10 ways to cope with winter


Now that we’ve turned the clocks back, there is no denying that winter is coming. Since turning 40, I dread the cold. Last winter was so bad our town looked like the backdrop of that Morgan Freeman penguin documentary and my husband mentioned the movie The Shining a couple more times than I was comfortable. I’m afraid this year is going to be worse since the summer wasn’t really all that hot.

With anything I am dreading, I find having a plan helps me through. Here is how I intend to cope with winter this year:

1. Treat myself. I absolutely cannot face winter without a pair of Uggs. In fact, no one should have to face winter without a pair of Uggs. If I ever run for public office, that will be my platform. My Uggs from last year are just fine, so sadly I don’t have any reason to buy a new pair. Instead, I think I will finally buy myself a good pair of long underwear. Does anyone have any long underwear recommendations? Basically I need to make myself so hot and sweaty my body will think it’s still summer.

2. Amp up my reading. Books are an escape I can make this winter without my family having to go through the hassle of filing a police report. Here is what you will find on my nightstand this season: I Am Malala (I know, I’m embarrassed I haven’t read it yet), Food: A Love Story by comedian Jim Gaffigan, and Hyperbole and a Half by blogger Allie Brosh. Again, I welcome your recommendations.

3. Plan a vacation. This is perhaps the single most effective way for me to beat the winter, even if we don’t physically take the trip until summer when it warms up and I have no reason to go anywhere anymore. The problem with this of course is the cost. We have five people in our family, and almost every hotel I have researched online has a maximum of four per room, which means we either have to give one of our children up for adoption or pay double for the vacation. It is so frustrating, mostly because I can’t decide which kid should go.

4. Keep tabs on Florida real estate. During the winter I cannot conjure any reasons why we still live in New Jersey. I’ve been told that my husband doesn’t technically need to live in New Jersey to do his job. So why do we stay here? The pizza? The people? Yes to both of those, but are they really worth six months of frigid hell? No, I don’t think so. There might not be good pizza in Florida, but I know there are good people there. Clearly people are more important than pizza, right? I know, they’re not. Dammit.

5. Adopt a new distraction. Last year, I discovered My Fitness Pal and had so much fun tracking all of my calories and physical activity I almost forgot about the 14 feet of snow falling silently outside my window. This novelty has run its course, though, and I am in need of another distraction. Here are a few gimmicks I am considering adopting this year: a Blueprint Juice Cleanse, the 21-Day Fix, Jamberry nail wraps, a Fitbit, and maybe essential oils.

6. Fight the urge to stay inside by going out. Last year, my husband and I had tickets to see Jim Gaffigan in person but we got slammed by yet another n’oreaster. We couldn’t believe it, but the theater didn’t cancel the show, so we were forced to go even though we were exhausted from shoveling and building snow forts for our kids all day. We wound up having an amazing time; we had dinner beforehand and were so happy to find the restaurant was practically empty. So, this year, for us anyway, snowstorm = night out on the town.

7. Cook. A highly effective way to beat the winter is through food. I don’t care that you aren’t supposed to use food as a coping mechanism; this is a winter emergency. Here are three recipes I am going to make when the Polar Vortex invades New Jersey again: Ski Soup, Gnocchi Bolognese, and my mother’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

8. The Paramus Pilgrimage. When the winter blues hit particularly hard, I always try some old-fashioned retail therapy and it usually does the trick. This year, I will grab a friend and make the 30 minute pilgrimage to Paramus, NJ where my two favorite places on earth are located: Ikea and The Container Store. When I die, I will not be surprised to find my soul, free of its worn-out body, in Paramus opening and closing the drawers of an Ikea display kitchen. It is heaven.

9. Get Help. Last winter the one time my always-working-from-home husband was traveling I couldn’t even enjoy it because a storm dumped 24 inches of snow followed by six hours of freezing rain. The resulting material was like frozen cement and our 11 year old snow blower blatantly said no and actually gave me the finger. I did what I could, but it wasn’t much and for the next eight weeks the walk from the car to the front door and back again required an enormous amount of concentration. It’s a miracle none of us fractured a skull. This year, we are getting a quote from our landscapers for snow removal. Please think good thoughts.

10. Embrace it. When all of the above strategies inevitably fail, I am just going to screw it and go skiing again. We went skiing as a family three times last winter, and I have to admit it was really great to look winter in the eye and say, “Eff you,” until the third time when our last and youngest child froze solid on the chair lift and had to be gently pushed down a really long meandering trail every few feet while I kept him focused on the big bag of M&Ms waiting for him at the bottom. I really hope it goes better this year.