A brighter shade of winter blue

Some of my favorite desktop backgrounds are wintry scenes of frozen tundras, nestled cottages, and icy landscapes. They’re images that induce ooo’s and ah’s at the majesty of nature — while also making me so grateful that I live in the land of the climate-controlled.

Last week we had our own modest snowfall that ended up being thicker and icier than initially estimated. And while the view of my complex’s flake-covered parking lot certainly cannot compete with Nat Geo‘s stunning shots, I still found it to be a winter wonderland.

This beauty (and the prevalence of soups!) notwithstanding, winter is a difficult season to get through. The cold keeps us indoors; the days are short; and oftentimes life seems to be moving at a weary pace. When the winter blues become a burden, I find that the following help me get through, or more appropriately enjoy the coldest time of year.

  • Realize that it could be so much worse. A friend of mine is from northern Sweden, where the sun only peeks out for a few hours each day. In Alaska, they’re getting dumped with record-breaking amounts of snow. And in countries like Russia, many people go with out indoor heating.
  • Get a “happy” lamp. My desk mate invested in a light-therapy machine, which looks like this. Every day she turns it on and we soak up our vitamin D. Obviously our coworkers are jealous.
  • Supplement. Many people (especially us office folk) don’t receive enough vitamin D. Natural supplements can help boost your mood and realign your circadian rhythm.
  • Exercise. Doubly important in the colder months when you’re less likely to brave the elements for a stroll, bike ride, etc. On sunny weekends, I try to take my run outside (so long as it’s warmer than 30) to combine the fresh air and workout.
  • Appreciate winter for what it is. If you’re lucky to live somewhere that experiences all four seasons, it’s good to make the most of each. While spring offers us renewal, fresh flowers, and balmy temperatures, winter gives us the opportunity to hole up in our nooks. Take it from someone who’s made a habit of hiding in cafes: There’s something indescribably cozy and comforting about warming up with a hot drink and good book.

Soon enough we’ll all be sweating bullets and getting sunburned. For now, I’m taking note of the icicles hanging from bridges and the incredibly clear night sky… after which I will dive under a hundred blankets.

A frozen pond in Japan; Courtesy of National Geographic

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