Friday, January 25, 2013


Happy Friday All,

As the crystals of snow drift by my office windows, I can't help feel a bit of the "mid-winter" blues. Now that the holidays are gone and the novelty of a crisp breeze whipping through your hair and adding that rosy glow to your cheeks has become a nuisance, the blues set in.

The arctic winds are severe this week in Chicago and the last thing I want to do is leave the comfort of my nice, warm, cozy office. I am sure you all in the north feel the same way ... right? These feelings are what triggered my HUGE weight gain several years ago. All I did was eat chocolate and go from writing in bed to writing on the sofa.... sixteen hours a day. I shiver and cringe at the thought. So many of us get caught up in the "hibernation" stage until the sun comes out in the spring. But by that point you are considerably thicker around the middle and huff and puff as you leave your house. DON'T let this happen to you!

For the past few years, I was fortunate enough to leave the frozen tundra of the north for sunny Florida and ESAPE the 'blues' before they got their icy fingers around my throat to strangle me. However this year, I may be stuck here for the winter. Oh, no! I need to slap those 'blues' out of existence. But how? I am working on the answers to this as I write this post.

I have come to realize that movement is one answer. DON'T settle for too long. And LEAVE your house. BITE the bullet and don't think of the frigid air constricting your lungs .... DON'T feel the raw wind ripping off the top layer of your skin ... AND whatever you do, DON'T allow your fingers and toes to lock into one big ice cube. Learn to COMBAT yourself with creative alternatives. For a city dweller like myself, I don't jump into a warm car that's located in my heated garage. I have to battle the elements on a daily basis. But it can be an interesting challenge to see who will win out... I am betting on me!

Here are few simple tricks to use so you can WEATHER the STORM, and BEAT the odds.

One .... FUEL UP. EAT, and no, chocolate cookies and donuts don't count. Eat a steaming cup/bowl of oatmeal. Drink hot tea or coffee. Whole wheat toast and poached or scrambled eggs cooked in Pam. Seriously guys, eating a good breakfast will definitely keep you warm when you PUSH yourself outdoors.

Two ... LAYER your clothing. I have noticed when I add multiple layers and not only wear a hat, but earmuffs too ... it keeps the cold OUT. Wear two pairs of socks and gloves. Your head, hands, and feet are the first parts of the body to freeze up. You can't IMAGINE how many INSANE people I see on the streets without hats or gloves, open coats, and even wearing SHORTS! The people here are truly nuts. Make sure to wear a long-sleeved tee under your shirt or blouse, throw a sweater on top. Thin layers work best for me as long as they are FITTED. Bulky layers allow the wind to blow right up and into your body. You don't have to look like a football player. Fitted is the way to go. AND you can keep that stream-lined silhouette. LOL. AND DON'T forget that scarf. Wrap it around your neck and half your face if need be to ward off the winds attacking you from EVERY direction.

Three: Now this is THE most important step. PSYCHE yourself out... Think of the BEAUTY of winter... The glittering snow that looks like encrusted diamonds; the icicles creating one-of-a-kind works of sculptured crystal; listen for the laughter of kids sledding down a nearby hill; watch puppies pull their humans into snow to play ball; appreciate the stunning architecture of your city or town; feel the warm fire at your favorite Starbucks or coffee house. What a great place to spend a few hours writing.

Since I work out every day, and my gym is almost a half a mile from my condo, step three is the only one that gets me out of the house. Remember it takes more energy to step out your front door, than to do a two hour workout. Lately, I venture out a few times a day: getting groceries, running to the bank, meeting a friend for lunch or coffee ... So this is my way of attacking those blues. When inside, if I need a break from writing or work, I start crafting. It's a great way to relax, and when you've finished your project you have something cool for your home. Keeping your mind active is almost as important as keeping your body active.

So, tell me, HOW do you combat the mid-winter blues? I am sure WE ALL would like to know...

Have a great weekend everyone!

See you all on Monday.


