Reduce Your Winter Stress
As the snow starts falling, stress levels begin to increase for those living in the northern states, especially in the Midwest where the frozen fluff can quickly pile up and cause all sorts of inconveniences.
There's no question: snowy conditions can be a pain. But as a lifelong Minnesotan, I've developed a few tips for making tough winters a little easier to manage. Try out these methods for maintaining your sanity as mountains of snow manifest.
Give yourself plenty of extra time
When you wake up and see a fresh coat of whiteness outside, one of the biggest concerns is the morning commute. Will you be able to make it into the office on time while battling through the inevitably slow traffic? Your drive will become a lot more relaxing if you leave much earlier than you normally would, allowing you to take it slow (and safe) without stressing too much about being late for work.
Properly equip your vehicle
Aside from the extra time that snow adds to your commute, there are also the hazardous elements. Those who don't own a big SUV with four-wheel drive must worry about how their cars will handle the slippery and dangerous conditions. You can mitigate this issue by making sure your car is decked out for winter. Snow tires can be an expensive investment, but one that will make a big difference for your traction on snow and ice. Heavy-duty windshield wipers are much more apt for clearing wintry precipitation. And replacing your normal floor mats with rubber ones will help protect your interior from sand, salt and muck.
Don't wait to clear your sidewalks
If you own a house, removing snow from your sidewalk and driveway is a key consideration in a winter storm. My best advice -- especially if you have to use a shovel instead of a snow-blower -- is to get out there early and often. The task will be made much easier if you attack it before several inches have a chance to pile up. This might mean doing the job multiple times, but your back and shoulders will thank you.
When snow gets into your shoes and pant legs, suddenly the cold conditions are made far worse because you're wet. Very unpleasant. To avoid this, wear boots over thick wool socks, and try to gear up with layers of waterproof nylon over your clothes. You'll stay warmer and happier.
Work out indoors
One reason that the winter can bum us out is because it becomes far more difficult to stay active. Walking, running or biking outside can be ruled out for all but the most hardcore. When we are stuck inside and immobilized, it can have a severe impact on our mood. Overcome this by finding ways to get exercise indoors. If you have access to a gym, that's obviously ideal, but there are also plenty of things you can do at home, such as yoga and band exercises. Also, if you can gain access to a pool, I cannot emphasize enough the value of swimming laps regularly.
Or work out outdoors!
One way to prevent the winter weather from getting you down is to simply embrace it! There are plenty of activities that you can enjoy in the snow that will burn some calories. Chief among them is cross-country skiing, a powerful cardiovascular workout that is rapidly growing in popularity. You could also take the kids out sledding, go ice skating or try snow-shoeing.
The weather outside may be frightful, but your mood doesn't have to be!