Preparing for Chicago’s deep freeze

Pumpkin Spice lattes, fleece jackets, fresh school backpacks strewn across my hallway floor. Fall has arrived in full force and here we are on the horizon of another winter in Chicago. I, for one, am trying to prepare physically and emotionally for the cold, still recovering from last year’s Post Traumatic Polar Vortex. Here are some tips I have gathered to handle my own pre-freeze meltdown:

You’ve got to move it, move it

With the sunshine getting shorter and shorter as each day passes, I feel that energy quickly draining out of me. This is when it is imperative to do something active. I’m not a gym rat, so I am going to try and add extra Wii Dance time with my girls, extra walking time outside and just generally be cognizant of my movement. I am on the lookout for a treadmill to prep for some indoor movement when the cold finally settles in.

Carbs aren’t really your friends

Right about this time of year my appetite transitions from grilled everything straight to anything on a loaf of bread, on top of chocolate or in a bowl of pasta. Our bodies are cold and they crave warm, soothing carbs to keep us cozy. Go ahead and indulge a little, but watch the intake. Carbs will cause a major meltdown later as your energy gets its little burst and then leaves you craving more and more to stay there. It’s a bad cycle to fall into and ultimately leaves you sad or depressed. Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons, author of “Potatoes Not Prozac,” reiterates on her website Radiant Recovery, “If you are sugar sensitive, what and when you eat has a huge impact on how you feel. Eating a diet high in sugar, refined flour, alcohol and junk foods makes your sugar sensitivity – and your moods – out of control.”

Get outta town

When all else seems lost and you are depressed just thinking about being a winter shut-in – start planning. If you can afford it, plan your winter break trip NOW so you have something to focus on to get you through the doldrums (Hey, it’s also cheaper to plan ahead). If budget insists you are home all winter, plan a local getaway – downtown for a night, next town over, time for a family visit. Anything you can do to inspire some hope down the line to hold you over!

Get glowing

An easy-to-do temporary fix for anything in a mom’s world? Pamper yourself. Create a girl’s night out, get a great haircut, light a candle and sit in a warm bubble bath. Do something for you that makes you feel good. It will re-energize you and enable you to function at happier level for yourself and your family.

New hobby time

Being stuck indoors has its advantages. I plan on taking up knitting (a long-time bucket list item) and trying my hand at a scarf. Introducing a new challenge can keep your energy going, your brain sharp and make you feel useful when you’re stuck in a winter rut. I have a friend who became an excellent chef-freezer during last winter, storing up meals for the coming weeks. I have other friend who took an art class to get out of the house. Once she paid for it, she had to go – so it forced her out and into the cold, cold world.

Whatever Farmer’s Almanac says (and it says we’re in for another doozy!!), I’m hoping and praying we’re entitled to just a little reprieve this winter. That first snowfall is always a beauty so I’m going to try and just take it in. As for the next one, well, let’s hope we are all warmed up, cozy inside with our loved ones in school or at work, and not home for those stupid Polar Vortex days.

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