Say ‘No!’ to the Winter Blues!
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
By: Dr. Abby Brown
I don’t know about you, but I still haven’t fully accepted that winter has arrived. If you live in Chicago, then you know the deal. We wait all year for summer, then it doesn’t even show up until June, sometimes even July. And then Labor Day comes, and summer says “byeeeee!”
So, I did not grow up in Chicago or even the Midwest. I grew up in the south. Why I bring this up is because I grew up with four distinct seasons. It wasn’t until moving up to Chicago for college that I realized that Chicago does not have a fall or spring, just “good ole” winter and summer. A place without a fall or spring? WTF!? But alas, for many of us, the pros outweigh the cons to living in one of the best cities in the world.
What I have come to learn in my years of living in the Midwest is that winters can actually be fun! Somehow, I have come to love Chicago winters. I know, I know, fun in sub zero temps? Humor me for a minute.
I will start by saying; I am a believer that our moods do change during the winter season, and not always for the better. I am sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s a little gloomy outside. It’s cold. It can feel near impossible to get out of our cozy beds, get dressed, and leave our homes to socialize. I just want to validate that winter can create a fatigue and sluggishness that is hard to fight. I also understand that sometimes it can contribute to feeling more depressed than usual. So what do we do? Well, the honest truth is, it’s going to take a little extra work. We have to go a bit out of our way to put systems in place to help us fight the winter blues. I’ve discovered that doing so has really enhanced my experience of winter, and makes the journey to our glorious Chicago summers a lot more bearable!
Some quick tips.
1. Invite people over! It is important not to solely associate your home as a place of isolation! Make your place a “hang out” spot. Create a theme. It might be having friends over to make a special dish or dessert, to watch your favorite 90’s films, or play games.
2. When your friends are over, go ahead and make plans to meet again in the coming weeks. Put something in the books now! It is no fun to break plans with friends. Do this to hold yourself and your friends accountable to following through. We all need the extra nudge to socialize during the winter season. And ask your friends to host as well! This will help get you out of the house too!
3. Find winter themed events in Chicago. There are festivals all over Chicago and Chicagoland during the winter months. There are festivals in neighborhoods all over the city, markets, celebrations of different cultures, and the list goes on.
4. If you have work to do, books to read, papers to write, go to a café, enjoy some hot tea or coffee while changing up your scenery. You are probably more likely to be productive if you create a space conducive to getting work done. A lot of the time, it is tough to get work done at home when it is just far too easy to lay on the couch and watch Netflix.
5. Take advantage of the indoor time to take on a hobby, read the articles and/or books you’ve been meaning to read, and listen to all the podcasts and audiobooks.