  1. What winter? Oh wait, it's actually been cold this week.
    I don't slack off just because it's winter. I attack my gym workout even harder because in winter, I'm not mowing the grass six-seven times a month.
    I guess I beat the winter blues because I envision the torture of mowing the grass and the sound of the grassing growing as the heat and humidity rises.

  2. Great tips, it's definitely all about layering! Brr, though it is so cold, I love the beauty of winter, I love how snow sparkles in the sunlight. It is easy to get depressed though, so I definitely agree with your tip to make sure and go outside!

  3. I follow all your advice, except don't like earmuffs. I try to get out and walk every day, I eat healthy, and drink lots of water.

    I layer thin pieces as well, too much bulk and I feel like the little kid in the snowsuit - I'm petite so have to watch bulk in me and the clothes. Excellent advice - at least I'm on the west coast - it's not as cold as the middle and east coast of Canada.

  4. I open the curtains and let the light in -- when the suns out it's heaven, but the gray is always depressing. This year I'm hoping to paint the knotty pine wood paneling in my living room -- it's always dark and looks like a cave. My husband thinks it's a crime to paint wood, but I'm doing it. To stop me he'll have to have me arrested. Bet I prove him wrong! :)

    I exercise indoors because my heart can't take the deep cold or the high heat, but as soon as it warms up a little I'm out of the house!

    Great advice!

  5. I hear its been really, really cold in Chicago as of late. Those days are hard. Stay warm and don't get hypothermia while out in the zero or below temps! :) I have never lived in a place where it stays nice year I think I'm just used to the cold- even if I don't always like it. Life keeps moving no matter how cold it gets...and for some- coats aren't even needed until it drops well below freezing. Great advice in your post- I love your inspiration. Have a wonderful weekend :)

  6. We're not as cold as you are and I hardly have to wear more than a sweater, but I did grow up in an area with harsh winters so I know what you're talking about. I always found gloves and a scarf to help the most. But maybe that's because I hate hats.

  7. I think once you get over the initial inertia, there's something quite rewarding about struggling against the elements and coming home with supplies or a task completed. Useful training for the apocalypse, whenever that might be.


  8. I love your tips!

    Working on craft projects is one of my favorite ways to spend a cold mid-winter day.

  9. I have a treadmill, so I don't have to go outside. But I still need to get ON it. And I do - ran 2.6 miles today in just 30 minutes.

    And we have sleet and ice covering the trees right now. There was even a moment of ten minutes when it was actual snow.

  10. This is hilarious and like a fantasy story. Except they showed footage of fire fighters in Chicago trying to put out a fire in a warehouse and there were icicles everywhere and the water from the firehoses froze. Unreal!

    Now, how about a post on how to keep cool, lol Michael!

    (What I love about city living is leaving the car in the carport. Walk, walk, walk...)

  11. And overnight we moved from heatwave to rain and floods due to a cyclone (hurricane). Not much cooler either...D

  12. This post makes me think of Minnesota natives, especially the ones who live in the northern lake country, who relish the outdoors year round and fearlessly engage in their outdoor activities regardless of below zero temps and mounds of snow. Ice fishing. snowmobiling, cross country skiing, nothing keeps them in!

  13. I'd drive across the street to get a latte; if I drank coffee :)

    We had a cold spell here the last couple weeks and I had to go out and start the car - no, no heated garage for me - about 20 minutes before leave work, and still had to pour a couple pitchers of water on the doors to get them to open. I admit though, NorCal freezing isn't like NY freezes.

    Someday Dude, I'll invite you to stay at me casa for six months or so and you can keep me on the healthy straight and narrow :) You may have to do the cooking though, lol.


  14. I wish you were here to motivate me, Michael! Winter is not my friend and layering is like torture. I just want to run around in my shorts and sandals all year long! I am so living in the wrong part of the country. At least until June comes around then I won't want to be anywhere else :)

  15. Going to the gym is a great way to beat those winter blues. We go three times a week. It's a 30-minute drive each way, so takes a lot of time traveling. Love your idea of crafting something. I enjoy my big window overlooking the woods that's right by my desk! Am so looking forward to baseball spring training...


