good stuff, like lots of fruit and vegetables. Speaking of which: cook or bake. Have hot chocolate, chai tea, mulled wine, hot cider, eggnog and what not.

Do all the things you don't do during summer because it's ''Too darn beautiful outside'': visit museums and libraries and movie theaters and restaurants and cafes.

Feel grateful that you don't need to cover up in sunscreen or bug spray, mow the lawn, garden.

Travel: if your time and money allow for it, go down south for a welcome break from the dreadful weather.

Any other strategies to suggest?


  1. you are dragging me and likely yourself down, complaining about this unremarkable weather. We all need to be contented whit what we have, and cannot change. I chose only to look at the positives, no bugs, no grass to cut, etc.

    1. Am I complaining?

      I gather you have never suffered from seasonal depression. Lucky you. :-)

    2. I guess FredT did not read past your introductory paragraph! The rest looks like solutions to blah weather to me... not like a complaint!

  2. Spring and Summer goes in the blink of an eye ....and now Autumn and Winter are knocking on the door. Perhaps in certain places Autumn has gone. I just love the colours of Autumn.

    Of course if you are in the Southern Hemisphere you may look at things differently.

    Wherever you are make the most of your surroundings and give your loved ones a big hug.

    Have a great weekend

    All the best Jan

    1. There are almost no leaves left in the trees where I am. I hope you are making the most of your Autumn, Jan! I am pretty sure you are. :-)

  3. I practice part-time hibernation. Our winters here aren't too cold, but they are pretty dark and it rains all the time. I find myself needing 1-2 hrs more sleep each night. When we lived in Alaska (with 3 hrs daylight at the solstice), it was even worse: 12 hrs sleep plus a 5pm nap.

    We really should just hibernate for real, like the bears do.

    1. You just confirmed what I thought! Hibernation might be the answer indeed! Thank you Karen.

  4. So far we are still enjoying unseasonably warm weather and I'm enjoying every minute of it. After the time change next weekend we will be eating dinner in the dark again.
    I know that I tend to do better in the winter if I stay busy otherwise I end up in a major funk!

    1. I guess a good balance between keeping busy and hibernating part-time is the recipe! Thank you Kim!

  5. These are great and practical suggestions Julie!

    I may live in the sunshine state now, but it was not always that way. Fortunately, I didn't know there was anywhere else, lol! I did have enough good sense to do many of the same things you recommend and they worked! Necessity is the great motivator :-)

    All y'all come down my way anytime!

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