Frigid

~Cold Weather Blues – Muddy Waters~

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The weather we have been having lately is definitely outside my comfort zone.  It really requires a lot more thought than I’m used to. 

The first morning back to work after the holidays was more than cold.  For the first time in a very long time, I overslept.  It was just so warm under the down comforter.  I’m pretty sure, I was almost in a state of “hibernating bear.”  When I finally woke up, it was frigid cold and The Dane said, “Layer up.” 

Now, I have to tell you, nursing uniforms are not warm.  Even the best of them are little more than a thin layer.  I knew I’d bought a pair of warm wicking leggings, but where were they?  Several tumbled over drawers later, I finally found them.  First top layer completed.  Uniform on next.  Then a light jacket.  I pulled on my wool coat and then had to hunt again for my mittens, a scarf and a warm hat.  I looked at my earmuffs and debated, finally shoved them into my pocket for a just-in-case moment.  Before heading out, I looked around for handbag, keys and coffee cup.  After locating them, I headed out.

In South Carolina, it’s illegal to leave a car running unattended.  This means, I had to get in the car and wait for it to warm up.  I looked at the temperature gauge – 18 degrees.  Wow! 

While I waited, I sat in the driver’s seat and wondered why I hadn’t bothered to find the little packets of hand warmers.   

After what felt like a very long time, I could finally head to work.  As I entered the parking lot, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one running late as others were exiting their cars as well.  As we all found our way into the building, I heard one of the supervisors say, “You can tell we’re from the South.”  She definitely got that right!

This weather has definitely been an experience.  Not necessarily a bad one as I kind of like experimenting with the layers.  But we are solidly not prepared.  There have been main line water bursts causing fatal car wrecks, electricity out in entire areas, mega warnings about not leaving pets outside and we nurses have been warning everyone to be sure and take careful notice of small children and the elderly.

Not only has the weather been cold, but the sky has been very overcast.  It’s wreaked havoc on the happiness level we usually enjoy with so much sunlight.  These last few days, I’ve been trying to give out advice on how to beat back the winter blues, so I thought I’d share a few tips.

1.  Let in the light – I usually recommend this one even when the weather is a bit milder. Lots of us suffer from SAD this time of year. I recommend getting a SAD light like these.

2.  Vitamin C – this will help boost your immune system which might help you keep from getting that winter cold.  A nasty winter cold on top of nasty winter weather is just the pits!

3.  Vitamin D – is known as the Sunshine Vitamin and it will help boost your mood.

4.  Exercise – helps get us moving which we tend not to do as much of when the weather is cold, but get motivated and get on that treadmill that’s collecting dust in the corner and start gaining benefits from those endorphins.

5.  Go outside – bundle up and take a short, brisk walk.  It will definitely boost your mood and your energy level.  Just be sure not to overheat in all those layers.  You don’t want to take some of them off and end up getting too cold.

6.  Make sure not to get too cooped up.  Go out to a restaurant, or to the movies.  It doesn’t have to be too much, just be sure to change-up the hum-drum routine a bit.

7.  Read a good book.  The great thing about reading a book is that it’s an adventure for your mind.  Find a good one, snuggle in for the night and take off for parts unknown.

8.  Find new music.  It’s finally time to surf Youtube for new music.  Check out all the really cool songs there are that you have maybe never heard before.  It’s a great way to boost your mood and maybe even get you up off the sofa and moving.

9.  Plan a romantic night in.  This is one of my favorites.  The Dane and I recently did this.  We made hot chocolate, put on our warmest jammies, and snuggled in the big overstuffed chair together.  We surfed Netflix and found “Stranger Things” and started a mini marathon.

10.  Switch it up.  Even if you’re stuck indoors, you can find something new to do or someone new to do it with.  Over the weekend, I bought a puzzle and spread it out on the kitchen table.  Before I knew it, each member of my family drew near, each finding a piece to lock into place.  Most of them wandered back off, except my grandson.  He pulled his chair near mine and we quietly went through the pieces.  Little by little, he started talking to me about all manner of things going on in his life.  I didn’t pry for fear he’d shut down, but I was amazed at how a simple thing like a puzzle ended up creating an environment for him to feel free to talk.  It was a wonderful moment and I hated when it was time for him to leave.  I do believe that his sitting near me allowed for way more hugs than normal and he really seemed to enjoy them.  I just hope that one day when he’s older and I’m long gone, that he looks back on that moment with fondness.  Couldn’t we all just use a little more puzzle-time in our lives?

Until next time, (as The Dane says), “Layers, Layers, Layers!”

~PJ

Beret – Cato (similar here and here); Sweater – Lane Bryant (similar turtleneck sweater here); Pants – Sculpt Leggings from Old Navy; Coat – Alloy (similar here and here); Earrings – Walmart; Boots (old) – Uggs

 

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