How to Survive Winter When You Hate It

winter

Hi. My name is Karri and I am a Wisconsin native who loathes cold weather. No, wait. That’s not strong enough. I really, really hate winter. Like, hate it to the core. I hate the way the grey skies make me feel blah. I hate the freezing wind that numbs my face. I hate the black piles of snirt* that crust and pile up curbside. And I really hate that I live in a state of perpetual dread from October through April.

*Yes – that is a thing. It’s that dirty snow that hangs around from Dec-April.

Over the past few years, I won’t ever say that winter and I have started a love affair, but I will admit that I’ve found some things that help me cope with and survive the season.

Five Steps to Surviving Winter When You Loathe It

Light Therapy

I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Typically, symptoms start in the fall and continue until spring, sapping all of my energy and making me incredibly moody. Enter light therapy. A light therapy box mimics natural outdoor light and is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. I have been using one going on 4 years now (in the morning, while I enjoy my coffee and read the paper) and I can attest that (although my husband still makes fun of me), it makes a huge difference.

Essential Oils

Aromatherapy can also help with winter blues. I like to diffuse oils as well as blend them with a carrier oil and roll them onto my wrists. A simple google search will yield many different options out there. Personally, I’ve found that for diffusing, I like a blend of frankincense (to reduce negative emotions), lavender (to help relieve stress), and orange (is uplifting).  For a rollerball blend, I prefer one that focuses on energy, so I use a blend of eucalyptus, rosemary and grapefruit (all are energizing and uplifting).

Stay active

Seems simple enough, right? Winter has a way of zapping the energy, creating this never-ending cycle of “I am too tired to go work out – I am tired because I don’t work out – I don’t work out because I am too tired”. Don’t let yourself fall in that loop. Even if that means just getting outside when the sun is out and taking a brisk walk. Or even better yet, find a wintertime activity you actually love. Research shows that anticipating something you like can actually make you happier. Skiing? Ice skating? Snowshoeing? Sledding? Give it a whirl!  My downright disdain for winter often makes me forget how much I enjoy downhill skiing until I get out there and hit the slopes and think, “why don’t we do this more often?”  Ending outdoor activities with a delicious hot beverage also makes the cold weather seem not so terrible after all.

Invest in warm outerwear

This is seriously a no-brainer, folks. However, I was into fashion over function for too many years. And then one year when I was trudging through the snow to walk my kids to school, it hit me…why the heck do I not own a thick, long winter coat? And from there, I’ve never gone back. (Also, do you know they make heated winter coats now? Seriously!) I’ve also come to embrace the hat, as well. And boots? To think that I didn’t own a pair of really great boots until last year! It has seriously made all the difference.  I’ve even been known to put on my snow pants in order to walk the dog. No use being miserable, am I right?

Chase the sun

I am very grateful that this is an option for me, because without it, I think I would simply curl up in fetal position in the corner and end up rocking myself all of February. Every year, beginning in October, I plan a mid-winter get-away to somewhere warm. The mere aspect of being able to look forward to this gets me through the darkest days of winter.

Do you hate winter? Or are you a snow aficionado? Do you have any other tips to getting through the season?

P.S.  Have a newborn? Check out this post on How to Survive Winter in Milwaukee With a Newborn. Are you new to the Milwaukee area? Check out this post on A Transplant’s Guide to Winter in Milwaukee.

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