The long slog toward brighter, warmer days is underway. Now that you’ve binge-watched every Hallmark Channel original movie and catalogued all 150 shades of gray in your local landscape, it may seem that the worst of winter is yet to come. That could, indeed, be the case: not a blustery, historic blizzard, but a sluggish march through a season so long that Punxatawny Phil himself would be incredulous. You might want to prepare for a dreaded mild winter.
Some people use electronics to feel better during the colder months, believe it or not. When you’re especially craving that sweet sunshine, you can plug in a happy lamp and soak up some non-UV rays. It can’t be just any old light, though. Light therapy usually requires a source of about 10,000 lux, otherwise you’ve wasted your money and you’re still sad.
If Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn’t get you, this year’s particularly vicious flu season might. Of course, a flu shot is the best short-term defense against contracting influenza, but it never hurt to fortify your immune system with some Scoville power. That’s right, hot peppers. Chili peppers are high in antioxidants like Vitamin C, and they support heart health and weight loss. Plus, if you add some habaneros to your favorite batch of chili, you’ll get a satisfying sinus blowout that lets you know what your money pays for.
Speaking of money, the Canada Goose brand of feather-filled outerwear has come into vogue across the country. Whether you’re trekking to the North Pole or Navy Pier, the company’s parkas are an excellent way to spend north of $1,600, and everyone in Chicago seems to sport one. Like any luxury brand, the coats have become a target for counterfeiters that use raccoon fur in place of the soft coyote pelt lining the hood. One way to discern the fakes is to inspect the iconic patch on the garment’s sleeve. While the authentic logo features intricately stitched maple leaves, phonies have circulated with stitching that more closely resembles overweight dragonflies. Don’t be fooled.
The on-again, off-again wintry mixes might be eliciting weather whiplash, but do you know what’s worse than driving on snowy, icy roads? The knowing that soon enough you’ll covet that slick journey over the pothole hellscape to come. In order to avoid the losing battle of seeking reimbursement from your locality after hurtling through a ravine in the road, it would be wise to practice the art of creative swerving. Of course, there are city and state hotlines for reporting particularly treacherous potholes if you have that kind of time and determination.
The winter blues sometimes strike hard, and the American Psychological Association has said the best cure can be… hibernating? A doctor at the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory said, “Now, if people want to sleep a lot and do nothing in the winter, society condemns it — which in my view may lead to guilt and depression.” Perhaps the most extreme winter coping mechanism is lazing about shamelessly, just as we were born to do.