Sunday, February 12, 2012

Campaigning for Winter- beating the blues

Being someone who was born and raised in Southern California and participated in year-round outdoor sports, I love being outside and I LOVE THE SUN.  I basically worship it.  Seriously.  In my closet...that has a window.

This obsession was all well and good until the one dark day when I moved to Utah and learned about a strange thing the natives called “winter.”  Then followed another, even darker day, when I moved to Central Pennsylvania and learned about a strange event known as a “blizzard.”  My first Pennsylvanian winter just happened to be the winter of the ever-memorable Great Double Snow Storm of 2009 when within a few days two MAJOR snow storms hit the entire East Coast one after the other, leaving my little car looking like a snow-covered hill.  Literally FEET of snow covered EVERYTHING. 

How the heck am I supposed to play water polo and do my sun worshiping dances in 4 feet of snow?!? 

And who ever knew that scarves served a purpose other than fashion?!  Not me.

Needless to say, I found myself walking to school on sub-freezing days in sub-standard winter gear, repeating in my mind over and over again things like,

“I am freezing.

 I might die of frostbite. 

I hate snow. 

I hate winter. 

I am freezing…”

Not exactly the healthiest internal monologue.

And then I decided that I want to work in Philadelphia…permanently.  And I began filling out the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Bar Applications (yes, this is kind of a major announcement! :D ) and I realized, “Hmm…maybe I should try to figure out this winter thing…”  And the frank statement of a close friend from Long Island, New York of, “You have the worst Seasonal Affect in the world,” (ouch) led me to develop a cold weather plan of attack!

First, I thought about the main reasons I dislike winter and some of the why’s:
1.     I don’t like being cold
a.     I don’t have the right kind of clothes to stay warm
b.     I am worse than Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to not turning the heater on
c.      Having cold/wet feet is like the worst thing ever 
2.     I love the sunshine
a.     It’s hard to wake up when its dark out
b.     I like being outside on nice days
3.     I like swimming and exercising outside

Given this list, I went to work to remedy these bad boys!

The key, honestly, was to stop being so Scroogey and to be realistic of my needs.  Yep, that’s right, I had to actually BUY some things (sooooo painful!) and I have actually even been keeping my heater on for longer than my usual 30 minutes a day... (NOT an exaggeration, unfortunately)

My sanity-saving purchases included:

1.     Sunlight simulating alarm clock
a.     You have NO IDEA how amazing this is!  I wake up to the sound of cows mooing and the sun shining, even if sunrise is technically 2+ hours away!!
b.     I’m a nerd about neuroscience and I know that full-spectrum light on the retina promotes production of wake-inducing neurochemicals, so I’m totally a believer in this item- even if its as seen on TV!
2.     Better coats, etc.
a.     I realized I only wore my cute, impractical coats.  The only legit jacket I had was much too large and I just wasn’t gonna look that frumpy for every day of the next 3 months.  Therefore, I shopped around for a cute AND practical coat that I DO like to wear!
b.     Honestly, this took a couple tries.  I don’t really know what makes a good winter coat, never really having had one, so I admittedly fell back on my ~only fashion matters~ state of mind in coat shopping, but eventually, I nailed it!  My coat is silvery and puffy and warm and has an amazing hood and it even fits 
c.      Rabbit fur-lined gloves= amazing
d.     Super cute AND super practical Merrell knee-high boots

And, thankfully, not everything needed to be purchased!  Here are the few things that I utilized that I had on hand and some simple strategies that I employed on my campaign for winter:

1.     Looove the windows
a.     On the occasional sunny day, I shamelessly place myself near the window, including
                                               i.     In church.  I get into the room a little early and open the curtains!
                                              ii.     At school.  I pull chairs for yards and yards and place them right by the window to read, despite being kind of in the way of everyone.  Who cares, they can walk around; I have a disorder!
                                            iii.     In the pool!  Yes that’s right, I still swim in the indoor pool and I swim in the far lane next to the window and even get the occasional ray as I swim along
2.     A better space heater
a.     I was gifted a space heater that has the technology that is lightyears ahead of my old one and I love it!
3.     A better mantra
a.     Instead of “I hate winter…” I borrowed a cheesy phrase from a magazine that my mom kindly gets for me, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”  And now that I’ve gotten better winter clothing, I’m actually starting to believe it!
4.     My super warm Kermit hat from Santa

Lastly, I thought of my peers in Utah who were always jumping up and down with joy whenever snow was in the forecast.  They all had the same reason to adore the very thought of snow: skiing.  Now, snow skiing and snowboarding and I have not really gotten along in the past.  So how could I harvest all of those positive feelings for snow if slopes are out of the question?  In a word, SNOWSHOEING!!  I got a GREAT deal on eBay and I can honestly say for the first time ever that I am anxious for a big snowstorm so I can try them out!

Who knows, maybe I’ll start worshiping the snow too :)

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