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Beating the Winter Blues

Beating the Winter Blues
Beating the Winter Blues

The title is slightly misleading…

I haven’t actually found a way to beat them.

But I do know A LOT about dealing with them. Thanks to twenty-one winters in Minnesota and now two in Fairbanks, Alaska I consider myself an unofficial expert on the winter woes.

Mine generally start with irritability, followed by feelings of hopelessness, and then lots of tears and lashing out angrily. No, I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). I just turn into a cynical, angry, incessantly bitchy gal when it gets too cold out.

S.A.D. is very real though, and if you or a loved one may have it please check out this resource for more information. 

I simply hate cold weather.

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This is only pretty if you either a) don’t live in it and b) no one tells you that this is what -45 looks like at dawn.

You’re probably asking, “why on earth have you endured it this long?!”

A series of unfortunate circumstances involving my parents raising me in Minnesota, me only being able to afford in-state tuition (also I fell in love with gorgeous, perfect Minneapolis), and then following my heart all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska. The latter two were self-inflicted so I expect a lot more sympathy than I truly deserve.

Don’t be mistaken – I’m no “it’s 50 degrees I need a parka” girl. I can endure cold weather right up until that point when it hits the negatives either in wind chill or temperature, or when the snow will not disappear off the ground in April and May. Those two factors drive me into serious pouting mode. This morning is one of those examples. I moved from my bed to the couch and have yet to move. I am striking against the fact that it is -44 FREAKING DEGREES OUTSIDE.

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Negative forty four. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration I can get severe frost bite in just 10 minutes going outside with exposed skin. 10 minutes and I can lose a finger.

So how do I stay upbeat & beat the blues in this weather?

It’s almost impossible, but there are a few things that never seem to fail me.

1. Pancakes. Honestly comfort food is a god send. It is pointless to get obsessive about my weight or working out in this weather. My car practically won’t even make it to the gym and no one can catch a glimpse of my stomach or thighs under 78 layers. Eat all of the comfort food. Maybe it’s cookies or pizza for you. For me? It’s pancakes. Dripping in peanut butter and syrup and fruit

2. Yoga, light cleaning, or simple workouts. Eating comfort food isn’t a ticket to not care about your body at all. A little bit of movement on the rough days not only gets my heart rate up just enough to make me feel better about myself, but can give me a rush of happy endorphins if I do enough. Runner’s high and that feeling you can take on the world after a workout are very real

3. Reading. Delve into another world. A warmer world. A world without ice fog, subzero temperatures, and air particle warnings. Live someone else’s life for awhile without staring at a screen and shoving your face with food. You have to keep your hands busy while you read and you’ll feel more accomplished after finishing a book then you will after finishing a season on Netflix. (I know, I know that’s debatable. But trust me on this. I’ve done both during sub zero weekends.

4. Gratitude Lists. Helpful during any rough time in your life, but for me, an especially good reminder during the winter blues. This morning’s would look something like this:

I am thankful for

– The most fresh, juicy oranges I’ve ever purchased in Alaska sitting on my kitchen table
– No plans so I don’t have to go out into this weather
– A house full of food so I don’t have to worry about going hungry
– My education because I’m currently reading, “I Am Malala” and discovering what girls in Pakistan go through to earn their educations is heart breaking
– A husband that comes home very soon
– An awesome family who answers every pathetic, miserable phone call I send their way
– Only about 6 months left in Fairbanks

All of those things remind that life really is just fine. It’s just a crappy day, not a crappy life.

5. Hobbies. If you don’t read, try writing? Singing? Playing guitar? Knitting? Cooking? Baking? Do something that makes you feel good while you’re doing it. It’s easy to resort to television or mindlessly stalking everyone with better weather on social media, but I’ve tried these methods and all they do is distract. When they’re finished, I often feel worse. Do something today – despite the shit weather – that tomorrow your self will thank you for. I tend to write and cook. Both activities make me feel accomplished.

 6. Brighter Days To Come. When all else fails, I just remember that nothing lasts. Not even this weather. This is probably my least favorite to resort to because it means taking the present day for granted and only focusing on the future. But sometimes that thought process is the only one that pushes me through without crying all day…

-44 can not last forever, Cami. 

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Even when Fairbanks stubbornly tries to make it seem otherwise.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
Winston S. Churchill

Camille Mae (2)

2 Comments
  • This is great! This is my first winter in Fairbanks, and holy crapoly, it is COLD! I’m actually really enjoying the weather and being cozy in my cabin, but sometimes I get a little stir crazy. Your list will definitely come in handy. #1 made me smile. I’m more of a waffle kind of gal, but I swear there’s not much a good plate of hot waffles can’t fix! Stay warm! 🙂

    • That is so great that you have such a positive attitude about Fairbanks & the cold! It’s pretty hard for me sometimes – I would not have picked to live here in a million years – but I realized shortly after we moved that any place can be a great place if I have the right attitude. You stay warm, too! It’s great to meet another Fairbanks blogger 🙂

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