Not feeling the blues this winter?

This time of year can be hard for some, even downright depressing. The days are short, the ground is icy, and the temperatures send you back inside your home before you can even say “shucks it is cold out here” (or some equivalent dialogue). But our fortunes have been reversed for the first half of winter. It’s the skiers, snow plow drivers, and Northwoods Chambers of Commerce feeling the winter blues this year… though there has been a little more snow up north.

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is common for many northern climate residents. It’s not simply a mental thing either. A chemical imbalance can change your mood with a lack of serotonin in the brain. Instead of manufacturing this hormone naturally with sunlight we often gravitate towards junk food to give us the boost.  Thus with less outdoor exercise and more fatty foods, weight gain is an inevitable side effect of SAD.

But what about this winter? Are you still feeling down in the dumps? Or has the mild temps, ice free ground, and periodic sunshine been enough to keep your chin up?

For the period of December 1st through February 7th we’ve experienced our 4th warmest winter. The average temp of 31.2° is a pretty good indicator of how tough it’s been to keep snow on the ground. In fact we’ve only had 15 days (all in January) of 1” or more of snow cover! Again, I realize I’m only adding to your SAD if you’re  a snow lover and for that I apologize.

My advice to you, take advantage of it while you can. We’re definitely on borrowed time from Old Man Winter. While the sidewalks are free of snow and ice, take a walk on a sunny day. Go for a run if you have the energy. Even a bike ride could be a pleasurable activity on some of our milder days. If you need to take some aggression out of a frustrating work day, try the driving range, many are still open. In my opinion nothing eases stress better than an aggressive swing from the tee box. And if the ball goes straight, well that’s just a bonus. How about a BBQ in your backyard or patio? Hey, we often do Christmas in July, how about a 4th of July BBQ in February? You won’t even have to scrape the ice off your grill!

If this season’s wimpy winter weather still has you feeling down then I guess you’ll just have to tough it out until spring. Even though the calendar says that won’t arrive for another 6 weeks, I beg to differ. Brewers pitchers and catchers report to spring training next Saturday!