  16. Great Post! I've seen a lot of blogs addressing winter blues, lately. Even though I live in AR and the winters are mild, I've been kind of blah this winter. I'll probably get a bunch of reprimands for this, but I find the UV light from tanning beds help. Just cover your face with a towel, so you don't wrinkle, lol. :)

  17. I say dress up like your Mr Michelin's mistress!

    Gore-tex!! I recommend Gore-texing yourself out first before facing bitter cold/snow/rain! Waterproof yourself! Buy proper walking boots - breathable and waterproof! Shopping for such things is fun too!

    Of course you go to the gym everyday! Your arms say so! :-)

    Take care

  18. Here in south Texas, our winters are merely fronts from up north. They don't last long. We deal with a bundle-up warm and break out your shorts kind of winter. My dad lives in Chicago, well north of the city, but I know he deals with the mid-winter blues. Me? I'd bundle up near fireplaces, drink warm beverages, and write (or read) away. :)

  19. At the risk of having virtual tomatoes thrown in my direction, I have to confess that... I live in San Diego. But we've had rain all week, so does that count? The rainy weather makes me want to stay in and write more, so that's been productive!

  20. We're not that cold here today, but with the new writing challenge comes the fear of getting stuck indoors with no daylight and a lot of blue tendencies! So I've opened up the curtains - done my target for the day and gone for a beautiful winter walk.
    It did have me huffing and puffing as crisps and chocolate have played to big a role in my life over the past few months, but my dance school is re-opening this week, so some fun boogieing will beat my middle into submission soon - and it's great for bringing a smile to my face too :)
    Loved this post - keep that smile in place!
    Laura x

  21. Great tips Michael! I have given you yet another award, see my blog to get it. I love exercise and I find the more I work out the less depressed I am, especially in winter. Our winters here in the Fraser Valley in BC are very mild compared to the rest of Canada, but still, it rains so much that in winter we sometimes don't see the sun for a couple months! It's important to stay active. I walk to the gym, work out, and walk home, which altogether can take a couple hours...also, I love your tip about walking somewhere to meet friends. Stay warm!

  22. It's hard to have the mid-winter blues where I live. It's sunny and warm most of the time. (I actually get the mid-summer blues here--when it's August, 105 degrees, we've already been in the 90s since May, and we won't get under 90 degrees for at least 2 more months. Yuck!)

    Regardless, exercise is my trick. I hit the gym and get the endorphins pumping. Makes me feel good about myself, and picks me up every time.

  23. Indoor exercising can help. Weight training in the morning to get the blood flowing. Ab exercises all through the day to keep limber. Then, there is the Victor Standish way of jogging: insult the meanest, biggest, tallest thug in the neighborhood and take off running! :-)

  24. We don't have anything close to Chicago winters here in Cincinnati, but I still find the blues come around even if it's not that cold simply because I hate the endless gray days. I love your line that it takes more energy to step out your front door than it does to work out - sometimes that is so true! Thanks for the inspiring post. :)

  25. Michael, this was totally entertaining. I'm still getting a kick out of still looking good/keeping that stream-lined silhouette while being warm. Ha! I love it.

    And I can't imagine living in the city--having to venture out into the bitter winds to go places. Such a different lifestyle! Wow. I didn't know your gym was that far away!

    I'm glad that my life *makes* me get out of the house. If it didn't, I'd sooooo be a home body. Average is around 8 times a day taxi-ing kids around.

    Though I'm opposite than most. I don't get mid-winter blues. I get mid-summer blues. I love everything about the winter--the cold, the gray skies, how the earth just seems to freeze. It's soooo much better than sunshine and clouds and smoldering heat!!!!!

  26. I love that you are bringing up this topic. For me, I try to build exercise into my day by always riding my bike to work and walking to any errands I can. I basically don't allow myself to drive if the distance to where I'm going is less than 3 miles, unless I'm going to pick up a large item that I couldn't get on my bike. Gear is crucial, too. Patagonia all the way. My rain gear is my prized possession :)