Photo by Aaron B. Cohen
I have been staring at a blank page on my computer screen thinking about what to write for this post for some time now. This is likely due to the fact that for the past month or so, the only thoughts that are coming to mind are "It's too damn cold" and "OMG it's snowing…again." Ah, the joys of wintertime in Chicago.
There is a new reality show on Bravo called "100 Days of Summer," featuring young, trendy and successful Chicagoans, who only have 100 days to live out their dreams and achieve their goals thanks to Chicago's long, miserable winters. Whether or not you like the show and its portrayal of our city, this concept is intriguing.
This time of year tends to be a bit slower paced for those of us Chicago 20- and 30-somethings. The holidays are over and the weather forces us to hibernate more than we'd like. This begs the question: Are we Chicagoans doomed to put our lives on hold during the other 265 days of the year?
I think not.
I've been feeling particularly blah, cold and uninspired this week, but instead of caving in to my instinct to put on sweatpants and slippers, curl up on the couch with my dog, watch marathons of bad reality television and order takeout all day long, I'm trying to focus my energy away from the 'blahs' and onto something positive—to face these next few months from a fresh perspective.
Here are some ideas I've come up with for coping with the wintertime blues and making the best of those other 265 days:
Get back into healthy habits-As cliché as it is to join a gym and start eating healthy at the beginning of a new year, I'm doing just that. I don't know about all of you, but I have a lot of weddings to attend in 2014 (and I mean a lot) not to mention a 30th birthday a few months away, so I'm using this time to work out more and eat healthier so I just feel better going into this year. It's a challenge dragging yourself to the gym when it's still dark out when you wake up and dark again once you leave the office, but hey, the tougher the challenge the greater the reward, right?
Get creative in the kitchen-I'm no great chef, or any kind of chef at all really, but my husband and I have found ourselves wanting to leave the comforts of our cozy house less and less in this weather and spending more time cooking in our own kitchen. Obviously, we eat healthier and save money this way too, so it's a win all around.
Reconnect with friends and family-The best way to ensure you do leave the house and cure that cabin fever (when you can without risk of frostbite, of course)? Make plans. Get dinner dates on the calendar with friends, bring some bagels over to your Bubbe's house, or just grab a drink with your buddies. While you're at it, do something active or creative—bowling is a great wintertime activity or take an art or cooking class. We all need some human interaction every now and then-just bundle up and go.
Get organized-This is a good time to hunker down and really focus at work, or make that scrapbook of photos from your European vacation you've been meaning to tackle. On those days when we are stuck at home, use that time to be productive-I've been meaning to clean out my closet for months and a second polar vortex seems like just the time to do it. Why wait for springtime to get stuck inside cleaning?
Do good-Once you clean out that closet, donate your old clothes. Or if you've been thinking about volunteering to help people in need, now is the time to get started. Check out JUF's TOV Volunteer network for opportunities to give back and bring some warmth back into your life and the lives of others.
Hopefully some of these ideas will make the long stretch of cold and snow ahead of us a little less daunting and depressing—and for those really brutal weather days, there's absolutely nothing wrong with cozying up on the couch with someone you love, a full DVR or a good book and some delicious takeout.
Photo by Christine Sierocki Lupella
What do you do to make the most of these 265 days of winter? Share your ideas below and stay warm out there!