Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How to survive (yet another) winter storm

And this on a recent afternoon run. 

Last night we got hit by another winter storm. I woke up to find half a foot of fresh powder outside. It was Christmas morning all over again. Though the winters here in Cleveland are looooooong, I admit I love it when it snows. It makes everything so magical. Like a fairy tale.

But even fairy tales come to an end. Around here that means melted snow turning into a gross brown slush, sore arms from shoveling, and the inside of your car smelling like wet rat. Lovely.

That's when the California girl in me desires palm trees, sun-drenched beaches, wearing flip flops and going for long drives along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.

I kind of miss this right now.

But when in Northeast Ohio, do as the Northeast Ohioans do: just go with it. One day it will be 65 degrees and sunny and that very evening it will drop 40 degrees and snow.  

After living here for a year, I've learned a few things about surviving long winters. I hope these help you, too.

1. Get into a good book. I'm reading New York by Edward Rutherfurd. These also come highly recommended. 

2. Do something that reminds you of summer. I like to wear pink nail polish (like this) and serve summer salads for dinner (try this one and add raisins!).

3. Take photos. Do you have a favorite tree? Take a photo of it right now. Then take another photo in the spring. Summer. Fall. Make a collage using a fun App (I like FrameUrLife) and stick in on your fridge. When you're feeling blue, you'll be reminded that seasons change -- just like that tree.

Sometimes a little perspective goes a long way.
(Photo: Raising Cubs in a Campground)

4. Use a neti pot. I use mine every winter and I swear it keeps colds away. The moment I feel like I'm coming down with something, I wash out my nasal passages and neutralize those germs. (But before you start, do it right.) 

5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. My skin gets crazy dry during the winter. So I do this every night before bed: slather on a thick cream or lotion (I like Vaseline, straight up) on your feet and put on socks. They will be baby soft in the morning!   

6. Get something new at Sephora. A new lipstick. A pot of lip gloss. Something to make your cheeks look more flush. I recently picked up a new eyelash curler and it makes me feel sexier, even when I'm getting snowflakes in my eye.

7. Take a deep breath when your kid(s) gets another snow day. I dread snow days. The kids may cheer but I'm secretly grumbling inside. Some mothers take snow days as an opportunity to turn their homes into Disneyland or a craft zone (like mom bloggers at the New York Times' Motherlode). Unfortunately for my kids, I'm not one of these women. I pour myself a glass of wine and let my kids watch waaaaay too much Curious George.

8. Go outside. I make it a point to go outside at least once during the day (picking up the kids from school doesn't count). I will go for a run or simply take out the trash. There's something important about breathing fresh air.

9. Leave a voice memo for your best friend. One of my closest friends lives in California and I really miss our impromptu girl dates. Instead of text messages or voicemails, we've got in the habit of texting each other really long voice memos. Think of it as a verbal diary. So therapeutic.

10. Have yourself a good cry. Like I did yesterday morning. I don't what it was -- a combination of feeling overwhelmed, cooped up, exhausted, homesick. So I gave myself permission to hide in the bathroom, turn on the fan (so no one could hear me) and have a good cry. Five minutes later, I felt so much better.           

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the
blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts." --Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.
(Illustration: Joe McDermott)

11. Listen to classical music. I put on my headphones and blast Beethoven. There's something about winter that puts you a dark, Beethoven-type of mood.
12. Fantasize. You're spending a lot of time indoors with your thoughts so you might as well put them on paper. What are your dreams? What do you want to do? What scares you? What inspires you? For instance, I recently realized that I want to take ballet again, at 40.

The Shaker Lakes at springtime. I'm looking forward to this.

Spring is right around the corner (44 more days to be exact!). Here's to "just going with it" and embracing what the day may bring!  

More great ideas on how to beat the winter blues. (A Cup of Jo)