Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and in typical fashion, Punxatawny Phil made his decree: six more weeks of winter.
Hey, I’ll take it. I probably don’t need to tell you that winter in Chicago this year has been more miserable and unpredictable than usual, making us asking ourselves “Why do we live here?” several times a day. Ask my friend, Megan Boley, pictured at right. She’s not impressed.
So, six weeks certainly beats the 12 weeks of arctic air and snow that I had predicted. And it saves me from the usual colloquialism: “Oh, we only have to do this for three more months.” Nope, only six weeks, according to my new furry BFF. Even though I am pretending that there are only six more weeks to go, the truth is, we’ve got a long way until spring. And many people, myself included, are doing the best they can to beat the winter doldrums. Here are some ways that people are coping, or how I like to think of it, putting a Band-aid over winter:
Exposing yourself to the element
This technique practically screams denial. Super Bowl Sunday, it was a balmy 35 degrees in Chicago. If you were predicting the weather on the basis of attire, you might have guessed that it was the first day of spring. Rebels were walking around without coats. One friend even reported seeing someone walking around in shorts and a hoodie. Seriously? Although I have not been brave enough to try this myself, I witnessed a friend sporting open-toed shoes in order to create the illusion that it was lukewarm outside. The attempt failed, but she looked damn cute.
Mixing up the routine
Everyone I know is trying this one. It ranges from a making a subtle change in appearance to going out one night during the week. Whatever it is, you can certainly separate from your Netflix and get out of your apartment to do something different for once.
Wear the brightest color of clothing that you own
I brought a red coat out of the archives and wore it for one week solid to make myself feel better about January. And I did I feel a little more enthusiastic about going outside, but I will admit to you that this sentiment was short lived. And I probably looked like Madeline, the French cartoon girl.
Get the hell out of town
If at all possible this time of year, get out of Chicago and go some place warmer. Even if it’s only five degrees warmer, you’ll thank yourself later. I recently went to San Francisco, and I had a smile on my face for two weeks after my return. Until I realized there was snow on the ground again. (insert sigh)
Trick everyone (including yourself) into thinking you’re out of town
Let’s face it: the economy sucks right now. It’s no time to take an extended vacation. But, you can trick everyone on Facebook, and even yourself, into thinking you’re doing so. Call it a “stay-cation,” or whatever you will: it’s the dream that status messages are made of. A friend of mine recently brought this up, and I thought it was genius. Perhaps I will be in Paris or Costa Rica tonight. Check my Facebook page to find out.
If you have a fantastic way to cope with the winter doldrums, please share. I’ll be hiding indoors until then.