Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thoughts About This Winter

by Carol Cummings
Carol Cummings

In case you haven’t noticed-we are having a real WINTER! In Chicago, where I live, we have had 51 inches of snow so far this year, and dangerous wind chill temperatures- having something to do with a “polar vortex.” Places like Atlanta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee have had rare snowfalls and much colder than usual temperatures. In fact no matter where you live, chances are that you have had a tougher than usual winter.

I don’t know about you, but I do fine with winter until we get to February. In the beginning I enjoy getting out my sweaters, putting a fire in the fireplace, making soup, and watching the snow fall outside my window. Then, the holidays come along followed by football playoffs and Super Bowl. Now that all those distracters are gone-there is just snow-and lots of it-and cold. I am tired of my sweaters, my boots, my mittens, and my earmuffs…you get the point.

But, the groundhog says we have six more weeks of this. So I am going to have to make the best of it. One of the things I have not done yet is make a snowman, so I think I will do that. And, maybe I will start getting ready for the gardening season-which will get me thinking warm thoughts. I can’t wait for the first daffodil to pop through, the first sighting of a robin, yes; I will start thinking about those things. And, maybe I will do some home organization projects on the weekends. Then, there is Valentine’s Day-I will have a date with my sweetie and buy the kids some fun treats…Ok, I think I can do this.

The truth is there are some benefits to the cold weather. That’s right-there is a silver lining. Here are a few good things about winter:
  • We burn more calories when it is cold outside. It appears that colder temperatures wake up the brown fat in our bodies, which helps the body produce heat and burn more calories.
  • Cold weather can bring us closer to family and friends. A study published in October of 2013 showed that during extreme weather people spend a longer time talking on the phone to close friends and family.
  • The more extreme cold kills off mosquitos and ticks, making it less likely that you will be exposed to West Nile virus or Lime Disease in the spring and summer.
  • Cold temperatures reduce inflammation and help to keep chronic pain under control in part due to a release of endorphins during exposure to the cold.
    Now, if you are thinking all this is great, but you would still be happier in a warmer climate, think again. Studies show that people who live in warmer climates are not happier than the rest of us. Happiness is an inside job folks. So let’s all try to enjoy the rest of this winter.
Be Well on Purpose!

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